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Priming the Pump...

Why is it that when I’m away from writing for more than a day or two, I forget everything I’ve learned about the craft and about myself and the process of writing?

The last few days I’ve been "working" on my story. Or I've been trying to. I’d promised myself not to edit, therefore, I was not allowing myself to read over what I’d written previously on this new W I P. But, by not allowing myself access to any part of the story, I could not make the words come. Not words that made any sense to my story, anyway.

I’d made the rule that I couldn't read anything I'd already written because I'd want to edit and make it better. SO, I had to write something brand new. But I'd started the story days, no, weeks ago.

I was trying to make myself jump off the writing cliff without the safety net of the words I’d already penned, the foundation of my story. Without those sentences I had nothing to grip onto. I was holding onto nothing, giving it nothing, and I was getting nothing.

I completely forgot I had to prime the pump.

I remember once going out to the old well in the yard of the old home place where my husband grew up.

I’d pump and pump trying to get water, but nothing came out. Then my mother in law came with a quart of water and poured it into the pump and before long, as I pumped, the water gushed forth - magic, to my city eyes.

Today, I primed the pump with the words from the beginning of my story, and before long my pen couldn't keep up with the words pouring forth, almost more than I could catch with my fingers.

So, don't forget to prime the pump, the word pump. And remember we can't get anything out if we don't put something in. Just a word or two. That's all that's necessary. To remind us of who we are and where we're going.

Bon Voyage!


  1. That's how I avoid writer's block - I re-read what I've written and it spurs me forward.

  2. "we can't get anything out if we don't put something in." So true. Glad you are primed and pumping.

  3. Good analogy, Barb. As a kid, I remember priming those old pumps. Not until I grew older did I understand how that worked.

  4. Oh I loved this! It is such an important thing to do! Thank you for the reminder!

  5. I felt stupid writing this post. How can a writer forget something so fundamental? I'm happy to have the post, now I can read it when I'm stuck, which should be about this time next week if my timing is right. On to the story at hand.
    Thanks for reading and commenting.


  6. Another really great analogy. I remember priming pumps. Best of luck with getting that flow of words going.

  7. Hi Barbara, glad your words started to flow. I'm always rereading what I've written. Good post.

  8. I always reread and reread and I still can't seem to catch all the grammar errors...but i do tend to get more inspiration when I reread and continue writing before I forget.


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