For me, however, the thing that really works is taking a break.
It probably sounds counter-intuitive - that taking time off the computer helps me when I'm on it. But the thing is, I find I dry up if I spend too long at it. I can pound out some great wordage, sure, but then my brain gets overloaded. Push it too far, and it will come to a standstill.
But taking a break doesn't mean a break from the story. Far from it - it's a break from that act of sitting and fingers moving on keyboard, but I'm still working, things ticking away in the background.
|I walk so much the soles are wearing off!|
The shower is a brilliant break tool. I've lost count of the number of times I've had a great idea in the shower. The bath really doesn't work as well. Baths are for reading while drinking a fabulous red wine. Something about the water falling on your head shakes things loose.
Sometimes, a big break is called for and that's when I nap. In fact, when I'm drafting, I sleep A LOT. My brain isn't used to working so hard ;) But often I'll wake up and know exactly what I need to do next in the story.
|The paper weight I made at the Canberra Glassworks|
And on occasion, I'll take a time out and not write for a few days, a week or two, even a month. It can take time, to trust yourself that you won't lose the habit of writing, that you'll pick it up again.
The big thing to do on a break - write something else. Go to a new world, a new genre. Been focussing on your novel? Bang out a couple of short stories, or vice versa. Go do a writing course.
Taking regular breaks is the best thing for me to ensure that when I'm hard at work, what is coming out is fresh, new, interesting and worth reading.
And now - yawn - I think it's nap time!