I find writing to be a joyous experience. I love telling stories, living in different worlds and seeing them through my characters’ eyes, feeling what they feel, good and bad. It’s just about the best thing ever. However, there is another side to being a writer – it’s not all lattes and sitting in coffee shops for hours thinking. As writers, we have to deal with writers block, negative reviews, rejection, poor pay, long hours, a WIP that isn’t going where you want it to go, plus the endless slog of self-promotion, and there are times when it all seems too hard. I’ve run up against a couple of challenges myself this week so, on my walk this morning, I made myself a list, tentatively titled: How To Lift Yourself Out of A Writing Slump.
- Go for a walk. Get some fresh air and a change of scenery. I often figure out plot points, get inspiration or simply work through frustration while on a walk. Plus it’s good exercise, especially if you’ve been sitting for a while.
- Talk to someone. A blogging friend, a fellow writer, your mum. Writing is a solitary profession, but you don’t have to be.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff. Because most of it is small stuff. Weird tweets, negative ratings, rejection – it hurts, but it doesn’t last forever. Nobody died. In the end, I know I’m extremely fortunate to be writing stories.
- However, don’t discount it either. A lot of small stuff can build up into big stuff, so acknowledge that you’re feeling bad for whatever reason, then process it. Choose to make change and move on.
- Think before you speak or act. Someone annoyed you on social media? Left a bad review? Given you your 163rd rejection? Count to ten and let it go. Don’t make a bad situation worse.
- Write about it. If you’re suffering from writers block this may seem an impossible task. However, sit down, set a timer and just write. Write about how you feel, what you had for lunch, what you can see out the window. Setting things down on paper is a release, and can get you on the right path again.
- Take a break. Writing is work, and it’s hard work. So step away from it completely. Have something to eat. Watch an hour of TV. Go out. Disengage. Then come back to your work with fresh eyes.
Of course, sometimes life throws things at us that are too large to dodge simply by going for a walk. That’s different. However, if you’re just feeling a little bit low about this whole writing thing, maybe give one of my suggestions a try.
Happy Friday, everyone!