Jump Start

In this week’s Write on Wednesday, my friend Becca asks:
So, how about you? Do you ever feel the need to jump start your writing? What drains the energy from your “writing mind”? What do you do when your creative battery dies?

Muses are fickle, and the energy that powers them is equally so. Sometimes, I find excuses not to write, but most of the time the urge is ripped from me by something mundane. I don’t write well when I’m stressed over money, so it’s really a good thing that the whole “starving artist” thing has gone out of style. (The whole black and beret look has, as well, but I don’t care. I like black, and berets work for me.) Other than that, when I’m tired, when I’m hot, when I’m hungry or thirsty before I face the keyboard (as opposed to becoming so during a session, because I’m so absorbed), all those things make me throw up my hands in despair, or they would, if I had the energy to do so.

Most of the time, I can jump-start myself. I’ll re-read part of a favorite novel, watch a few episodes of The West Wing, Gilmore Girls, or anything Whedonesque, run through the entire soundtrack of a musical (lately I’ve been alternating Legally Blonde, Rent, and Hairspray, and I’m at the point where I can sing and ride the stationery bike (simultaneously) for the entire first act of the first of those, which, let me tell you, is not easy. (But I love to belt, even though too much belting is really unhealthy.)

When music, books, and other people’s snappy, fast-paced dialogue doesn’t work, I think about cooking, because food and words are completely intertwined in my world. Usually I’ll bake. Tonight, I made enchiladas, which I’d never made before. (I sort of made them up as I went along. They were good. I used grilled chicken that had been marinated in lime juice, garlic salt, and vodka (we were out of tequila).)

When food doesn’t work, which happens when it’s been sunny and hot for too many days in a row, I call on external help. Specifically, there is a collection of friends, who know who they are, who always manage to leave me abuzz with energy and ideas, even if all we talk about is how tired we both are, or what movies we saw the previous weekend.

And if nothing works? Well, sometimes I do have to listen to my body, and sleep even when I know I SHOULD be writing, or finish work before I write something fun, and usually after a few days I’m back in the groove.

Alternatively, I move furniture around…

Before you ask…

I haven’t taken pictures of my new Abode of Writeyness yet, because while the furniture is in there, I won’t be able to afford money for ART until after my conference, and the walls are bare, and the bookshelves aren’t organized…and, and, and…

I did purge all mortgage-related things from my desk. (If anyone needs a rubber stamp that says “computer generated original” let me know), including title fee books for three different title companies, business cards for appraisers I haven’t contacted in three years, and more “sign here” flags than I care to count.

Among the stuff I also cleared from my desk included information on various no balance transfer fee offers from credit card companies (I kept one), and an entire box of sticky-backed prongs for gluing into legal folders.

It was at once freeing and sort of sad clearing out the last vestiges of my old career.


I don’t generally put much stock in horoscopes. Oh, they’re fun, in the way fortune cookies are fun, but I am, at heart a Skeptic. Still, I like to read Rob Brezsny‘s predictions because he spins words so well.

Tonight, his words for my sign (LEO) are:

This oracle was originally commissioned by a spiritual wilderness school to train its students in high-stress meditation. It has been tested by disciplined explorers who’ve learned to be fluid and resourceful in the midst of natural chaos. Now it’s being made available to you, Leo — just in time for the last stretch of your dash (or crawl) across the wasteland. By contemplating the code phrase that appears at the end of this message, you will discover the key for turning poisons into medicine, taking advantage of your weaknesses, and knowing your direction without a compass. Here it is: Love the beauty and intelligence that are hidden in your darkness.