Chefs cook. Teachers teach. Councillors’ council and writers, well they write. So why have I not been writing? (Blinks, Blinks again..)
Writing is not easy. It requires dedication, determination, and drive – three things that have been missing from my life as a blogger for the past two months. No wonder, I haven’t written a single article for my blog that I can be proud of.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a newbie writer/blogger. In fact, if you’ve read a little About Me, you know that I have been a Professional Freelance Writer for over a decade now with a decent body of work to my credit. Yet, there have been times (like these past couple of months) that I have been rather stingy with the written word; spending valuable time second-guessing my craft and berating myself for not being able to write! After all, aren’t writers and bloggers supposed to err… well, write?
Writing inspiration is a wonderful thing. When it makes its sunny appearance in my day, it works magic. Words begin to flow effortlessly, and the only thing I find myself concerned about is whether or not my fingers can move fast enough across the keyboard to keep up with my inspired out pour.
However, as much as I would love to hold on to this sunshine and bask in its warmth every single day, the dark clouds of writer’s block inevitably make their way when I least expect them. During these dark and murky uninspired days, getting a single word up there on the screen becomes tortuous. I know I have hit a roadblock. I begin to give up, slow down and eventually succumb to this unhappy state.
It’s painful. It’s frustrating and it’s one of the most energy sapping experiences a writer can undergo. (Sob, sob…) Fed up of feeling unproductive and invaluable, last week, I began to ponder over my continuing struggle to fill the blank screen with glistening words, something I ordinarily love to do.
Getting Back My Writing Mojo
As I sat with my analytical glasses on, I began to review the last sixty days that had flown by rather quickly with nothing to show for my writing prowess. It wasn’t like I didn’t want to write. Really, I did, and I also knew the importance of writing consistently for a writer. Still, there was something holding me back. I lacked the motivation or the inspiration to talk about something, anything on my blog. The words simply refused to flow as I stared at the blinking cursor that was steadily adding fuel to the guilty fires already blazing inside of me.
As I sipped my green tea and looked through my work sheet, it suddenly dawned on me, like a lightning strike – the realization that all this while, I was foolishly waiting for writing inspiration to find me rather than making any sincere efforts to go after it myself. What seemed obvious to me now somehow eluded my senses during those uneventful eight weeks. Better late than never, right?
~ Every writer I know has trouble writing. ~ Joseph Heller
Clearly, it was time to ditch the waiting game and once again, find my writing mojo. I needed to figure out how to become more receptive to writing inspiration so I could create amazing content regularly. As I sat and introspected, I soon realized that awesome ideas don’t come easy. Yet, isn’t that what makes the ideation process so much more challenging and fun?
Sometimes the simplest and most mundane ideas have the potential to spark an enviable flow of thoughts and inspired words. All that is truly needed is a burning desire to write, and the readiness to be more receptive to writing inspiration, however silly or insignificant they may seem.
If you’re wondering how to get back your writing mojo, try becoming more receptive to writing inspiration.
Here are my top tried-and-tested techniques to get you started –
1. Indulge in Regular Self-Care
A well rested and active mind is more receptive to writing inspiration than a tired and overworked one. When you take care of yourself, you automatically open your mind to writing inspiration. I’ve seen my writing productivity slump when I’m exhausted, burnt-out, disgruntled or sleep deprived. During such times, my focus wavers and my mind refuses to work.
Clearly, these are warning signs shouting out ‘you need a break’. Ignore these signs, and I’m essentially pushing myself into a continuous cycle of low productivity, dissatisfaction and burn-out.
Our body and mind need regular TLC to stay active and to maintain optimum levels of efficiency in everything we do. Writing is no different. Regular rest, rejuvenation and revitalization are essential to maintain a healthy work-life balance. So the next time you feel you’re not able to concentrate on your writing, step back and embrace this down time. You owe it to yourself.
Do whatever you need to do to recharge your batteries. Take a short trip or visit the spa. And if that’s not possible, go for a walk, practice yoga, read a book, dance to your favourite song, or take a power nap – make self care your priority and soon, you’ll notice your mind becoming more receptive to inspiration. Go ahead and get on to writing your next best work!
2. Maintain a handy ‘idea’ Notebook
A writer’s mind is an idea-magnet that works in unexplainable ways. We may spend days at a stretch, in fact, every waking moment of our day thinking about a good topic to write about, only to have a wonderful idea pop in our heads, unannounced, in the middle of the night!
Since writing inspiration can strike at any time, usually when we least expect it, it is best to be prepared.
Get yourself a small handy notebook and call it your ‘IDEA BANK’. Carry it wherever you go so that you can jot down your next winning idea before it escapes your mind.
When you write down your random ideas on a regular basis, you will always have something to work with when you actually sit down to write. It doesn’t have to be something amazing. Anything that gets your creative juices flowing makes a great start.
Don’t feel up to writing? Bring out your smart phone’s voice recorder and speak your mind! Record your random thoughts and ideas as you go about your day and play back your voice recordings whenever you’re ready to weave magic with your words. Easy as that!
3. Break free from Distractions
Getting down to writing is the first step towards creating your next best piece. However, simply sitting in front of your laptop is not enough if your mind is wandering elsewhere.
There are distractions aplenty what with Facebook, Twitter and Skype notifications competing for your attention. And if that wasn’t enough, incoming work emails from current clients and new inquiries, etc., can easily compete for your time and attention, and before you know it, you’ve wasted precious hours of your working day without doing what you sat down to do, that’s writing.
Thankfully, there are some interesting tools available to keep distractions at bay so you can avoid drifting away from the job at hand such as Freedom (blocks internet, social media and apps on Windows & Mac computers, iPhone and iPad), FocusWriter (distraction-free writing program with hide-away interface), FocusBoosterApp (utilises pomodoro technique time tracking), and InboxPause (helps to put emails on hold so that you can see them only when you want to).
Another great way to avoid distractions is to go back to basics with a pen and paper! Find a quiet place and just write.
Once I cut down on distractions, I find it easier to focus all of my attention on writing and feel more inspired to write.
4. Get Organised to Boost your Productivity
Prioritizing is essential to maintain a healthy and productive work-life. There are so many thoughts flowing in and out of our minds that it can easily become overwhelming to stay on top of things.
Clutter in any form, be it in our surroundings or in our mind can disrupt our concentration and block our receptivity to writing inspiration.
Start out by organizing your files, papers and writing desk. A clutter-free writing environment works wonders when you’re trying to get more done. Next, de-clutter your mind by creating a to-do list on paper. When you’ve put down all that you need to accomplish on paper or on your computer, you can clear up your head space and become more receptive to writing inspiration.
Evernote is a productivity App and a valuable tool that helps you to ‘capture what’s on your mind’ and ‘remember everything’ across any device.
5. Keep your Eyes Open & Be Open to New Experiences
There’s a lot of writing inspiration out there if you’re willing to look. Everyday experiences can spark creativity and inspire you to write so make sure to be open to new experiences while you travel, have lunch at your favourite restaurant or watching the sunset from your window.
What’s more, conversations with people around you can also start off a creative thought process that can lead to some inspiring words.
Always stay receptive to inspiration, and don’t be afraid to grab it with both hands.
A writer’s block can bring out the pessimist in us, but only if we give in. I nearly did, but then I reminded myself of how much I love to write, and getting back to writing wasn’t that difficult anymore.
So what’s your excuse for not writing?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on how you attract writing inspiration in your life. Feel free to leave your comments below, and thanks for reading!