I know a writer who wakes up every morning with a sense of expectancy. She can’t wait to make it to the keyboard so she can delve back into the current novel of her heart. Writing is always a delight.
I wish I was more like her.
Yes, there are times when I cover a scrap of paper with sentences that must be written. I have been known to hurry to the computer before inspiration vanishes. And there’s nothing quite like the satisfaction of a scene perfected. These are the kind of experiences that keep me writing. And yet—dare I say it?
Sometimes writing can be drudgery.
It helps to figure out why. Here are some of the reasons writing drudgery becomes a problem and ways to revive your joy in writing.
- I can be stuck in the story, having painted myself in a proverbial corner. Since I don’t know what to write, staring at that legendary blank screen can stretch on and on. Having a plot helps me avoid this difficulty most of the time, but when my story surprises me by veering away from my carefully-laid plans, it still can happen. At such times, I give up and give in. Walking away from the computer to engage in a mindless activity usually has me rushing back to the keyboard to pick up the story thread again.
- Or maybe I have a deadline to meet, and the pressure is killing my creativity. In this case, I know what I need to write, but there seems to be a hiccough in the process, causing my writing to flow a lot like molasses. In cases like this, I take quick breaks to do productive things like walk around the house and stare sightlessly out a window. Short periods of intense thought coupled with physical movement often propel me back into the story.
- Sometimes I expect more from myself than I can realistically give, so I set my production goals too high, then let the rest of life pile up while I try to appease them. When I’m working too hard, it helps me to back away, take a deep breath, and give myself a reality check. Evaluating what I actually accomplish against what I thought I would accomplish helps me gain a sense of what I am capable of. Peace lies in accepting the truth. Sure, I can try to push myself in healthy ways, but hyper-focusing on production means I’m leaving some valuable parts of my life unattended.
- In times past, my attempts to write what others expect has bogged me down. I’ve completed entire projects only to find they lack a creative spark to bring them to life. No matter how hard I try, I can’t create someone else’s vision for them. Now I don’t even try to write what others expect, although there’s a balance when you’re writing to be read by a specific market. I’ve learned to choose markets compatible with my writing style so that writing for them will be a joy not a burden.
- I’ll confess. I have not always found going through edits a delight. When an editor with finesse calls for you to stretch as a writer, the experience can be intimidating, humbling, and painful. At such times, I vent to someone safe but then dig in and make the changes. A nice side benefit is that as a result, I grow as a writer. Sometimes the only way out is through.
Like any relationship, the one you have with your writing can become dull. That’s when it helps to remember your first love. Give yourself time just to daydream with the same zeal you did as a child, pick up a book by an author who inspires you, or take a long walk in your own company. Soon your love of story will assert itself again.
Need a good book to read?
DawnSinger, Tales of Faeraven #1 by Janalyn Voigt
A headstrong young princess and the guardian sworn to protect her fly on winged horses to the Gate of Life above the Well of Light in a desperate bid to release the DawnKing, and the salvation he offers, into a divided land. Will they each learn in time that sometimes victory comes only through surrender?
Purchase DawnSinger today!
©2013 by Janalyn Voigt
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