Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Going to Your Happy (Writing) Place

Slumps happen.  Sometimes they're life-induced--no matter how much of  a superwriter you are, it's not easy to balance giant life changes and normal writing habits.  Sometimes they're creativity-zappage-induced--everyone hits a point where you just don't feel like writing.  Or thinking.  Or being creative or imaginative at all.

Either way, when you decide to get back in the swing of things, I find two things help.

One is a schedule--more on that on Thursday.

The other is finding your happy place.

No, seriously.  I don't do the tortured artist thing.  Even if I'm writing something deep or introspective or dark (umm, as deep or dark as I can get, anyway...), I find I do much better if I start with a smile.  Or at least not a scowl.

So I've identified a few things that never fail to put me in a better mood--and a more optimistic mood is a better writing mood, at least for me.  Because if you're feeling like a giant pessimist, you start to ask those awful questions like "why am I doing this anyway?" and "I'll never pull this off."  Not good.  Smile instead.

1) This song.  Old Crow Medicine Show, "Wagon Wheel."  It's playing now.  I am smiling like an idiot.

2) Taking a walk.  Unless it's disgusting outside.  But as long as it's over 40 and not pouring, fresh air and a little sunshine gives me energy.

3) Change of scenery and someone who makes better coffee than I do.  Occasionally decamping to a coffee shop or bookstore shakes things up enough that I fall out of any slump I might have tripped into by accident.

4) Doing something else creative.  For me, it's often sewing. Even just thinking out a new project wakes up the sleeping creative areas of my brain and gets them excited to be working again.

All these things are pretty important to me right now--the past couple weeks I've been moving, and nothing steals all your time or energy like an inter-state move (who knew that starting electric service could be such a time-consuming pain in the rump?).  Now it's time to dust off and get back in the action--happy place, here I come!

What's your creative happy place?  Is there a song, a place, an inspirational quote or picture that gets you ready to write?


  1. Rowenna, I am not a writer per se but I am an artist. You are so right about the 'life happens' induced energy zappers and all! When I try to find my happy space, I take 'artist dates'. Ever read Julia Cameron's "The Artist Way"? Artist dates could be just going to my nearest cafe laden, little shop happy street and hang out, people watching, sketching, sipping a mocha. It stirs the juices. For post work doldrums I haven't figured that out. Exercise will do it sometimes. So, I can't wait to see what other people do when they add to the comments.

  2. Love your new blog!

    When I'm having trouble writing, Thomas Tallis's Lamentations of Jeremiah puts me in a creative mindset. My kids call it the "moaning monks," but it really gets my writing flowing.

  3. Lately Florence and the Machine has been my muse. A lovely new blog, I like the colours!

  4. Being in a really cool historic place gets me going. I can automatically start visualizing people and events. Right now, I'm convinced that I need to move to England in order to write better. Methinks that the hubby will disagree!

  5. Angela--great term for it, "artist dates!" Sometimes I honestly schedule myself for time with my laptop somewhere that makes me happy :)

    Connie--thanks! I love Tallis...and Vaughn Williams for springing me into a writing/contemplative state of mind. You can imagine how much I love Fantasy on a Theme by Tallis lol!

    Anachronist--Thanks! Gotta love Florence :)

    Caroline--so true! Even just being in natural places gets me in a historical mood--as long as there are no modern incursions!