Every writer experiences those moments when they think they have no more words, no more story ideas, absolutely nothing left inside to say. It's such a bleak feeling—like when you realize the half-and-half has run out, or even worse, it's gone bad and there's a snowstorm outside and you can't get to the store to buy more.
On those writing days, the best thing to do is to sit and scribble, or tap away nonsensical words on the computer, to get the ugly out, or prime the well, or whatever your definition of muse foreplay might be.
All of a sudden, the ideas start shooting towards the surface. You are still filled with disbelief, however, so you try to shove them back down, or you dart to the side, convinced it was a rogue loose cannon. But it's not. It's your subconscious showing off, letting you know there's plenty of life in there.
When this happens, too often we shoo those pesky ideas away, muttering, "Not now, I'm busy".
I've done this way too many times, usually because I have an expectation of when the words are supposed to show up. I wake up some mornings with my brain racing around like a two-year-old who has just consumed a fifty-pound bag of sugar. "Can't you wait til I have some coffee?" I grumble, but it can't.
Other mornings I wake up and it's as if my brain cells have been hit with that mind eraser thing in Men in Black. I can do the basics – get out of bed, stumble to the coffee maker – but ideas? Not even a bad one.
So maybe it's understandable that I am suspicious when there's an outpouring of ideas/words/plots/characters/blog posts. Instead, I should be grateful, and smart, grabbing every single one as it comes zinging through my brain.
Writers are a contrary lot. We cry at not being able to write, and then when we can, we don't. I understand, and empathize, but I'm not going to let us waste another single minute.
When your muse gets the urge, go play. Don't you dare say "Not now, I'm busy". It won't take long before your ideas get the hint. They may not dry up entirely, but it just may take longer before they trust you, and we all know how hard it is to win back trust that has been broken.
I know it's not easy to keep a schedule. I've tried many times and well, I have to keep trying to make that work. One thing I do is always keep an open mind, as well as something to write with. I do my best not to swat away the ideas as they sneak up on me. They get priority. They are doing their job by showing up, and it's my job to write them down.
If not, I only have myself to blame when they go elsewhere.