It’s been so long, I’ve forgotten.
I’ve forgotten how quiet my usually ever-racing mind can become when finally given the opportunity to speak.
I’ve forgotten what it’s like to stare at an empty screen. Without writing on a regular basis, I’ve forgotten how the cursor blinks. And blinks. It’s annoying, all that blinking.
And I listen for the rush of all those words I wanted to write back a only few days ago when time wasn’t my own. At the ready only a few days ago, all those words tired of waiting around for me to find the time – to make the time – and moved on. So now all I hear is … silence.
So starved for attention, any of the words I’ve tried on at first didn’t really fit right anymore.
But I’m not worried.
Because even after all this time of irregular writing, I remember.
Here’s what I remember about finding my writer’s voice when it’s – temporarily – lost:
- Just Start: Start somewhere or anywhere, doesn’t matter. Just start. Write and write and write because even if what you write is mostly unusable, you may just find a word or two of truth somewhere among the riff raff you can develop more fully next time you write.
- Set a Timer: I can do anything for 15 minutes and so can you. You’ll be surprised how quickly the time passes, and you’ll be left wanting more.
- Find a Prompt: A prompt can be a word, an image, a quote. Pick a theme of interest to you: kindness, courage, fear … and explore it.
- Make a List: Lists are great sources for a writing jump-start. Animals you’ve loved. Things that make you feel squeamish. Favorite foods. Friends from childhood.
- People: Describe who helped you when your car broke down. What do you remember about the woman two tables over at the coffee shop. Your toddler. The best friend you could call in the middle of the night. Recall an overhead conversation in line at the grocery store.
- Places: A setting from your life is pure visual inspiration. Close your eyes and see it. A family dinner. A drive. A remembered football game. Your last hike. One treasured scene from your last vacation.
- Memories: Make it specific and small. Firsts. Lasts. Onlys. Those memories once-upon-a-times are made of.
Do you have a strategy for finding your writer’s voice? Please … please share!