I’ll admit it. I’m not always the best at following through with the advice I’m about to give, but I do understand how they apply in principle. The fact is, there are lots of things that can deflate a writer’s balloon of inspiration, and I’m writing this article/blog post because it’s something that I deal with on an ongoing basis.
The bottom line is to be disciplined enough to write and keep writing. Nothing beats punching keys and making words that string into sentences. I’m told I have a lot of excuses: two little ones with a third on the way, a full-time job, several other non-work commitments, etc. Many of my close writer friends will probably disagree with this next sentiment but, regardless, I think it holds true. My excuses are more than valid.
The issue, however, isn’t that I have excuses. The issue is that there will always be excuses, so it comes down to making a decision in one’s life…in my life: do I want to be a writer or not? The answer is that I do–very much so–and, with that in mind, I know maintaining a discipline to write is essential.
But with that discipline comes motivation, and I think there are tricks that can be applied to keep one’s motivation high.
Read, Read, Read
I don’t read enough; I know that. However, when I do, especially something I really enjoy reading, I tend to write more often and more effectively. Reading a variety of fictional works enables a writer to keep his or her mind fresh when looking at his or her own work. It also shows a variety of tricks and methods of accomplishing effects within a story. Most of all, it feeds one’s muse, and that’s essential.
Write Something in a Different Genre
Back in my college days, I hit writer’s block of the worst kind. While I had always been good at writing papers, both reports as well as editorial/analysis papers, I began to struggle with them a bit. Granted, that meant I was getting B’s and B+’s when I’d usually get A’s, but this was especially bad as my business minor classes (mostly math, statistics and accounting) brought my overall GPA down. In other words, I needed the A’s I was getting in my English classes. A friend gave me some great advice. He said to start writing something in fiction–specifically in a genre you’re not used to writing in. Sometimes writing in a non-pressure way, something you’re not familiar with, can jolt your brain back into a writing mentality. And in the case of writing school papers, it worked! I have continued this practice whenever I’ve been stuck in fiction writing and, more often than not, it’s been effective.
Take Breaks when Needed
Breaks are important when you get stuck. It allows your mental palette to clear so you can return to the work refreshed and with a new outlook. The trick is not to let a break turn into a long hiatus if at all possible. That’s what I’ve been guilty of at times.
Write what you Love; Love what you Write
Write about what you know and what you’re passionate about. If you have a passion and knowledge base for cars, have your main character be a car lover. It makes little sense to have your main character focus on knitting if you know nothing about it. Passion comes through in work
Connect with other Writers
There’s nothing like having other writers you like and trust nudge and push and sometimes smack you around to keep you writing. Don’t take it for granted.
It’s taken a while, but I’m finally back in the groove a little. We’ll see if the motivation sticks. In the meantime, best of luck with your push for the writing itch.