We can all get into a bit of a writing slump from time to time and find it difficult to stay motivated. Sometimes even writing at all can feel like a massive chore, and when you do the words just don’t seem to flow like they used to. You read back over what you have written and wonder what on earth you were thinking!
Getting back to making your writing awesome again means making a conscious effort to pull you out of that writing slump, to break the writer's block, and perhaps, most importantly, to believe in yourself once more.
So how can we get back to that phase where everything we wrote seemed powerful and easy and effortless, where we looked forward to starting the writing day, itching to begin?
Here are some helpful tips to try:
1. Stop criticising yourself
You need to be your biggest support, your biggest fan, your biggest believer. It is so easy for writers to wallow in wells of self-pity. But isn’t it time we started supporting ourselves? Treat yourself like you would a close friend, be your biggest cheerleader. It’s not about being arrogant, it’s about helping ourselves achieve our dreams, and feeling happier about it along the way.
It's been said "we are our own worst critics," and I can that say I've been guilty of that at times. Thinking some of the art projects I did at work didn't look too good. And right now, I feel my writing isn't long enough, because of how others have said editors need 90K words for "editing wiggle room." But I think the effort should count and that you should tell the story you intended to tell. I've done that last part, though when looking over it, I still find some things I want to add, delete or expand upon. I guess that's a natural part of writing.
2. Don’t be afraid of shocking people
The best writing is the most honest writing, it’s the rawest and most brutal. Often when we write it is easy to play down the experiences, to sugar coat everything because we are too scared of offending our readers, of putting people off. However, if you are honest with yourself about the way you want a scene to play out, or how that character would really feel in that moment, then you should write it that way. You readers will appreciate your story all the more for it.
One thing I was apprehensive about when beginning my memoir was telling people how much bad stuff happened to me, how it seemed to outweigh the good stuff. This was one reason I chose not to use real names. I've been as honest as I can be with such details.
3. Be experimental
When it comes to writing some things just aren’t going to work. Why are we so afraid of that being the case? It’s brave and cool to try new things, you aren’t going to hurt anyone by doing so, and if they end up being pieces of writing you never use, or aren’t received well by your readers, that’s OK. Keep experimenting and one day you might just hit upon something that totally revolutionises the way you write.
I've been saying in the last few posts on my blog that I want to try recalling dreams to see if they can work for me as a story. So far I haven't gotten round to this, but I am keeping it in mind. Even if I only remember a small portion of a dream, it still might work.
4. Get inspired
Writing should always be catalysed out of inspiration. If you can remember this you’ll start to actively seek out experiences that are likely to inspire you and therefore motivate you to write even more. Tell yourself that you are an artist, you don’t need to write like a robot. Read, listen to music at top volume, go for long walks, sit quietly in a room for an hour, drink wine, read excellent books, make something with your hands, travel, marvel, laugh and cry - there are so many ways to get inspired - but don’t just sit there waiting for it to come to you.
Again, the dreams idea may prove inspirational. I'm not sure if traveling is in my future or budget, but just a drive somewhere new might be inspiring. I haven't had much inclination to get out for long periods of time. This seems to be from being confined for almost two months because of sickness and rain. Even after Daylight Saving Time began, I still find myself getting tired earlier. Maybe this will get better once summer hits and the weather is warmer.
Deciding to dedicate yourself to your writing and get back to writing your best is a wonderful feeling - even taking those first steps will feel positive and exciting. We all need a little motivation from time to time - just remember you have the tools to get there, you just need to help yourself.