I honestly can't remember the last time I wrote anything recreational. It's been months, and, frankly, I'm not sure I've done anything substantial since editing my NaNovel from last season. I'm really in a slump. The worst part about it is that I have plenty of ideas; it feels like I just don't remember how to start a writing project. I feel like someone cut off my arms at my elbows or plugged my ears with wool…like a seriously necessary part of me is simply not functioning correctly.
So I've got a sort of prompt for all of us (those interested) to look into trying: Get Out. Get out of the house, out of the office, out of the yard, whatever it is you're in right now, get out of it.
A couple weeks ago, I was stuck in my house. The heat was excruciating, I was helping my brother plan his wedding, and 100% of my days was spent either in my house, my car, or some store somewhere. But then, the week after that, my family went to Colorado for a camping trip with my aunts and uncles and cousins, and we spent the week out in the cool, dry, mountain air, sleeping on mats, waking up to campfires, toasting bagels on the grill. Throughout that week, I got about three ideas for stories and one idea for NaNoWriMo this fall, and I even started expanding on them a bit. It was really helpful to change my routine a bit, just to clear my mind. It gave me a chance to refocus my creative energies and actually get something on paper.
Currently, I'm in vacation-mode: it's summer break, albeit the end, and the only functioning motivational programming is my motivation to do nothing. At every avenue I meet resistance. Pointless resistance. "Why don't I use this opportunity to pick up all the clothes off my floor so I can find my computer charger when I need it?" "Nah. I'm about to press 'Next Episode' on Star Trek: Voyager and once I've done that, there's no reason for me to get up"; "Gee, I think I should brush my teeth." "No, I'd really rather just sit here in my filth, thank"; "I should feed my dog." "She ate yesterday, the greedy git."
But starting yesterday, I hoisted myself out of that mode. I got more organized than I probably needed to, made a calendar of daily to-do lists, and started making concerted efforts to get stuff done. Lo and behold, today, I was working with my dad on making a stand for our television, and whole paragraphs of stories just came floating into my head.
Now, none of this is in and of itself a solution to my overall focus problem. And I still haven't written anything I'm proud of, and I still feel awkward and clumsy in my writing. But this is the closest I've come to getting past the weird and perpetual writer's block that I've been in lately. If you're having the same struggles as me, then I suggest you get out. It really worked as a first step for me.