Only echoes in the gas tank.
I was running on empty. The energy tank on my current work in progress was dry. Ideas for the story are here in my head, but there was no power to find the words to express them.
So I took one short scene to read to my writer's group last night. Wow, what a boost. The critique pointed out what worked in the scene and what didn't. My new character was well received. And people got how my main character is feeling. Always valuable information. Even knowing what doesn't work within the piece is refreshing. I mean, I knew it in my gut. Now I really know it. And I have specific things to fix and polish.
More than that was the chance to rub elbows with like minded folks. A conversation with a friend whose writing is going well, words flowing out of her like a river. The chance to hear of a newly published author's book signing adventures. The chance to hear fiction in progress from others with the opportunity to flex my own creative critique muscles to aid them as they've have helped me.
A recent article in U.S. News and World Report revealed that we are more creative in groups. Especially groups where ideas can flow without censor. The best thing about my writer's group is that whatever I bring to read is taken seriously. Whether it is fiction, fanfiction, poetry, a magazine article, or an opinionated essay, the words are treated with respect. Everyone tries to offer advice that improves the work. Effort is applauded. Our mutual goal is creating writing that sells.
One thing is for sure, going to those meetings, hanging out with other writers, and bouncing words and ideas off them certainly fills up my creative gas tank.