Writing JuJu

So one of the biggest things I've done when trying to get back into being creative is to start reading craft books again. I've already read a bunch, so I went into my ebook library and picked a few to start rereading.

The reason I did that is simple. I felt like I forgot how to write. It had been several months since I had written fiction, and I wasn't feeling confident in my abilities anymore. The first time I sat down to write, I stared at the screen for half an hour wondering how to start. I wasn't very successful that first session.

The truth of the matter is that writing is a muscle that can get atrophied if it's not used. It has to be exercised, even if it's just a little bit every day. So you don't end up staring at a screen, wondering why you can't remember how to do it.

Right now, I'm rereading all my how to write a screenplay books. I actually have no interest in writing a screenplay, but I've found the plotting advice is tight in almost every one of them. Because they have to write a story in 100 pages that generally takes novelists 300 to do.

Obviously, the format is different, but it is still a very condensed version of what novelists do. So as a result, I feel like screenplay writers have this very unique talent to boil away the fat and just leave the meat of the story when they write. I think that's a very important lesson that all story writers should learn to do, so that when they are writing, they know what is the fluff they don't need, and what they do need to make it an amazing read.

And then finally, I'm reading Jennifer Probst's Write Naked. It's all about her journey as a creative, and finding herself in the midst of losing herself. It's not quite what I expected from a "how to be an author" book, but I love her as a person, and I knew I would love that book. And you know, I do. I struggled a lot with failure in 2016, and a lot of it bled into 2017. So it's good to know that truly "successful" authors can feel like a big, fat failure too.

The strangest thing is that I was writing this blog post, and then came across that book. Someone meant that book for me. I'm glad I found it. I'm thoroughly enjoying the read. I imagine I'll write more about it after I finish the book. Honestly, I'm just happy to have my writing juju back. I'm happy that creativity is back in my life and that I'm feeling good about it again.

So let's talk. Have you ever had a creative drought? What's the one thing that jump started your creativity when you started to pull out of it? What made you come back to it?