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Empty Headed and Empty Hearted

>> Thursday, June 30, 2011

We've all been there. (If you haven't yet, please be quiet about it. I am trying to stir up some sympathy, thank you very much.) Too much work, not enough rest. Too many demands, not enough time to meet them. Tapped out. Deflated. Drained. Lacking in creative zeal. Empty.

That state of being can be extremely difficult when your passion - or even your source of income - comes from the well of creativity within. Artists struggle with it. Musicians likely do as well. And trust me when I say that writers will struggle at times with an empty head and an empty heart.

What do you do when devoid of inspiration?

I've gathered some very valuable suggestions from much wiser, more seasoned writers than myself. Take a gander and see what you think.

When the words, ideas, plot lines and characters simply will not come, you must:

  • take a break from the computer or notepad (which in my case, would likely be a loooooong break involving mounds of chocolate)

  • take a walk (more productive, less chocolate)

  • switch to another form of expression (writers could start singing, artists could start singing, singers could start... eating chocolate?)

  • practice your observation skills (everybody has a story)

  • go over past work that has been collecting dust (editing... not my very favourite thing, but perhaps it would inspire new ideas)

  • eat a nice meal, have a warm bath or otherwise pamper yourself (now we're talking)

  • enjoy the work of others in your field (for me, that means reading, reading, reading and even more reading)

While I can't speak for every suggestion on this list, I do love a good walk to get the creativity flowing again. Doesn't matter where, in my garden when time is short or further afield on the weekends. There's something about fresh air that clears your cluttered mind and opens up the nasal passages of creativity.

My brain registers zero interest in trying other forms of art (you should see me try to paint or draw... and ask the people in front of me at church. I cannot sing and I am perfectly okay with that.) So the last suggestion is really the best one for me. Reading - both for enjoyment and with a writer's eye - is a wonderful way to plow through writer's block or generate new story ideas.

Recently I also tried praying about it. Put that eyebrow down, I do regularly pray about my writing - it is my work after all, and where my heart is. I've just never prayed about how to deal with a state of emptiness.

And the answers to my prayer came in the most interesting ways (as they usually do). Instead of delivering a story idea and the time to complete it on a silver platter, the Lord helped me to realize what was blocking that creativity, what was creating that emptiness.

And so began a process of peeling away unnecessary things and handling necessary tasks better. My current fiction WIP keeps me up at night with twists and turns in the storyline (which is a good thing, provided there is sufficient coffee intake the next day) and my freelance work is ticking along nicely.

I'm sure I'll come up against more times of emptiness, as will you dear reader (yes, even those of you who have never been there before). Why not try some of these ideas for inspiration? Even if the words won't come, the chocolate will taste mighty good.

Over the Emptiness For Now,

thanks for the pic - sxc/buzzybee


Joanne Sher July 1, 2011 at 8:15 AM  

Great post, Di. Chocolate ALWAYS works (at least to make me feel BETTER about the empty head/heart, if nothing else LOL. )

Glad your current block is over - praying it doesn't return for a LONG time.

Lisa Mikitarian July 2, 2011 at 10:13 AM  

I'm a walker and an anything-elser that that gets oxygen moving to the brain. Today I played tennis for the first time in many years--and dag-gum if I don't feel like writing! And praying! Oxygen should not have that kind of power over me.

So GLAD you are out of emptiness!

Lynda Schab July 25, 2011 at 2:32 PM  

Love your chocolate advice. Can never go wrong with peanut M&M's. Or head to the movies for a couple hours of escape (and some buttered popcorn). :-)

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