Lately I feel vague, uneasy stirrings inside me of unrealized inspiration. I have not written fresh poetry in weeks. I am going through a dry spell, which is not abnormal but still disconcerting. Writing is usually one of the constants in my life, and this prolonged period of creative silence is disturbing. A writer is someone who writes. I identify as a writer but have not been writing. Something doesn’t add up.
Part of the problem is that I need more poetry to read. Reading stimulates creativity and imagination. To that end I am going to find two or three new poetry books online and order them this week. I have to look online because so much of what they have in the bookstore I have either already read or it is much more mainstream than my taste. There are pretty slim pickings for poetry in most bookstores, at least the book stores around me.
I need to start using Goodreads to help me hunt down good books, too.
If I really want some inspiration, I need to take more of my current poetry and run it through Google translate in Xhosa and Afrikaans. That is an ongoing project of mine, to translate my poems into these two languages and back again to English and then edit and revise my results. I can get some really fascinating results from doing this and I love to play with language. It was inspired by a South African pen pal.
Sometimes I get flashes of imagery in my head or bits of phrases I want to use, but nothing cohesive has come together. Poetry is never far from my thoughts, but I just haven’t given birth to any healthy lines.
Sometimes a little bit of creative silence can be a good thing. It gives you a chance to collect your thoughts, process the world, and provides you time to live life so that you actually have something to say. Writing is an act of communication and rare is the person who truly has something to say 24 hours a day. Sometimes I come away from creative dry spells completely re-energized and ready to tackle lots of interesting imagery and conflicting ideas. Letting my writing brain sleep allows it to awaken refreshed. But this dry spell has gone on too long and I need a sort of bootcamp to get my creative muscles taut and toned again.
To that end I need some sort of discipline and something to ignite my mind. What I will do:
Read read read
Look at images for inspiration
Try handwriting some poems to end this block.
Reread Twyla Tharpe’s book on creativity.
Read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron and see if I can pick up anything useful.
Continue to work on waking up earlier so I have more time to write.
Talk to other writers about maybe having a support group.
Use my Mastery app to log time writing poetry.
Be willing to write work that isn’t my best just to get something down on the page. Great artists/writers, like great athletes, need to practice.