When You Can't Write, Read

Ugh that moment when you sit down to write and you can't. You're not blocked…the words are there…you just can't focus.  And when you finally do write, the words are crap.  It's a horrible feeling as a writer.  

For me, stress is the ultimate writing killer.  It creeps up on you.  Maybe you're querying and you're waiting to hear from an agent or you're stressed about something in your personal life.  Whatever it is, stress can be debilitating as a writer.  But when writing is your job, you can't let stress block you.  For me, reading is the best remedy.

I started writing because I love books.  LOVE books.  I love to write but more than anything, I'm a reader.  When I get overwhelmed and stressed, the best thing for me is to go back to the basics.  

It's easy to get caught up in the business side of this industry. Worrying about marketing and sales and deals can stunt your creativity.  It adds a barrier to your writing, just like worrying about things in your personal life can distract you.  When I found out we were moving to South Korea, I didn't write for three weeks.  It was my longest dry spell ever.  But when I did start writing again, I started by reading.

The thing about reading is that it clears away all the white noise and reminds us of the heart of what we do.  We write because we love books.  We write for that feeling you get when you fall in love with a book and want everyone around you to love it as much as you do.  If you're stuck writing, read.  It will inspire you, it will remind you of why we write, and it will clear all of the white noise from your head.

I was stuck this week and then I basically devoured The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead.  The words started flowing again:) Read an old favorite, read a book you've been waiting for.  When you can't write, read.

What other things do you like to do when you're blocked and having trouble writing? I'd love tips!