Monday, November 9, 2015

Gratitude for the Creativity That Doesn't Die

Write every day.

The above statement is often given as advice to writers.

It’s good advice—for the right writer. I say this because every writer has his or her own way of getting the words on the page.

Some of us are daily writers. Some of us set specific days to write, and some of us write when the urge strikes. The problem with writing when the urge strikes, however, is that sometimes—for long moments of time—the urge is dead.

At least the writer affected thinks so.

Whether you call it writer’s block or a drought (or whatever name you come up with), most writers have moments when the urge to write just leaves. You wake up, and there’s a Dear John (or Johnetta) letter from writing ... to you.

It’s not you; it’s me, writing states.

You feel like a failure, you wonder if you will ever write again, you hear or read advice like “write every day,” and you think you can’t possibly be a writer if you can’t write every other day, let alone every day.

I’m sure you know this, deep down, but I just want to remind you—you are a writer, even during this dry time.

And you should be grateful for this time because honestly, your writing—the creativity—doesn’t die despite the droughts you come upon. You will write again because your writing—your creativity—is only refueling; it’s priming the pump so that when the time comes, your writing will function properly.

Let me tell you a story. Several years ago, I was in a writing drought. The problem with that was I had to submit a story for a fiction workshop in a day. Talk about pressure. For weeks, nothing inspired me, I didn’t feel called to the page. The day before my needed submission, I was on a bus heading home from school. At a stop light, I stared across the street at a park full of colorful necessities for kids—the monkey bars, a slide, and a swing.

And one of the empty swings moved back and forth. I know intellectually there must have been a breeze to cause the movement, but almost immediately, I grew solemn. I saw a mother who had lost her child to a horrible accident and had only those swings left as remembrance. For the duration of the ride, my brain burned with images and dialogue for a story I would write in a night, submit, and that would garner my best workshop critique.

But it started with an empty, moving swing.

And really, it started with my creativity, the creativity that never died.

Even in the midst of what looks like the driest writing season known to anyone, your creativity is alive and doing well.

And there will be that moment when a speech from someone on TV, a line from a song, a conversation heard at a cafe, or a swaying empty swing in a park will prime your writing valve with creativity and have your words flowing again.

And you will be grateful.

Creative Passionista Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator whose biggest joys are writing and helping others develop their craft. She has published both creatively and academically and interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her author website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment.


  1. Writing is something that, when life intervenes, you can always return to. Yes, the wheels may be a little rusty, but it's like riding a bike. It comes back to you.

    1. And I love that. It used to frighten me so, those dry times, but I see it for what it is now. <3

  2. I always try to maintain an attitude of gratitude, Shonell ... even when nothing creatively is happening ... it's only a matter of time before the muse returns to drag me off the couch.

  3. Wonderful post, Shon. I am very grateful for those moments my muse gifts me with a story that is triggered by something I seen. All of the stories in my short story collection came to me that way. I love when that happens.

    1. I do, too, Maryann. I'm smiling over here just remembering the moments that writing occurred like that and how exciting and anxious I was to write and continue writing.

  4. Great post, Shon. I want to read that story about the mother who lost her child!

  5. I can relate, Shon. When I'm editing I don't seem to have brain-space for my own writing, so it can be months at a time before I get back to a wip, and then it takes a while to get into the flow again.

  6. Things have been crazy here lately, but slowly but surely, I'll be getting back into writing mode!


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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