Are you tired of struggling, feeling unmotivated, or just plain stuck? Are the words kind there but not there? On the tip of your tongue but unable to tap them.
Are you tired of feeling like crap because you’re not writing as much, or even as well as you know you could and should? Is procrastination killing you a little more each time you don’t actually write anything when you want to?
I know how you feel. It’s not all of these things at once, and maybe not every day, but as they say, bad things add up, and over time the writing becomes less frequent and motivation seems harder to come by.
It’s not okay, and it’s not going to get better until you become truly inspired and motivated to write work you’re proud of.
I would be doing you a disservice to just say it’s going to be okay, keep tapping the keys and the words are going to fall from the sky to fill your pages.
Sure, that would be cool. But it’s not going to happen. Not like that.
Let’s Get Back to Writing Our Best
Let’s first be clear: WE ALL go through times of struggle. We all go through times of procrastination and disappointment in ourselves and in our writing. It’s a universal experience and we need to admit that we don’t like it, we don’t enjoy it and we don’t want to wallow in it.
We want to get back to writing!
I’ve been there. Stuck. Unmotivated. And disillusioned. And it feels like shit, honestly.
1) Stop Sugar Coating Your Experiences
If something feels like shit, go ahead and admit it. I used to use the word crap euphemistically when I really wanted to say shit! It’s not because I want to be foul or disrespectful, but the bona fide word holds more sway, it brings more realism to the experience.
If you’re candy coating your experiences and not admitting the severity and reality of them – it makes it that much harder to break free from, or to overcome, them. If you feel like shit, say it with authority. Go ahead: “This ‘experience’ feels like shit!” Say it out loud. Say it with power in your voice. Do it.
I did a promotional audio recording for my new book “Inspired Writer” and I received HUNDREDS upon hundreds of overwhelmingly positive messages about it because one, single, solitary, word caught their attention and made them listen to the entire audio more intently.
Go ahead and listen to the audio if you have a minute and guess which word I am talking about. Now, imagine the audio without that word. Would it still have the same impact?
Most people told me they were only half-kind-of-listening to it until that word was said and then they couldn’t stop paying very close attention to what came next. And just as importantly most of them also stated they purchased the book and loved it!
One. Honest. Deliberate: Word.
Moral of this story:
Sometimes you’ve got to say it exactly like you mean it. If you’re pissed off, say you’re pissed off. If you’re happy, say you’re happy!
Let’s get back to being authentic again.
2) Create Stuff That Might Not Work
Getting back to writing our best and make it awesome again refers to a time when our grandparents and their parents and down the ancestral line, created stuff they were not sure was going to work.
The Wright brothers didn’t start flying on their first attempt, my friends. They had some crashes.
So if you want to make your writing great again, you have to be willing to write stuff that might crash.
Writers have this wonderous idea about writing a first draft, publishing it and hitting the bestseller list. Come on now, you know it’s true. And you also know that the reality is completely different from the fantasy.
But whether we realize it or not, because writing is such hard work, the reality can stall us before we ever get started or stop us in mid-sentence.
It’s okay to write gibberish. It’s okay to write work that needs editing. It’s okay to publish a book that nobody buys.
It’s not okay to not try. It’s not okay to not try again. Overnight successes do not happen overnight. I know, it’s a conundrum.
If you want to make your writing great again you’re going to have to be willing to make mistakes and even fail. It’s part of the deal.
Repeat after me:
It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s not okay to not try.
3) Put Inspiration Front and Center Again
Somewhere along the way we seem to have gotten the idea we should create as if we’re robots. We should be able to sit down every day and write, tap tap tap, like good little machines, starting exactly at 5am no less.
People, people, people…
Artists used to create because they were inspired to create. They created to express themselves for themselves. They didn’t create for anyone’s approval. They didn’t create to reach anyone’s bestseller list. When they went to bed at night their desire to create the next day was akin to waiting to get up to unwrap presents.
Michelangelo wasn’t going to get a do-over after he painted the Sistine Chapel. Van Gogh created despite the fact that no one wanted to buy his work.
The greatest artists of all time were INSPIRED to create. It was about self-expression.
Even today when you read great work that stays with you, you’re reading inspired writing and not overly processed and contrived writing.
Nowadays everyone seems to want a program to perfectly organize their writing, all the scribbler’s tools money can buy and bulletproof, no-way-to-fail, outlines.
Honestly, you don’t need all that stuff. If you’ve got inspiration and a pen and paper, you’ve got more than even the richest person in the world could buy.
Think about it. Jane Austen wrote on a small round table, using woven paper and a quill pen. It was inspiration, her imagination and truly caring about her words that made her writing magical.
If we want to make our writing awesome, we’ve got to get back to the basics, and that means getting back to where it starts. We need to get back to caring about what we are creating.
We need to get back to giving into inspiration, whether or not it brings fame and riches.
Allow yourself to create what you’re inspired to create simply because you’re compelled to.
What is something you’ve written or created because you could not not create it? In other words, you were so compelled that making money from it or what others would think about it didn’t matter.
Share with us in the comments.
If you would like help with how to find real inspiration or how to create it for yourself, read my new book Inspired Writer. You can get your copy here.