Are you bummed about things going poorly in your writing life? Maybe you got a few bad reviews. Or a publishing deal you were counting on fell through. Perhaps your cat is even sick (hey, every writer needs a cat). If you need inspiration as a writer (like how to keep going with your latest project), there’s plenty of advice available. But I’m not sure how much of it is effective.
Traditional solutions for tired writers
Here’s one you hear a lot: grow a thicker skin. I suppose this works to some extent. But if being comfortable with rejection alone worked, we’d all have the hides of rhinoceroses by now. Rhinoceroses covered in steel plates (which may actually have been God’s early sketches for the armadillo).
Then there’s venting to your family/friends/writer community. This may also help writers get inspired–or at least calm down. But it can also leave us despondent once we use up all the understanding ears, and people start avoiding our calls.
Oh, and the one I love most: just keep writing. Which is what got us into this mess in the first place! *headsmack*
Okay, okay, so I know we should keep writing. Heck, some of us couldn’t stop if you tied our fingers together. We’d learn to type with our tongues—and somehow keep the keyboard drool-free. But it’s hard to get back that love of writing when all it leads to is doors slammed in your face. Even if you know you’re not to blame for the slamming. It still makes a loud, hurtful noise.
A new/old option to inspire writers
But you know the one thing I never see (or perhaps I miss) on these lists of advice?
Read to remember. Remember why you wanted to write in the first place. Before you ever put pen to paper. Before you put pencil to paper. Before crayon. Go back. Waaaaay back . . .
Okay, you’ve gone all the way into the womb. That’s too far! Come out.
That’s better. Anyway, most of us became enchanted with books at a young age (if you’re a late bloomer, that’s fine too). We loved these stories so much we wanted to make up our own. So in order to get inspired as writers, we need to get re-enchanted with the written word.
If you’re beating your head against the wall because of writing, it might be time to take a break. Go back to the story—literally. It doesn’t have to be yours. In fact, it probably shouldn’t be. You need perspective on your own work. And the best way to get that is by reading someone else’s.
I don’t know if this will work for everyone, but it helps me get inspired as a writer. Helps my brain get into that trance-y, “flow” state psychologists are always talking about. Helps me realize that other writers achieved their dreams—and so can I. I feel like I’ve accomplished something—even if it’s just moving books onto the “finished” corner of the bookshelf.
So I recommend attacking that TBR pile like it’s a silo fire burning your only winter store of food. Like you’re the lone surviving piranha of a fishy book shortage. Like the zombie apocalypse is upon us and the only thing that repels the undead is a completed TBR pile! *
Because your next masterpiece may only be a quick read away.
What about you, dear readers? What go-to methods do you have to get inspired as a writer, if you are one?
* Yes, I know the only thing that will truly vanquish zombies is a chain saw. Sheesh, guys–what kind of nerd do you take me for?