Literary Dehydration

If you read my post yesterday, you know I’ve been sick. 

My body turned on me and tried to kill me.

Okay…not literally, but it felt like it.

I was so dehydrated I dreamed about drinking water….glass after glass after glass.  Seriously.

This morning I woke up with a leftover headache, but other than that I was pretty good considering.

Until I tried to write.

It was like absolutely every ounce of creativity had been leeched from my body. 
EVERY.  SINGLE.  OUNCE.

I stared and stared at the computer screen…read through the scene a hundred times…and nothing would come.  I thought maybe I needed to try a few different routes with the dialogue, so I gave it a shot.  Still…nothing.  Nada.  Zilcho

My characters couldn’t have been more silent had their mouths been duct taped shut.

I didn’t panic.  I just put the laptop aside, got up, and cleaned the house like a madwoman…all the while wondering if there was something wierd in that IV they gave me that could have caused literary amnesia.   Then, to further distance myself from worrying about the scene, I cooked a meal big enough to feed a large squadron…like my family.

Even though I was able to get my mind off it, my problem was still there as soon as I picked up the laptop.

I was clueless about this scene. 

I wanted to chop it up into tiny little pieces.  Threaten it.  Beat it into submission. 

But…alas…it was not the scene that was the problem.  It’s me. 

I have Literary Dehydration.

I wish fixing it were as simple as physical dehydration…stick a needle in and fill ‘er up.

But it’s not. 

Granted…I can read a few books, absorb and ingest the words, and watch the guage on my tank move from empty to half full.  But..it takes more than that for me. 

Getting inside the mind of an imaginary person is not easy, people.  Even if I was the one who created them.

I just have to keep writing and working and searching for that little something that will remind me of my characters, leaving my tank brimming over. 

What about you?  What do you do when the words just aren’t there?

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5 Comments

  1. I'm just getting over an illness, too. The *idea* of writing sounds wonderful, but when I sit down to do it, it's just like you described – dehydration. Instead, I've been writing in my journal (so at least I'm getting SOME pages out!), knitting, reading, and relaxing, hoping my mojo will come back soon! Hope yours does, too!

    (My word verification was "ramenest" – I feel like I should be a college student describing my brokest week!)

  2. Talk to the characters. Write journal entries in their voice. Interview them. Bottom line–engage them in something that is not directly related to the story, and then sneak in through the back door while they're not looking. Suddenly, you're back in the MS, typing away with no problem.

    Also, keep in mind that creative energy takes longer to recover from illness than physical energy. Your body is focused on healing, which means there simply isn't as much left for writing.

  3. OMG, I hate getting Literary Dehydration (and I'm totally using this phrase from now on)! I always end up reading something I love. Good writers inspire me. I love picking up a Karen Marie Moning who I won't ever in a million years be able to emulate, but her Fever series has this ridiculously AWESOME voice and her characters are fab. People think I'm crazy when I tell them to read her series (urban fantasy) but my girl Jodi just told me that she now feels like an ameteur.
    Anyway. That's what I do! 🙂 Hope you feel better!

  4. Misty…I like Literary Dehydration better then Writer's Block too and I'm heading to the bookstore tonight to check out your recommendation! And Nancy…very valuable and much appreciated advice. Maybe I can get my husband to pretend to be one of the characters…we can read the ms out loud…tht will help me get into their heads!