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…

CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 Jump Start by Melissa Bartell is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

2 thoughts on “Jump Start

  1. For a long time I look here in regular intervals by and read the interesting and well written contributions. Here I would like to thank you for it once and leave greetings from Bavaria!

  2. Quite a repertoire of ways to jumpstart your writing. I particularly like the idea of singing musical soundtracks -I’ve never tried that, but it could work. And cooking is always a good bet – if it doesn’t work, you at least get to eat.

    But in my mind, West Wing cures everything. Oh, how I love that show.

    Thanks for sharing :)

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