I know there are lots people out there who just plain won’t write if they do not have the proper inspiration. They follow their creative muse and lean heavily on the concept of being an artist, and those things are true. Writing is an art and yes, sometimes you just plain don’t want to write.
I’m not talking about those moments when life steals your writing time. I’m talking about those moments when you sit down at the computer for your designated 2-3 hours of writing time and just don’t want to do it. The words feel stale in your mind, feel stale when you get them on paper, and you think that a thousand other authors could write this better than you are right now.
How do you push through that?
Well, I imagine it will be different for each person but I can tell you a couple of things I’ve learned about myself.
1) These moments do not last for only a day.
If I allow it, this feeling of drudgery can last for months at a time. So when I discover myself stuck in one, I have to take measures immediately. Sometimes this means going for a walk, cleaning the house, going to the gym or jumping in a pool. Anything where my brain can wander wherever it wants.
2) Rely On Craft
Yes, it does feel like I’m slogging through my work when I’m in this particular mindset. Yes, I groan and grump and get only a little bit of progress done on my manuscript. But the truth is, if I write anyway then I find myself looking at the work through the mindset of my craft, instead of the mindset of my muse.
Yes, it’s hard.
However, when I look at the work through the mindset of my craft I generally find a solution that would never have occurred to me any other way. It zooms the creative lens out and forces me to think outside of the character and onto the book as a whole, which produces a far stronger book.
The awesome thing about relying on my Craft, is that eventually something sparks and the inspiration snaps back into place. It might take several weeks, but it’ll get there and I’ve learned to have faith in that.
When I start feeling unmotivated, I start reading anything and everything I can get my hands on. Fiction, Nonfiction, News, Poetry, literally anything in my path I will read. This not only stores new concepts and story ideas somewhere in my subconscious, but it makes me a better writer when that motivation finally does return.
4) … And this is going to sound terribly geeky … Play a Genre specific game
If I’m writing a science fiction, I will play wither Star Wars or Star Trek. If I’m writing fantasy, I play Dungeon Siege. Historical Fiction … well, I haven’t found a game for that one but I do watch tons of WWII movies and documentaries. My creative mind soaks up the visuals of those games (and/or movies) and often bounces me right back into wanting to write again.
And that’s it. Those are my four steps to getting back into the swing of things. Generally, I do all four. They aren’t a guarantee that my muse will start working again quickly, but I know that eventually it’ll come back. The main focus is that I keep writing regardless because I know that my Craft is capable of moving forward.