Let’s say you’re a writer, and you’re finding it difficult to write. You have ideas, perhaps you can even see events you want to write about happening in your mind, but you can’t commit them to paper. Maybe you feel that your ideas are invalid. Maybe writing is not your primary profession, and your main bread-winning scheme is hogging all of your time and energy. There are any number of reasons for it to happen, but whatever the reason is, you’ve hit a dry spell.
A dry spell is different from writer’s block in that while writer’s block stalls the writing process through a lack of ideas, a dry spell occurs when influences outside the writing process itself prevent the process from moving forward. Writing can be a deeply personal undertaking, even a quest, and personal issues and concerns can derail the smooth flow of a writer’s work as diabolically as errant pocket change on a public transit system. The worst part of a dry spell is not knowing how long it’s going to last. A good night’s sleep might restore confidence in one’s ideas, or a lack of free time & ambient energy can last for weeks or even months on end.
The key of surviving a dry spell is simply to not give up. Even if you feel any efforts you make might be futile since you’re not getting paid for them and you have to make ends meet more than you need to finish a particular article, chapter or story, dedicate yourself to writing it anyway as soon as you’re able. You also need to remember that you’re not alone in your struggle. With the economy in rough shape, and the publishing market a highly competitive and critical one, it’s highly likely that more than one would-be author is experiencing the same malaise, frustration or even despair that you are feeling now. Reach out to other writers, and I’d bet money that I unfortunately do not have that you’ll find them supportive and helpful.
I suppose I should get back to work, which sadly is not writing. But the ideas in my skull refuse to keep quiet, so I need to commit them to paper sooner rather than later.
July 30, 2009 at 1:05 pm
Brilliant post Joshua! Dry spell is definitely a better term for it than block. I have plenty of ideas, just getting them down is an issue at times.
July 30, 2009 at 1:08 pm
Precisely! I’m in a similar fix. Got plenty of ideas running around the rumpus room of my brain, but I can’t let them out because important things need doing.