When it comes to writing I tend to be a lot like a child. In fact, when it comes to life I tend to be a lot like a child too, but more so when it comes to writing. If I am suffering from a lack of inspiration, having a bad typing day, or can’t find the word I need to express what I am trying to say… I throw a hissy fit.
My frustration with writing when I ‘just don’t feel like it‘ is the equivalent of trying to get a two-year old to sit still when they want to play, impossible.
We are constantly told as writers that the best way to improve our writing, break through writers block, and produce good work is to write, write, and write some more… but what if you really don’t feel like writing??
Should you force yourself to write on those days when you just don’t feel like it? Should your writing be treated like your employment? e.g. even though you don’t feel like going to work, you still get up, get dressed, and go there anyway If you do treat your writing like your job, and force yourself to write, are you really going to accomplish anything anyway? How do you decide if you should force your writing, and is it really worth the stress?
How you are going to treat your writing is a decision that only you can make personally. What works for one writer, may not work for another, only you know what you do, and do not, like when it comes to your writing. For example; a friend of mine is an excellent writer, I am often in awe of the amazing work she can produce. I once asked her how she gets in her ‘writing zone‘ to which she replied ‘Music.’ My friend plays music as she writes, it inspires her and gets her creative juices flowing. Now, for me this doesn’t work at all, I require silence when I write, no music, no T.V., and especially no talking! I tend to get very moody when people try to talk to me while I write, my friends and family can attest to this, I’m sure. It is in this silence that I produce some of my best pieces, and where me and my friend differ most…
The same rule applies when you are trying to decide when you should, and should not, write. Although the advice ‘the more you write the more you will be inspired‘ is solid advice for any writer, it may not work for some people or some situations.
When I am not in the mood to write there is nothing that anyone can do or say to change that, there is no magical song, story, or place that will get my mind in the mode. I can not force myself to produce writing because it simply causes me more frustration then I am feeling in the first place. And so when I come across one of these moods I will often make an attempt to write, but the moment I feel the frustration I stop, and pick up again at a time when I am feeling more settled. If I tried to force my writing I would simply get upset, I would pick apart anything that I produced, and I would become unhappy with myself, my writing, and my life in general… as I said I am a bit like a child when it comes to writing.
If you find that writing is frustrating you but you still ‘want ‘ to write, or ‘have‘ to write there are a few tips that may help to calm your mind and get you in to writing mode;
- Read what others have written – When you are feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with writing it can often help to have a peak at what others have been writing. Doing this may help to spark your creativity, or give you another outlook on the topic you are writing about yourself. I have generated a number of ideas simply by reading other people’s blogs, just be careful not to steal ideas, and be sure to give credit where it is due.
- Have some fun – On days when I am being a little to serious about my writing I sometimes take time to write something that is a little less significant. Take a few minutes to pound out a children’s poem, a funny story, or a humorous blog post. Have fun with your writing and laugh at yourself a little bit. It will help you relax and may inspire some lighter ideas for later.
- Take a break – You may ‘want‘ to write, you may ‘have‘ to write, but sometimes no matter what you do, you are just not going to be able to write. When you find that everything your writing is frustrating you, or you are over editing, simply stop writing and take a break. Have a coffee, or take a walk and come back to the piece later, by then you will hopefully have calmed down and will be able to look at your writing from a fresh point of view.
- Talk about it – You may be able to generate ideas, or expand the one you already have by talking to other writers. Try joining a writing group in your area, or online, or just call up your closest friend and vent your frustration. Some of the best advice can come from someone with no experience in writing, they may be able to provide a different view that you never even considered. As with any problem we face in life, talking about it often helps to defuse the issue and come to a resolution.
- Never give up – Choose to walk away from a piece of writing that is causing you stress does not mean you have to give up on it, or writing in general. Every writer has a piece of writing, or an idea that is sitting on the back burner just waiting to be released. Come back to the piece from time to time and have another shot at it, you may find that over time you have generated bits and pieces that can be fit together to make a whole and the piece is completed almost magically. No matter what you choose to do never give up on a good idea, take a break and come back when the time is right.
It is your choice personally how you approach writing, but it is important to remember that you started writing because you enjoyed doing it. If something is frustrating you, making you angry, or causing you to get upset it is sometimes best to step away from the situation until you can view it from another angle. Most importantly, have fun with your writing, your readers will sense your frustration, and you will drive yourself crazy trying to achieve perfection, of you are not having fun find something else to entertain you for the moment and come back to your piece when the passion returns, and it will don’t worry. As with anything in life, even writing can sometimes become routine, and even your mind can get bored, be sure to provide yourself with challenges as well as rewards to keep your mind, and your soul, happy.
Until next time….
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