Writing,  Writing Habits

Getting Unstuck Through Reading – Prime the Pump

Getting unstuck through reading - prime the pump. Blue old fashion water pump.

Get Unstuck through Reading – Prime the Pump!

So you haven’t been writing. In fact, you are stuck. Keep reading to find ways to get unstuck through reading.

As I’ve written in a previous post, Priming the Pump, you can get your creative juices flowing. One of my favorite ways to find that spark is through reading – something. Often I read writing books or books about my favorite authors. Sometimes I look through photos. I never know what will cause the spark so I keep working at it until something catches.

The following is a list of items on my bookshelf that I am likely to reach for when I am struggling with knowing where to begin. This list is not exhaustive nor extensive. It is simply some of my favorite books. And, like an old friend, the words on the pages never fail to inspire at least a few words. Often those few words turn into a few more and before I realize what has happened I have met my soft goal for the day. Goals are a complicated and difficult thing which we will talk about later.

Let’s Begin with Mindfulness

Mindfulness – bring the focus back to what you were doing. Not on the chores that still need to be done, or the lost shoes, or the lawn that needs mowed etc. But in this moment, give your writing the space it needs. Take a moment, sit in your space where you plan to write. Take three full deep breaths, feeling your body begin to relax. Shut everything else out.

Books about writing and writers:

On Writing – Stephen King
If You Want to Write – Brenda Uland
Wonder Book – Jeff Vandermeer
Becoming a Writer – Dorothea Brande
Several Short Sentences About Writing – Verlyn Klinkenborg

Books about writing spaces and how people write:

A Writers Space – Eric Maisel
Daily Rituals, Women at Work – Mason Currey
A Writers Paris – Eric Maisel

Books about the writing life

Dancing on the Head of a Pen – Robert Benson
Wild Words – Nicole Gulotta
Still Writing, The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life
Wild Mind – Natalie Goldberg

Poetry Books

Milk and Honey -rupi Kaur
Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman
The Poetry of Impermanence, Mindfulness, and Joy – edited by John Brehm

Photo Books – i.e. coffee table books

Daily Joy, 365 Days of Inspiration
Life in Color – National Geographic
The New Earth from Above – Abrams

Online Resources

Although going onto the internet can offer a dizzying array of things to inspire us, it can also lead us down the rabbit hole. As as you know, going down the rabbit hole is a good way to waste all of your writing time. I would recommend no more than 20-30 minutes (set a timer) and make notes about what you are seeing. That being said, here are a couple of places I like to peruse occasionally (although Medium is a bit more than a place for me to #primethepump).

Quotes – www.brainyquote.com

Writing time is precious and you really don’t want to waste it by staring at the blank page. Next time you feel stuck, try picking up one of these and see where it takes you.

Try one or all of them and discover what works for you. When you need to ‘Prime the Pump’ try getting unstuck through reading.

These are my favorites. What are some of yours? Leave a comment and let me know what you’ve tried and what has worked for you.

Until next time,

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