Writer, Need Inspiration? Here Are Three Ways To Get It

If you’ve been writing for a while, you’ve been there – the dark forest of writing.

There are no words here, no progress, only suffocating doubt and self-loathing. Every writer has experienced this before and just when we think this feeling will never surface it’s ugly face again, there it is.

Getting stuck is easy.

Stopping halfway through a book is normal.

But how do you get unstuck?

Are there elements that a writer can incorporate into their life so that these valleys are few and not as dark and deep?

coffee cup

Yes. Here are three ways to get inspired again. These will also reinforce the writer that is on the mountaintop of inspiration.

FIND A SCENIUS

Austin Kleon is a connector. He repackages ideas and makes them accessible. One of his ideas is described in his book Show Your Work!. It is the idea of Scenius

He claims that the lone genius myth is just that, falsehood. Writers, artists, and anyone that has achieved any level of success did that inside a community that fostered the pursuit.

Find a group of people that love writing and hang out with them. Online, in a bookstore, or come to the Jot Conference.

IF IT’S NOT WORKING DO DIFFERENTLY

Ever stop to examine your process? Ever come to the same worn out and unproductive conclusions after writing in the same place, with the same utensils, at the same time? Sounds like it’s time for you to make a change. 

Get up early or stay up late. Go for a walk and sit on a mossy log and write using physical instruments – paper and pen.

I was in the dark depths of writing for a while, then I began rising early and suddenly, even though I knew I was done as a writer, the passion for words flooded back. 

Often we need a break from monotony. A newness, a freshness to reinvigorate us on the writing road. Doing differently is a shock to the creative system.

CREATE MARGIN

We’re all busy. It’s the response to the question – how are you doing? Busy we say. Everyone has too much to do. Too many obligations. Too many service projects. Too many organizations to which we are committed. There is little time for joy, thrill, and novelty. Our weeks are planned out and we are sleeping five hours a night.

Most of the activities listed above are not bad things – save maybe the five hours of sleep a night – but we all need space. Our bodies need down time to rest and our brains and creativity wells need the same.

During a difficult season at my job where satisfaction was at an all time low I decided to incorporate a walk into my lunch. I grabbed a pen and notebook and began walking in the woods. I’d sit down on a bench, stare into the dark green forest or bare trees and snow covered earth and let the ideas come. I’d write them down if I thought they were worth keeping and sharing.

Don’t believe a walk is beneficial? C.S. Lewis loved walks. As did T.S. Eliot. It’s the white space where our brains rest and ideas can surface.

Today, if you need a little writing pick me up, I challenge you to find your own Scenius, do differently, or create some margin by saying no to one obligation this week.

Do you have tips for getting inspired? Share below.

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Inspiration 1000 Years in the Making

Stone Knife
Stone Knife

Stephen King takes walks.
CS Lewis took walks.

Walking holds a special place for writers. Perhaps it’s searching for something other than normal or maybe it’s the fresh air that comes with it. But the fact remains that walking or the experiences that happen during a walk, has enchanted for centuries.

A few months ago I went for a walk and found inspiration.

It was cold at first, the wind attacking from the southeast bringing a biting chill that my clothes hardly withstood. I was in a field walking with my dad and brother in between furrows of newly tilled earth. We trained our eyes on the ground and said little. You see, I come from a family of hunters. But that day we were not looking for game. We were searching for history.

“Here are some examples”, my brother said holding up a case of ancient Native American artifacts. There were sacred rocks and arrowheads, stone knifes, and a gamut of other tools. I stared at them excited to get my hands dirty and see what we might find. I knew that we might not find anything at all, but I love the idea of pulling something from the earth that has been there for centuries.

We plodded along for a half hour while bending over to inspect any stone that resembled an arrowhead or tool.

I bent down and pulled a rock from the soil and noticed something. It appeared to have a serrated edge. I brought it to my brother. “That’s a knife probably used for taking the scales off of fish,” he confirmed.

My mind went wild. I swam in and played hockey on the pond nearby.
It was incredible to think Native Americans once fished there.

By the end of the search I held and arrowhead and a knife and a newfound love for wandering in fields. Oh, and a whole bunch of new short stories.

I hope that whatever you do today, be it the same old thing or something new, that you find inspiration to get back to the page.

Stone Arrowhead
My Findings

Cheers,

Bob