The Faucet Syndrome

Hi everyone,

A friend of mine told me that when she stops writing for a while, she finds the reentry difficult. Ideas that once bubbled on the front burner have cooled. A mood that was firmly established seems to have disappeared. The muse has taken a sabbatical. Tools of the trade feel awkward and hard to manage.

I’m fortunate in that I came home to a project already well established and that needed more editing than original material. But on the plane I sat with a writing pad on my lap and played my old game of association. I began with the word GOAT and formed three lists of ten words or phrases associated with goat or spin-offs from the original word. I didn’t catch fire from any of the thirty.

Maybe I was tired. It’s a long trip from the west coast to the middle. Or maybe my eight days without lifting a pencil was responsible. I knew I didn’t HAVE to have a new idea right away. Still the failure to find an instant spark made me wonder how important it is for a writer to write on a regular basis. Maybe not a lot, only a few words, just enough to keep the ideas flowing. Same for artists. The ones I know always seem to be sketching something or taking pictures for later or sizing up an interesting nose. Don’t want that brush to go dry.


Around here in winter people often leave their outdoor faucets dripping slightly to keep the pipes from freezing. Faucets may be more creative than we think. I’m going to start calling this the faucet syndrome.



6 comments on “The Faucet Syndrome

  1. I tell would-be writers , and even established ones, that writing is a muscle that needs daily flexing or it goes flabby. We are mental athletes and must do our stretches every day. Ballet dancers know that if they miss barre one day, the next is harder and dancing well becomes impossible. The body seizes up. And the mind does the same.–Jane

  2. Great analogy–the Faucet Syndrome. I don’t write everyday because some days I’m deep in research. Writing related, yes, but not the actual act of writing. Other days I’m thinking about structure, ways in…heck, ways out, so while I may not have pen in hand or fingers on keyboard, I am THINKING about writing, projects at hand, and projects I hope to tackle in the future. This is percolation time.

    • Percolation time. How true! It’s all part of the process, isn’t it? It’s only when I withdraw completely to play or work on other things that the writing muscle that Jane refers to loses some tone. Thanks, Larry.

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