ON WRITING: when uninspired
Updated: Nov 13, 2020
How often do you feel inspired? Like refreshed, bouncing-in-your-boots, ready to create? Every day? Yeah, me either.
"This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard."
You're uninspired. You're weary. You don't feel creative. I'm feeling all of this, so much, right now. With Nanowrimo. With the soggy middle of my second novel.
I'm thinking: These characters are flat. Dialogue wooden. Details vague, poorly rendered. Why am I even writing this book?? I'm not feeling it, at all. I'm uninterested. Bored. So I'm just gonna roll over, yank up the covers, and go back to sleep.
How about you? Same?
I'll share a few truths & tricks, then overload you with writerly quotes. Because I love that shit.
First, some TRUTHS:
Everyone feels uninspired at times.
Everyone doubts their work.
Everyone slogs through the hard parts.
Friends, writing is hard work.
I wrote almost the entirety of STARLIGHT exhausted & brain-weary. If I would’ve waited until I was getting enough sleep, waited until I felt inspired & creative: it wouldn’t have been written.
If I would've waited until I felt inspired, my novel wouldn't have been written.
TIPS. (There's only 2.)
1. It's just practice.
Let's say you're terrified to write a pivotal scene. Try telling yourself: "It's just practice. You're not going to keep it anyway. You just need to get it on the page."
Chances are? You'll love it.
2. Just one hour.
Tell yourself, "I'll write for an hour." Or however many minutes you want to devote. Of course you could determine a word count goal, but that can be intimidating. But time? Thirty minutes? You can't fail at thirty minutes. I tell myself, when uninspired or exhausted: "I'll give my writing one hour." If I'm not feeling it after an hour, then off to bed for me.
Chances are? You'll keep writing.
"The scariest moment is always just before you start."
It's not easy, friends. Not at all. But, contrary to popular belief, creatives aren't weak. We're powerful.
Take care of yourself. Drink some water. Wash your face. Watch the sunlight for a moment. Gaze upon your beautiful children. Think on Frodo and his ruthless journey. (Or your token favorite hero.) Then: sit down & write.
You've got this.
""I never wait for inspiration to strike. That would be a long, sad wait. Successful writing is one part inspiration and two parts sheer stubbornness."
"You don't need to wait for inspiration to write. It's easier to be inspired while writing than while not writing."
"A professional writer is an amateur who didn't quit."
"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."
"You can always edit a bad page. You can't edit a blank page."
"You don't start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it's good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That's why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence."
-Octavia E. Butler
I mean, don't they all talk about this? Cause writing's work, darlings. The books that come to mind are Stephen King's ON WRITING & Anne H. Janzer's THE WRITER'S PROCESS. All the memoir-y writing books touch on this idea. Here's my On Writing Goodreads shelf.
There's a whole subculture of interactive, prompt-filled journals. If you're wondering what to write next or feel intimidated by the blank page, browse your local bookstore.
So, buy one. Sit down. Maybe make a chai tea, find some sunshine beneath a wide-boughed tree, & get at dreaming.