You stare at your computer screen, willing yourself to open the manuscript you’ve been working on, or start that new story/novel/whatever. Instead, you surf the net, check your email, tweet, Pin some inneresting stuff onto Pinterest, read Facebook updates and then update how you need to get back to writing—hahaha—but—hahaha—you’re just so distracted—hahaha—and well it’s soooo haaarrrd being a writer–hahaha, eat last night’s leftovers and the Hubig’s pie that’s still half-frozen (don’t judge me, ungh!), call out in a strong and determined holler, “What? What? Did you call me? Here I am! I thought sure I heard you say to come here. No? Well I heard something. Huhn. Isn’t that funny? Well, since I’m already here, I guess I’ll just scrub out the sink, la la la tee dah scrub scrub la la scrub la la la. I just looooove a clean sink; don’t you?”
Sometimes you may feel as if you want to ditch the entire manuscript, stomp off, and never open up that word document again. You may think, “I am B O R E D, b-o-r-e-d, bored.”
Welp, my good friends, let’s first consider that “boredom” may not be the real problem. ‘Kay? Imagine my benevolent head hovering over your shoulder, smiling encouragement and . . . okay, that’s kind of disturbing an image, so, um . . . anyway . . .
If you lose motivation to keep writing on a project (or finishing any project—like renewing your driver’s license because you keep failing the online test because you can’t remember all that crap and what’s a point anyway? Ungh.), maybe you do need a break—so yeah, go clean out the sink, watch brain-emptying television, read a book (which you should be doing anyway *giving you The Eye*), do some research, take a long walk somewhere quiet and restive, take a shower (unfortunately, no one’s yet, that I know of, invented waterproof pen and paper to take notes of the BRILLIANT ideas that come while you are washing your hair . . . lawd), et cetera. You can also try working on something else for a while, then go back to your original project. I find, as well, that starting at the beginning of my novel/novella/short story/essay and reading it from Word One spurs off more ideas, thoughts, and brings renewed energy to the project—it reminds me of why I wanted to write it in the first place, what brought me to these characters, setting, and situation. I fall in love all over again—oh siigghhhhh *little cute hearts abound*
If you are still unmotivated, maybe it’s time to consider why? If you are truly bored by your work and are not excited about working on it despite all my kick-arse ideas (hey! Who said that? They are, too!), will your readers feel that boredom as well? Hmmm? Think about it—if we are bored and uninspired by our work, how much more so will our readers feel this way? Believe me, it shows in our work. Our attitudes about character, place, scene, setting, tone, et cetera, will manifest into our Product. We should be the first champions, the first lovers of, the first excited readers of our work. Does this mean we’re always WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP *happy dance la la la laaaa!* about our work—naw, but you and I know when all the air’s been let loose from the balloon and what’s left is a sad limp wrinkled rubbery thang.
Perhaps you are stuck on a scene or chapter—then move on to the next one. Perhaps a character isn’t ringing true—ask yourself why; are you forcing your will onto the character instead of letting them be who they are? Do you have some “agenda” for that character that is your agenda and not what the character would ever care about? Be careful when you try to “get a message across” to your readers, for it can set you up for wooden prose and wooden characters.
Bluebird of happiness won't crap on your shoulder!
Perhaps you are simply discombobulated (oh how I love that word! Let’s say it together: dis-com-bob-u-lated—teehehee) or tired—go take a nap, sleep a good night’s sleep (don’t underestimate the importance of sleep—sometimes things Come To Me after a good night’s rest; a solution, where I go HEY! Whoop! Bingo!). Maybe you are stressed about that “$*%&$*% (that’s a curse word—oh, you knew that, well ex-scuuuuuse me) editor/taskmaster on your shoulder, so lower the stakes a little—don’t let yourself become so worried about where the book is going after you complete it (read that again—don’t let yourself become so worried about where the book is going after you complete it) and instead again find the joy of writing and creating—be In The Moment *cue new age music here.*
Maybe you need to hit the good ole delete key and be rid of some dead-weighted text. Oh, the delete key can be our friend—no really! I’ve grown to rather like that ole delete key. Look at it—give it a pet, stroke the key and say, “the pweshush, oh the pweshush.” I’ve deleted entire chapters, thousands of words, and after that, felt a renewed energy for the work. Keeping what doesn’t work, what bores us or stalls us will do us no good. There are always more words—trust yourself and the process. You can always save the deleted words in case you decide you want them after all—but guess what? Most times you won’t miss them. Really! You doubt me? *trap door opens, you fall into dungeon*
metaphor for bright shiny thoughts
It’s okay to be stuck with your work at times. It’s okay to feel frustrated. It’s okay to put it away and work on something else for a bit. It’s okay to hate being a writer sometimes. It’s okay to stomp your feet and raise a fist to the sky and ask, “WHY DO I DO THIS? WHY WHY WHY OH WHYYYYYYYYYY DO I TORTURE MYSELF IN THIS WAY? I SUCK; MY WORK SUCKS; BEING A WRITER SUCKS! SANCTUARY SANCTUARY!” Yes, it’s perfectly normal and fine to feel that way, as long as you don’t let it overtake you, consume you, have you arrested for climbing atop some building and rending your garments. As long as you scream and stomp and angst and feel depressed and feel defeated and feel horrid and yucky and icky and poodly doo doo pee-pee-poo-poo doody head, and Then You Go Back To The Work.
Now, go stomp up a hissy fit and then take a deep breath and fall in love with your characters and their stories all over again.
Oh! and here is the book-cover for my new novel Family Graces (which, by the way, gave me ten kinds of unholy hell, but I finally found what I was looking for–don’t give up on what you know is viable work). This is the last book in the Graces (Virginia Kate) Saga Trilogy. It will be released in spring. And you know, I’m grieving in a way–I know that sounds crazy, but I’m going to miss writing about Virginia Kate and all the others. She, and they, have been with me for years. Tender Graces was my very first ever novel to write! *sad face* So, at last, the Graces Trilogy complete:
Now Go Do The Day! And tell me, how do you inspire yourself to go back to work?