Many writers describe the woes of “Writer’s Block”, And how they sat waiting endlessly for the spoiled brat called “Inspiration” to arrive. Then, once it did show up it took them in a direction they hadn’t planned and to a place they didn’t need to go. Can we as writers, of all medias, tame this child star tyrant? Or is it a lost cause? Do the writers with the least amount of control win? Or is it the other way around? So many questions circle the drain waiting to get flushed. And yet I only see the water rising and more questions popping up. Help!
The answer was suddenly so obvious I almost laughed, cried and squirted coffee out my nose all at the same time. YES, many times we are held captive by this errant young promise called “inspiration”. But it isn’t a child. Let’s think of it as an old-fashioned hand pump well instead. When I was young we used one at our favorite camping spot in the mountains of Montana. As a little girl I’ll never forget the brisk mountain mornings my mom would send my brother and me up to draw drinkable water. He and I would take turns stroking the hand pump until finally the water would gush from the spigot. We realized, after waiting in line one morning, that the second person could draw up the water faster or not have stroke it at all. This reminds me of writing and inspiration.
Inspiration is the buckets of content that fill our articles, chapters and outlines. But it takes work it takes our consistent action. One of the most amazing quotes I’ve learned over the years is the, “The faster I go, the faster I GO!” It’s a quote from an old Olympian who continued to win gold medals. (I’m sorry I don’t know his name) The momentum of his efforts propelled him forward.
Think of it this way. When we slow down we are an easier target to hit for frustration, depression, and discouragement. The other day I helped my husband haul a wagon of sod to the back yard and plant it. Half way through that sweaty work I got an idea for another blog. My action and movement produced more than a patch of grass in my backyard. It produced buckets of inspiration. So here are some ways I’ve overcome writer’s block.
- Move. Action creates momentum.
- Write out a list 10 action heroes you would love to see.
- If money were no object where would you go on vacation? What would you do there? Now, write it down.
- If it’s a character speed bump you’ve hit. Start a new fresh page and describe the person in 250 words or less. Use expressive and fresh exaggerations about the person then use only the best that comes out of it in your story.
- If you are up against a deadline, stop and brainstorm every hour. This primes the pump. Brainstorming is the effort you need to get the ideas flowing.
- If you have time. Set the project aside for a day and do something else creative such as planning a garden, pottery, painting, fly tying, sewing, and/or photography. Living life is inspiration.
- Show up with a mind to work.
- Organize your workspace. Organizing this area settles my mind and creates harmony around me.
- Be consistent. Just like with the well, the more often I go to work writing every week or day the easier it is to get ideas about it. Muscles get flabby with out consistent use.
- Hunger is the best seasoning. Hunger is ambition. Find something that pulls you forward. If the win is, recognition, or financial gain, or just living without regrets. Find that reason deep inside you and fight for it.