Floods and Dry Spells

A lot of authors will tell you they just sit in the same chair everyday and write for the same amount of time every day and the magic just happens. This isn’t always the way it goes for the rest of us. While I have no doubt that making appointments to write is necessary, helpful, and effective since you can come away from each writing session with a sense of accomplishment, that doesn’t take into account floods and dry spells.

I’ll tackle floods first since they are the more rewarding of the two. You know the floods I’m talking about when your story is on your mind all day: driving the car, buying groceries, sitting at work. You just have your characters with your everywhere you go and when you sit down with your notebook/computer the words just come and come without end. You can write for hours without exhaustion or frustration. Floods are a beautiful rare thing for some writers and a regular occurrence for others, but either way, no matter how frequent, a flood can fuel the writing fire like nothing else and writing in the moment is invigorating.

Dry spells on the other hand are hard to handle and seldom produce “good” writing. The story feels lackluster, you think the plot is failing, and you couldn’t care less if all of your characters went the mass suicide route and jumped off the same bridge together cursing your name on their way down to the ice cold water below. Dry spells make it hard to sit down in your chair at the same time everyday because you feel like you’ve lost the spark that writing ignites. You can, however, force your way through a dry spell by…writing.

Dry spell writing may be uninspired, feel multi-directional or going nowhere, and generally sucks in a variety of ways, but, if you stick with it, after a period of time (hours, days, weeks) you’ll find yourself on the other side of a dry spell and you’ll be writing again. My best advice is to exploit the hell out of floods and write every second you have that you want to and push through the dry spells with writing rather than letting them stop you in your literary tracks. Either way, you’ll have something down on paper and no matter the circumstance, flood or dry spell, it will need revision.

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