Crossing The Desert – WFMAD Day 9


 Image by Michael Howell


Those days when the words flow are magical, aren’t they?

The days when the words don’t flow? When all you hear is the hot wind blowing down the canyon, evil spirits laughing at you? They are hell.

Everyone has days like this. They can be managed. They can be endured and overcome. You will crawl your way out of the desert and drink deep again from the well of inspiration.

When the hot winds blow and I have sand in my brain instead of ideas, I will do one or all of the following:

1. Read a book written by an author I love

2. Go for a walk

3. Read poetry

4. Go for a run

5. Weep. Pout. Curse the sky. Stomp my feet.

6. Draw

7. Take the character who is giving me the most trouble and writing outrageous scenes with her/him. This kind of scene will have nothing to do with the book I’m writing, but is designed to help me get to know a character better.


Today’s Quote

“I’ve learned just to go to my room and plug away. It doesn’t take very long for most writers to realise that if you wait until the day you are inspired and feel like writing you’ll never do it at all.”

Anne Tyler

Today’s Prompt: This one starts with writing a few short lists.

Step 1 – write the names of three kids from your childhood (these do not have to be children you knew well or even liked).

Step 2 – write down five smells.

Step 3 – choose  a simple story idea. Don’t have one? Borrow one of these:  Surprise Party, Talking Roses, Exploding Toilet, Bus Breakdown, Burning Pancakes, Girl Scout Troop in Revolt.

Step 4 – Combine the elements from Steps 1-3 and write about the mixture for 15 minutes.

  Scribble… scribble… scribble…

7 Replies to “Crossing The Desert – WFMAD Day 9”

  1. Walks are amazingly productive. If the words really aren’t flowing, I like to go to an art museum or, better yet, seek out a display of student art.

  2. Yesterday was a desert day. Of the driest variety. I wrote badly or not at all for hours. I walked. I chatted with a friend, did some yoga and let go. I reminded myself that a creative breakthrough often follows a period of deep frustration.

    Sure enough, this morning the words flowed.

    Thanks for the wise words and the interesting prompt.

  3. Thanks for sharing this, Laurie. Something I do is try to write anyway–I follow Anne Lamott’s advice in Bird by Bird and write about school lunches. Sometimes that gets me into a story through the back door. Other times, well, it gives me lunch ideas for my kids.

  4. Yesterday, this prompt would be so perfect! I had been in the creative desert for a few weeks due to something personal. I find that when I am not at my most positive, my writing suffers.

    Last night I had a dinner party with good friends, we laughed a lot, ate chilli, and camped in the garden just because it was warm and we could. This morning I met some newer (but equally lovely) friends for breakfast and afterwards we went to a florist. One of my friends brought her beautiful baby daughter Lily, and on my drive home I bought sunflowers because I regretted not buying the snapdragons I’d earlier seen.

    When I feel uninspired again I’ll make sure to look over this list, or follow my own, in this order:

    1) Make a pot of tea before sitting down and making myself worry/concentrate on all the things that are hindering me for fifteen minutes.

  5. 2) Go out for a walk/cycle/drive without planning a destination first.

    3) Find a bench and sit on it, and read a book I love or else one I’ve been meaning to read but haven’t had the change.

    4) Find a florist and buy some flowers that suit either my mood or the mood of my character at a certain point in my WIP (or pick some from the garden).

    4) Bake something yummy upon arriving home.

    5) If inspiration hasn’t hit, arrange to meet a friend as soon as possible and take them somewhere inspiring, like a local park, or wherever you think my Muse might have flown off to hide.

    6) Try to write. Write anything, and if it doesn’t work, go to bed in the knowledge that very, very soon, the Muse will be back and the magic will be making words flow like they so freely do at times.

  6. Felt very accomplished today, actually got insurance things sorted out, even though I got chased ’round the whole of the Circumlocution Office. The writing came very easily. Not a desert day today.

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