This month in the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, we have these optional questions: When writing gets tough, how do you stay motivated to write? What holds you back from writing? How can you get your groove back?
1. First you need to know why writing is tough, why you’ve lost your motivation. This can be any number of reasons. Below are just a couple.
Fear and doubt are the biggest and nastiest creativity killers. If you let them, they will sap you dry and hold you back. Writing is such a personal endeavor that we leave pieces of ourselves in our words. They are there for all the world to see and judge. It’s inevitable the nasties creep in: Will my writing be good enough? Am I wasting my time? I got one bad review out of fifty, so is that the end of my career?
Then there’s those outside forces we have no control over: Health concerns, jobs with long hours and high stress, family tragedies, and the list goes on. Caring for my brother with a terminal illness stripped away my creativity for two years. I had nothing left in the tank. And now, after two years of a pandemic, of being shut in and putting life on hold, it seems that also affected my creativity.
So, how do we get that creativity back?
2. Being kind to yourself. Life happens. Fears happen. But the more we stress over not writing, the harder everything becomes. Sometimes you have to give yourself permission not to write. Sometimes you have to deal with those unavoidable demands on time and energy. Remind yourself it’s okay if that’s all you have left. And remember that this too shall pass.
3. Try not to isolate yourself. In isolation, fears and doubts fester. In isolation, that creativity tank remains dry. Inspiration comes from rejoining the real world. It comes from living through those hard times, enjoying the good times, and breathing fresh air. Try going for a walk, lunch with friends, a visit to the local museum. Soak in sunlight and laughter.
4. Read more. Make the time to read. Read often. Read something new, something old, something within your genre, and something completely different. It doesn’t matter. Just read. Reading wakes up the brain. It triggers those creative juices and inevitably encourages us to get back to that blank page.
5. Reassess those impossible dreams. If you’ve been secretly harboring massively grand dreams, like becoming the next JK Rowling or Stephen King, then maybe it’s time to have a long, hard look at what it takes to get that big. Is it even attainable? Is it what you really want? Or is there something else that fits you better? Is it novel writing you love, or do you actually prefer writing short stories? Do you have an achievable plan to reach those goals? These are things you might need to ask yourself. The answers might surprise you.
6. Start small. If you’ve lost your motivation, try getting back into it by taking baby steps. Write something only you will see. Something short. Don’t write for publication. Aim to write a single paragraph, if that’s what you need. A bunch of small achievements eventually leads to big achievements.
7. Remember why you started writing in the first place. Like all relationships, our love of writing needs to be nurtured. The moment you forget why you love it, why you used to spend hours at the keyboard, is the moment you start to fall away. I love writing because I love stories. I love creating different worlds and populating those worlds with interesting people. I love playing with words and scenes and bringing them to life. Writing fulfils me.
Why do you love writing? How do you get your groove back?IWSG Book Club is reading my book, Wielder’s Prize. I’m honored and excited. Grab your copy quickly while the ebook is still only $2.99. The price will be going up soon.You can grab it HERE.
I believe the book club discussions begin on the fourth Thursday of the month, so 23rd June. You can go HERE for the discussion.