Care And Feeding Of A Writer, Volume One: Recharging The Batteries

 (Author’s note: this is the first in a series of posts on how to combat everyday obstacles and other setbacks to the creative process. If there’s a specific topic you’d like me to discuss, let me know in the comments.)

We’ve all been there, probably more often than we’d like to admit. Whether we attribute it to writer’s block, stress from the day job, or our printer being out of ink, sometimes we just can get the words out of our brains and into our WIP. A closely related condition is when a scene forms perfectly in your head, but when you write it, it comes out something like this:

“She woke up, then went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. A bolt of lightning illuminated the darkened room, revealing the dark smudges beneath her eyes, all that was left of her nightmare.”

Or, if it’s not horribly cliched purple prose, it’s this:

“Hero: Me John. You want date John?”

Yeah. The only thing that crap’s good for is the delete key.

So what’s a writer to do when they want to write, but can’t? In my experience, the best thing to do is recharge your creative batteries.

Many things take a toll on our creativity, whether it’s a day job, financial stress, or just plain being tired. Why, this past winter it was 20 below in my neck of the woods, and let me tell you there is no way I was creating anything except a cozy spot in the blankets. The snow melted eventually, and while sunlight is an excellent way to recharge, there’s one specific type of event I’d like to discuss today: the writer’s conference.

These conferences vary greatly, and so will your experiences. It’s important that you choose conferences that are germane to your subject; for instance, if you write Amish romances you probably don’t want to attend something focusing on splatterpunk. That doesn’t mean you can’t have cross-genre appeal, but be aware of what the conference will be focusing on and who your fellow writers are.

This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Anthocon in Portsmouth, NH. Check out their website, and their Facebook page. Here’s their mission statement from the website: In its fourth year, AnthoCon is three days of panels, workshops, readings, and demonstrations related to imaginative fiction and art. Let me tell you, it’s a lot more than that.

Anthocon is a wonderfully diverse and inclusive event, and they welcome all writers of speculative fiction. There is a large concentration of horror writers, but paranormal romance, urban fantasy, and even middle grade fantasy is well represented. The attendees run the gamut from multi-published, award-winning authors to those just starting out. It’s three days of talking, and commiserating, and just being with other writers. Remember the bee girl?

At Anthocon, I feel like the bee girl 🙂

I brought my laptop with me, but I was so busy having fun I didn’t write a single word. Since I came back home, I’ve written over ten thousand. The moral of the story is that nothing gets the creative juices flowing like being around creativity. 

I leave you with the one picture I took during Anthocon, the Bloody Mary I had on Sunday morning. Boy, did I need it!

Doesn’t this look tasty?

How do you recharge your creative batteries? Tell us in the comments!


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