How to Stay Inspired
Writing isn’t easy. It’s a long, drawn out process that takes months or even years, and the ability to stay inspired can waver. No one is perfect, which is why there will be times during that process when writers grow weary of writing and the inspiration dissipates.
Staying inspired is as much about remaining focused as it is about having ideas and being creative, as these are intrinsically linked, but how we maintain that is a different thing altogether.
If inspiration dries up, don’t worry. It’s quite normal; so normal that all writers will experience this. It’s a matter of keeping things in perspective rather than becoming anxious about a lack of ideas and the thought that if you’re not writing then there must be something wrong.
There isn’t anything wrong.
Lack of inspiration or ideas is NOT writer’s block. Writer’s block is a problem with the writer, while a lack of inspiration is, well…a lack of inspiration. It’s as simple as that. The ideas are just not there.
There’s a lot of advice that pushes the idea that writers should just keep writing when they hit a creative slump, no matter what. This is actually counterproductive. If you write while uninspired and without any creativity or motivation, what you write won’t be worth reading. The act of writing becomes a chore. The moment that happens is the moment to walk away and give yourself a break.
In this instance, the best advice is to not write and to simply wait until your mind is ready to refocus. Don’t force creativity or inspiration – instead relax, do something else and wait for the inspiration and creativity return. You do not have to write every day. Write when it’s the best time to write, when you have ideas that work.
Enough can’t be said about planning. If you don’t plan to some degree, especially if you’re working on a novel, and all the complexities that entails, then you may fall victim to an inspiration/idea void. Planning keeps you on the right track and keeps you focused on the story, chapter by chapter. But if you haven’t done any novel planning and, for example, you have no idea what will happen after chapter 12, then you are going to struggle. So, do a little planning – it will keep you focused and inspired.
Avoid setting too many goals. This is a big inspiration killer. If you set goals for yourself and you fail to achieve them, then you’ll be disappointed, and that could lead to demotivation and self-doubt, which can further lead to other long-term problems such as writer’s block.
One of the best ways to re-inspire yourself is to read the kind of books you like to read, especially if they are in the genres you like to write. Examining other authors’ styles and voices is a great way to rekindle motivation and reboot the imagination. Nothing is more inspirational than reading others we like and aspiring to be like them.
Staying inspired, especially when writing a novel, is all about being passionate about what you’re writing and why you’re writing it. You have to understand that inspiration and creativity is indeterminate – they come and go, but eventually they will reveal themselves again when it’s the right time, and when that happens, you’ll find plenty of creativity.
Ideas come when you least expect. So let them. Don’t force them. Then let your imagination take over.
Just remember that you don’t have to write every day. Do some story planning; don’t set yourself too many goals, read lots of novels in your genre, or authors who inspire you, and let those ideas come when you’re ready.
I would like to thank you for your support in 2018, and wish you all Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. AllWrite will return January 2019.