Tuesday Writing Tip #4
(This will be a weekly feature. Check back next Tuesday for tip #5)
Missed tip #3? You can find it HERE
Let's face it, finding the motivation to write can be tough some days. We run into mental blocks where we're not sure which direction to go or what the next scene should be or even if we want to be a writer at all. The story could go this way or that, so we sit stagnant and wait for that all elusive inspiration to strike.
Such a dangerous thing to do.
When we wait for inspiration to strike, the easier it is for our muse to find other things to do. Each day that we don't place ourselves at our computer with our fingertips primed to write, the harder it will be when we decide it's finally time. Rarely does inspiration hit us. It's usually the other way around like Jack London's quote above. We have to go after it and force it into submission by whatever means is necessary.
Most often than not, I find the above quote by Maya Angelou to be true. I will prepare myself mentally to write by sitting at my desk with the window open, a song in the background, and place my fingers on my keyboard. I type one word, then another. Soon I will have a sentence.
Some days, it takes several paragraphs and pages of writing before my muse and creativity settle into a comfortable pace and the writing becomes easier. Some days, it can feel like an eternity, but as long as I am willing to put myself in front of my manuscript, willing to write, the words usually come--even if there is only a few of them. It's all about the act of writing and the willingness to try.
It's easy to say go write. Often times, it's much harder to actually do it.
Here are a few tips to help stay motivated when it seems like our muse has died and inspiration has left us. Hopefully, some of these ideas will help jump-start your muse:
1) Give yourself a deadline. It's amazing what a deadline can do to force creativity.
2) If the writing juices aren't flowing, try going back through what you've written and do some editing. Often times, a character will come back to life and start speaking their story to you.
3) Use visual aids about your characters and their worlds and post them where you can see it. (I like to use Pinterest and will pin various pictures of the setting, what I think the character looks like, etc... to give a visual image to my imaginary world. Also, having a cover made before the book is done is a HUGE motivator).
4) Try rewarding yourself for writing. Why not? Who doesn't like a pick-me-up award? Think Pavlov's dog :) It works. It really does.
5) Engage your family, friends, and writing circle to keep you on task. Have them ask about your writing and how it's going. Being held accountable to someone usually forces the muse into action.
6) Don't put off your writing to complete other chores first. Usually, you'll never find that time to sit and write. Write first, then vacuum a floor or do the dishes or write your blog.
7) Listen to music. For some, finding a song that matches the mood of what they're trying to write can perform miracles and get the creativity flowing.
8) A change of scenery can also help. Try writing at the local library or coffee shop. Sometimes, placing yourself in a different environment can be the much needed key to finding your creativity again.
9) READ. Reading others works, their worlds, and their characters will usually spark a desire in you to write. Even if it doesn't, reading is always a good thing to do.
10) Don't stress over perfection. Just write. Don't let it hold you back. Get those words down on paper--that is the most important.
Now, go out and tackle your muse, hold her down, and get some words written today--even if it is only a few. You'll be surprised where those words will take you and how others will quickly follow.