Writer's block. You've probably heard of it, and probably experienced it yourself. Maybe it was a school paper you sat down to write, but nothing came. Writer's block is like that, but nothing comes for a long time, long enough to make the writer wonder if it ever will come. I know what that's like. It's what happened to me after I came out of the hospital after Wernicke's Encephalopathy.
Most of the time when I get stuck, it's not writer's block. It won't last long. It's just a wee bit of blank-screen-itis. My mind's way of telling me it's not ready to produce. There is no Ralph the Muse to whap me upside the head with his trusty, rusty tennis racket.
That's when I start posting on Facebook. I let my mind roam free. Respond to friends. Tell a story or two. I write through the little gap in whatever book I'm working on.
I think it's actually healthy. I don't focus much on whatever I'm banging out on the keyboard while I'm banging it out (as friends of mine on Facebook can probably tell.) I just have a little fun for a while. What I'm actually doing is letting my mental "back forty" fill up with Sexton stuff.
When the mental back forty is full, I can usually tell. An image of a character in the Sexton books comes to me, doing something. Or a phrase will appear in my mind, ready to jump start the page, or the chapter, or the scene.
Then I leave Facebook cold and start writing.