Recently, someone asked me if I ever have a day when I don’t feel like writing. The answer is absolutely yes.
Even though writing is my reason for jumping out of bed in the morning, it is possible to have an off-day.
To put things in context, I’ve known for at least fifteen years that writing was my calling. Writing is one of the activities that I can count on that gives me energy rather than depletes it. Writing relaxes me. Writing makes me feel whole. Writing makes me feel like I am connected (and connecting) to something greater.
When I create something that has never been written before, I get a sensation that feels like a runner’s high. Writing gives me a sense of euphoria. This is what keeps me going.
Also, I am very fortunate that in the back of my mind, ideas are constantly churning, blog themes are constantly being pitched and my fictional works are evolving and maturing.
For these reasons, I never lose interest.
But do I ever wake up some mornings and not want to write? Sure, but I don’t question it. Even the most passionate of writers can have an off day.
If I have a deadline, how do I get around that? Ironically, my answer is to make a cup of coffee and write anyway. However, I may not go immediately to the document that needs to be written.
There are ways to get the creative juices flowing without dwelling on a piece that has me stuck.
A writing prompt as simple as “10 things I enjoy about (insert a favourite activity)” or “10 things for which I am grateful today” are two easy writing prompts. Whether the answer comes in a few words or a few sentences, these may be enough of a warm-up exercise to get the brain in gear again.
Editing an existing piece
I sometimes find that proofreading and editing something that is already in draft form can grease the wheels. Maybe it is my compulsive nature, but when I notice a rough spot which could stand improvement, one fix often leads to another, and another. Before I know it, fixing words leads to fixing sentences which leads to fixing paragraphs. At that point, the writing wheels are in motion again for content creation.
Work on the structure
When storytelling is not flowing like a stream, I have found that reviewing the outline, the characters’ back stories or the universe in which the characters live can jump start the creative process as more background details come to mind.
Sometimes digging through books or the Internet for background information on one of my subjects is enough to crank up my natural curiosity and enthusiasm for my project and to get the creative juices flowing again.
A walk in nature always seems to help me find my grounding again. Fresh air, sunshine and listening to the birds singing on a beautiful day is a way to reconnect with the writer’s inner voice.
Find something else that inspires
If all else fails, then maybe I might need to put the project aside and take a break. In those moments, I like to turn to other creative works, whether music, art, a good book, a good movie or a good TV program, and to let myself be awed and inspired by the creativity of others. That sometimes helps me refocus on my own work.
Just because I might feel like one story is a little stuck doesn’t mean that the whole writing process needs to come to a complete standstill. I just need to temporarily shift my attention.
And before I know it, the words and ideas become unstuck and things start moving again, sometimes to the point of feeling like a writing machine.
And then the euphoria returns!
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Sincere thanks for reading!
Have a great day,