The complications that this brings to my writing are immense. If you are fueled by a passion for the written word and laugh in the face of “free time” because, let’s be honest, who really has that—maybe you can relate to this.
The issues writers overcome to “fit in” their writing fly in the face of what most sane people would agree take on. Why work forty hours a week and then spend an extra one or two (or more) hours at home on your computer every night? Alas, that is the blessing and the curse of a writer. Can I get an amen?
I’d like to tackle the idea of writing when certain things aren’t present. Put down your guard for a moment and admit that it’s hard to write when inspiration hasn’t struck. What do you do when your plot isn’t adding up or you mood is more focused on doing nothing in front of the television than finishing up your latest scene? I have some suggestions that have helped my own writing as well as others that I’ve talked with, and I’d like to share those with you today.
Ah, the archenemy of writers and creative types all over the world. Lack of inspiration. What do you do when the proverbial “well” has run dry? There have been several things I’ve attempted over the years when I am uninspired:
1) Spend time with the One who is inspiring. God is the creator of creativity. When I am out in nature I cannot help but be inspired!
2) Check out those who are inspired. This could be your friends—listen to their ideas, their triumphs, maybe even their failures. Or, this could be your favorite authors—read a book by your favorite author and become inspired.
3) Change it up! Do a bit of research, spend time cleaning the house, take a walk, take a nap—just do something different for a while.
4) Take advice from Nike and “Just do it”. I know, I know—I hear all the groaning, but sometimes we have to blunder our way through an uninspired time in order to get the flow of inspiration going again.
Plot and Story Elements
Maybe you’ve got inspiration but you just don’t know how everything is going to work out? I predominately write suspense/thriller and that all hinges on getting the facts straight and connecting them properly. I’m a pantser (not really a hard-outlined plotter) so I will usually blow into my novel and then have to stop about half way through to make sure it’s all fitting.
You may need to catch your breath, but if you wait too long, you can get bogged down with the details. Don’t let little elements stop you. You can catch inconsistences on a read through. As you write, make a list for things to “look out for” so on your first and subsequent edits you can watch for them. You can also highlight things you need to research later so there is nothing holding you back. Momentum is everything.
Mood and Emotions
This one is a tough one for me and very closely linked to inspiration. If I’m not feeling inspired, chances are my mood is affected or my emotions are off. I know that I wont make my deadlines (whether self chosen or otherwise) if I don’t force myself to keep going despite my mood.
There are times however, where rest is key. If your mood is down or you are significantly overwhelmed and emotional, it could be a sign that you have been overworking yourself. I am a supporter of pushing ahead, but if taking one night off will give you the rest you need, take it! But—make sure that rest is not just a mind-numbing television show or different work that won’t allow you to truly recuperate. We find our true rest in Christ. When you take a break, use it for this purpose.
Writing is a difficult business and a delicate balance. It is both a creative venture as much as it is an intellectual one. Be assured—you have a desire to write because it is God given! Life may not always allow for the perfect settings, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be productive. Take time to seek inspiration, to push thorough in dry times, and to rest when needed. Happy writing!
Emilie is a small town girl who moved to the big city. Now living in Los Angeles, she is a writer, photographer/owner at E.A. Creative Photography, and a musician. She is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers organization and loves to read and write Christian fiction in addition to writing her blog, Thinking Thoughts. She believes in doing all things for God’s glory (1 Cor. 10:31) and her passion for Christ fuels everything she does. She also likes spending time with the girls from the high school youth group she volunteers with and, in her free time, you can find her curled up with a book and a cup of coffee.
Emilie’s writing blog: www.eahendryx.blogspot.com
Emilie’s twitter: @eacreativephoto
Emilie’s instagram: @eahendryx