Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, sitting down to confront a blank page and be creative to order is a hard task – even if you had an incredibly productive day yesterday, or you’re coming back off your lunchbreak. Of course discipline is needed, but if the creative juices aren’t flowing, there are ways to trick yourself into ‘the zone’.
My first piece of advice (which I have shamefully filched and adapted from The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron) is to write (either long-hand, or typed) three pages of absolutely anything which comes into your head. It needn’t be creative – you could be typing ‘I need to do the washing up’ over and over again. The idea is for your brain (and your hands!) to be acclimatizing to getting words and thoughts down, however incoherent they might be. Blasting through the rubbish, so that the creative stuff underneath can bubble to the surface.
My second piece of advice is to look at, watch or visit (if you have time) something which you find creatively inspiring: another book (in a totally different genre to the one you’re writing, lest you compare yourself to the author and freak out!) with beautiful writing – I always return to Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber as I find the prose inspirational. Or a film, a piece of artwork, a gallery, a piece of sewing, some graphic design, some really cool typesetting – anything which fires up your imagination.