21 Jun


Posted in Process, Writing

Drought feels like this.

I have been experiencing a writing drought lately.  It’s not that I don’t have projects to work on and writing to do (I have plenty of that) but for some reason, I’ve been struggling with the actual doing of it.  This is very difficult for me to admit here in writing, because people are always saying “writers write.”  The implication of course is that if I’m not writing, then I’m not really a writer, and if I’m not a writer then I don’t know what I am.  So, yes, this is very difficult to say but I’m admitting it.

For the past few weeks I’ve been struggling with it on my own and I’ve realized that I can’t do that anymore.  First off, I feel I owe it to all of you to let you know why I’ve been less active than usual on the interwebs.  But more importantly, I’m hoping that maybe some of you have felt this way too and may have some words of advice.

But what do you do when you’re in the middle of a drought?  Today I had a great meeting with my writing group and got lots of encouragement, but I think it’ll take more than that to kick this drought problem.  That’s where you all come in.  I need some advice and a good, swift kick in the pants.  I feel like I’m trying to water a desert with a watering can and it’s just not working.  Any advice?

What do you do when you hit a writing drought?


Comments on this post

  1. Joel says:

    I’ve experienced the writing drought – several times – and the most important thing I’ve learned for myself is to just relax around the experience. Sometimes it’s because inspiration has run dry, other times because what I am writing has become static, or deep down, I am craving a different experience and not indulging that need first. Whatever it is, I sit down and try to connect with what my inner self is needing right now, before it is ready to start writing again. And I write for a living, so it’s REAL important to get to the bottom of it fast! Books like “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron really helped me to regard block and drought as a natural process, which can be met with feeding the mind, soul and creativity.

    1. E.J. Wesley says:

      I read. Preferably something that I REALLY, really love. I just pick up Harry Potter, The Hobbit, Ender’s Game, or some other legend and read a few chapters. That does the trick every time.

      I truly believe that writing is in your bones, or it isn’t. That means it’s deep and ingrained. The good news? You’ll never lose it. The bad news? That sucker can get good and hidden.

      We’re experiencing a very real/literal drought here in South Texas, and I can tell you it’s hard to get your mind beyond it. I’m totally serious when I say I can’t even remember what rain smells like. That makes me sad beyond words. However, I know deep down that it will rain again, and that all it’ll take is a few good showers for things to start growing again.


      1. Stephanie Keyes says:

        I download a new album that is in the vein of what I’m writing, eat some chocolate, and the workout to cancel out the chocolate!

        1. Andrew Rosenberg says:


          See how many words you can write in five/ten minutes.

          Then try to beat it.

          Although I do like the suggestion about reading something.

          1. Elizabeth says:

            I’m leaning toward what Joel said. If you stop putting the pressure on yourself you migt be surprised that after a few days or weeks or whatevers of relaxing and taking in new stimuli you might actually WANT to write again instead of feeling like you HAVE to write. You are Gabi. That is your identity. Being a writer is not the sole determinate in who you are or why people value you. Trust that. Trust your talent. And go watch a movie or sit in the park or drink some tea or balance a ball on your nose or just be.

            1. Selena Wolff says:

              I was going through a serious drought myself, and a comment from one of my blogging friends gave me a whole new perspective. I’m sharing it here….

              “Speaking of “writers’ block”, I just did a search (with no finding) for an audio retelling of the Persephone Myth by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

              Essentially, she uses the cycle of Persephone’s life–9 months in Hades and 3 months on Earth [Spring]–as a metaphor to eliminate the focus on the “block” syndrome–replacing it with a patience to live through the conscious disappearance of creativity, confident that, in its own season, it will return with new treasures from the unconscious…”

              This, too, shall pass…

              1. gabi says:

                These are great ideas! Thank you all so much for the comments and support. I knew I could count on you all! I’m starting to feel better already.

                1. Ghenet says:

                  I’m sorry to hear about your drought. I agree with all of the above advice. Honestly, if there’s anyone who’s capable of dealing with this, it’s you. You’ve given such great writing advice on this blog. Try reading through your archives and inspire yourself with your own words! 🙂

                  1. Kari Marie says:

                    I went through this a while back and it was painful. I do think it’s part of the gig of being a writer though (as much as I hated it). It forced me to take time to relax, read, dream, explore, see nature and otherwise refuel the creative well. As soon as I stopped berating myself for it, things got better. I spent a few minutes a day thinking about what was bothering me about my WIP and why I couldn’t move forward. I journaled daily (sometimes only a sentence or two) and low and behold I got an idea and held onto it for dear life. It took me about two months, but I was finally free. Don’t give up. I swear it gets better.

                    1. Bookewyrme says:

                      I’ve just recently pulled out of a 4month-long one of these, so I feel your pain. My suggestion is only helpful if you can afford to put off any ongoing projects for a month or two, but I found that if I just let myself not write for a while it was much less stressful. I gave myself permission to stop writing, and let myself read voraciously instead. Eventually, I began to want to write again because of the reading, and I picked back up on an old project, started a new story, and have just generally been far more productive than I was just before I stopped altogether. It was painful and depressing while it was going on, but I feel so much better now that I think it was worth it.

                      Anyway, good luck, and don’t let anyone tell you you’re not a writer just because you’re having a dry spell! The greatest writers in the world have had them. 🙂

                      1. gabi says:

                        Awww, you guys are the best! Thanks so much for understanding and sharing your advice and support! I knew I could count on my friends for some great ideas on how to kick this drought!

                        1. Carol Riggs says:

                          Sounds like you’re all poured out! and you need some input. Relax, step back. Take a break. Go out and do something fun. Mall walk. Stroll a beach. Play frisbee at a park. Go camping.

                          Or do some writing prompts, just for the heck of it, unrelated to your other writing. Google “stone walls” or “landscaping” or “midnight forest” (I’m just making these up–who knows what will pop up) and make up a scenario for what’s happening, or a character that would be inhabiting that place. Sometimes these will spur other ideas.

                          1. Carol Riggs says:

                            ps, I mean a Google IMAGE search, that is. :o)

                            1. Julie says:

                              Stop writing and read, read, read Read READ … read light summer books, non-fiction, anything that catches your eye, until you can’t stand it any more and have to start writing again.

                              Fill the well, then start pumping again!

                              1. Kristine says:

                                I went through a huge drought after the birth of my first child. I could not write for a year! Then, strangely, after my 2nd rolled along, the opposite happened … I had a creative burst.

                                Don’t judge yourself. Try to stand outside of yourself for a bit and just observe what’s happening. Don’t get caught up in the fact that you aren’t writing, but instead, see what this drought is trying to tell you. I learned a lot about myself during that time.

                                1. Ideas to Beat a Drought » Jordan McCollum says:

                                  […] Gabi Pereira of Iggi & Gabi had been dealing with a creative drought recently, too. She asked for suggestions from her brilliant readers, and she got a lot of great ideas to end a creative drought […]

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