Monday, March 10, 2014

5 Tips to Make it Rain Words

By Malena Lott

Confession: I've been in the midst of a word drought since Thanksgiving 2013.  While I had a good run in 2013 publishing Family Charms (women's fiction), Twin Falls (YA) and even a romance novella Sterling & Sloane, only S&S was new fiction. I'd written the other books in prior years and edited and published them in 2013.

I wanted to kick off 2014 with a downpour of new words and a new story, but nada -  no prose precipitation in the slightest.

I knew I needed a plan to make it rain words and get my creative mojo back, but nothing seemed to be helping.

Or was something working and I didn't know it?

It's important to remember as a creative that your stories are always in progress, even if you haven't put the words down on paper. We get our ideas by living, experiencing, interacting with others, watching, listening. What I found was that I had some things to work on before the wellspring of words would flow again.

Finally in the last few weeks, things started coming together. The forecast calls for a new novel. Here's what I did:

  1. Work on wellness. Having a lack of energy to write could mean a lack of creative energy, which needs to be fueled by things like adventure, new challenges, good health, positive attitude, clarity and a number of other things. (Here's a great link to a post on 18 things creatives do differently and I identify with all of them.) If your life is feeling dull, get out and explore, connect with nature, make a new friend, work out, eat better, meditate, whatever it takes to fuel your creativity. Take a look at what's going on with you physically and mentally and make the proper adjustments.
  2. Find a muse. A muse is the source of inspiration for a creative work. When I wrote The Stork Reality, my babies were my inspiration. For Dating da Vinci, it was the original Leonardo da Vinci (who is still my #1 crush). For Family Charms, it was my sisters. For Sterling & Sloane, it was Rock Hudson (specifically his character in Pillow Talk.) Now I've found a real-life muse for my new project and everything has started coming together. Of course the verb “muse” is also highly recommended: deep thoughts and meditation.
  3. Try something new. One of the reasons I didn't want to write is because I had no story. That sounds tres obvious, but I have to become obsessed with a story to write about it. The compulsion to write must overcome me. Finally, while absently watching the Superbowl this year, a story idea hit me, but it was only a kernel, hardly enough to run with. Yet it remained there waiting patiently for me to do something with it and recently a few other events (and the muse) watered that kernel to where I'm in the correct obsessive-compulsive place to work on it. It's something very different than what I've done before so the challenge is spurring me on.
  4. Be patient and make the hard choices. If you've read the The War of Art, you know about Resistance. Often our worst enemy to our craft is ourself. Instead of fighting the resistance, step outside of yourself as a third-party witness and see what's going on. Don't judge it. Examine it. What do you fear? Why aren't you going for it? Decide what has to change to make it rain.
  5. Go for small, more frequent writing stints. The fantasy of being able to write for long stints is really tough for most writers. If you can't write for big stretches, go small and add in more in a day.  I'm starting this new "rain shower"strategy but it will require absolute silence and no interruptions to make it work. Maybe a few thunderstorms will show up along the way.

What on this list resonates with you? Share your ideas for pushing past your limits and improving your creative mojo in comments.

Malena Lott is a brand strategist and author of six novels, three novellas and several short stories. She also fuels her creativity with hot coffee, iced coffee, wine, Zumba and yoga. Learn more about her at


  1. Numbers 1 and 4...I need to pull out my copy of The War of Art and bash myself over the head with it. Maybe that will summon my muse.

    1. Christa - I like an annual read of that book!

  2. If by "eating better" you mean eating chocolate, I'm there! Actually, the rain metaphor works well for me. I tend to go through droughts and flash-floods. The key is to capture all those words during the floods so they don't wash away. I need the writers' equivalent of a rain barrel. (And chocolate.)

    1. LOL, Judith! I would love to have a flash flood soon. I treat myself with wine over chocolate but would never give up chocolate for good!

  3. Malena,
    Thank you for this post! I've been meaning to read The War of Art and just 'one-clicked' it after reading your post. I am pushing for some heavy rains this year with my words and I think you are right on with what I need to do to keep going. The exercise thing seems to slide away from me over and over and over especially if I am struggling in the writing--I think I'll get more words if I set at the computer longer, but actually I'll often get more words if I get up and go for a run, walk, swim, or take a yoga class! Thank you for the post.

    1. yay! Let me know what you think of The War of Art when you finish. I think it would be a fun discussion for us to share over on our FB group! Totally agree the work out activates something in the brain. Spirit Junkie recommends a walk or workout to release trapped energy so you can clear your head and begin meditation (or in this case getting in the flow of writing.0

  4. Great post, Malena!!
    I thought the Huff Post article on creativity was an interesting read, and I've read The War of Art a few times... Now is probably a good time for me to read it again ;). I can definitely identify with the concept of "resistance," LOL.
    Thanks for the thoughtful list!

  5. Malena, great post! I will check out the war of art!!