Beyond Writing Time

Creative RustThere comes a time with most writers (at least all the ones I’ve spoken with) when their current project loses some of it’s luster. The story is still there and so are the characters, but that spark of life that comes from the writer has some how diminished. This can happen for a number of reasons. A new baby in the house, a job change, extra schooling, moving, and losing or gaining a boyfriend/girlfriend/spouse/pet/whatever are just a few of the millions of things that can disrupt your creative flow.

Usually given time, that flow will come back.

But if you’re like me, patience isn’t one of my strong points. Time is precious. Every minute I’m not giving my story my all, I risk deleting the whole file and trying again the next day. Far from productive.

I’m not delusional. I know, as I hope you do, that not all writing days are good days. It’s still our responsibility to sit our butts to the chair and create. You can have a muse, and if you do, you need to strap it in the chair as well. That muse works for you, not the other way around. It’s important to know that others can inspire, but it’s up to us to create.

Even still, those sparkless days might stretch into weeks, maybe months, god forbid, years. So when it starts to be a struggle more days than not, you might want to take some more serious action.

First of all, you need to keep writing. Even if you don’t feel the writing is good, by sticking to it you’re letting your spouse/kids/yourself/God/universe/the neighbors know that you’re going to continue until it comes out right. You’re a writer, and that’s what writers do dammit. Personally, writing keeps me sane and an all-a-round pleasant person. Just ask my family.

Second, try to find a new spark. Carve out a small section of time and do something different. It could be small like conversing with a total strange while at lunch. Maybe make it big. You could take an impromptu vacation. Jump in the car and drive until you see something neat. The point is to shake up your routine. It should rattle your dinkum thinkum and hopefully start producing some new and fun ideas.

You can also try rekindling an old spark. Dig back into the recesses of your brain and try recalling a book that started you on this perverted path of writing. Or maybe one that just confirmed it. Re-read it and try to find what about that book made you want to take up the pen. If it touched you once, it’ll touch you again. I like this idea. It doesn’t force me to find extra time. Since I already make time for books, I simply throw in a person classic in the TBR pile from time to time.

It’s important to think beyond your writing time. Everything that happens in your life affects it. If your life gets dull and stale, your writing will reflect that. I’m not suggesting to go out and change your life from top to bottom. That’s ridiculous. Merely spice it up a bit, and see where it gets you. Then let me know what you did. Maybe it’s something I should try, too.