All artists depend on inspiration of some kind. Without inspiration, the general flow of ideas and creativity comes to a screeching halt. Sometimes, you have to power through the “block” and demand that inspiration come because it’s time for you to write NOW. However, that doesn’t always work for me. Perhaps I’m a snowflake, but it’s very hard for me to power through that initial blockage when I don’t really have a driving force behind what I’m creating. In those moments, I try not to become flustered with myself, because that only hinders me more and keeps me from focusing on the main thing.
That being said, what do you do when inspiration just won’t come? Here are some things to do instead of write, while also easing your conscience of the fact that you’re procrastinating.
- Listen to lectures on writing.
This can kill a good hour and a half, depending on the type of lecture you choose. I love to listen to classic authors being interviewed or answering questions in an open forum. On especially bad days, I listen to college graduation commencement speeches made by “the greats”. These will kick you in the pants quicker than anything! I can usually glean a good bit of information this way, while also sinking into a shallow pit of irrelevancy when I hear of all that these authors have gone through to get to the top. I can usually find these on Youtube, though sometimes I read transcripts on various blogs and websites.
Pretty self-explanatory. Everyone knows that the greatest way to make a good writer is to read everything you can get your hands on. A lot of times, this looks like branching out into other genres of reading that you wouldn’t normally find an interest in, or checking out an author you have never heard of before. I found some of my favorite books this way, and enjoyed the reprieve from the usual.
3. Write something else.
Sometimes, I like to sit with a notebook, find an empty page, and write down everything on my mind. The words come out in a prayer, a rant, or just a catch-all for my thoughts. It does not have to be legible. It does not have to make sense. As long as I empty my head of the 728 things rolling around in there, that’s all that matters. Once all of it is written down and I run out of steam, I find that I can return to writing and focus much better. An added bonus: you will be less likely to vent to your mom or unsuspecting friend if you feel like the page has already heard you (speaking from personal experience).
Other times, I find another project and begin to work on it. Whether it be a short story, another novel, or just a social media post. Diverting my mind from the current story gives me the opportunity to come back later with fresh eyes and a better perspective, while still accomplishing something!
4. Take a walk.
A quick run, a friendly stroll, meeting with a friend for a quick lunch, going to the lake for some quiet time. Whatever your “walk” is, don’t feel bad for taking one! Whatever clears your head and refreshes your mind, don’t make yourself feel guilty for that breather. Oftentimes, it’s when our mind is off of writing that we come up with the best ideas. As Winnie the Pooh says, “Doing nothing often leads to to the very best kind of something.” Don’t forget to live your life outside of writing! Make some new friends, pick up a new hobby, or take a walk in nature. It’s a beautiful day outside if you’ll just tear yourself away from your laptop long enough to look!
Don’t take yourself too seriously. Writing is not easy, otherwise everyone would do it and be successful. Even if you have to delete every word you wrote today, don’t be afraid to write anyway. Have some fun with it, write something risky that you may have to trash later. Don’t be boring with it!
I believe in you! Leave a comment below with your crazy idea, and let’s talk about it! Let’s work on building our writing community and exchanging ideas!