Turning Corners: Motivating Yourself Through Tough Writing Times

Silly Doodle by Me

Silly Doodle by Me

I’ll admit it. I was lower than a worm’s belly on Friday. So I focused on gaining my creativity back over the weekend and found a little momentum, not a tremendous flood, but a trickle. In the next few days, that trickle may turn into a stream. (fingers crossed)

For those who’ve ever been in the grips of writerly doubt/despair, here’s how to shake it, at least temporarily:

1. Take a few days off. As I said above, I took a mini-vacation from my next “serious” project. While I did check Amazon, it was only once on Sunday morning, and with a detached attitude. You don’t have to leave home for this, you just have to leave your problems for the time being.

2. Work on something completely hair-brained. For me, this was a near-wordless picture book I thought of some time ago. Saturday morning, I began laying the story out in pictures and even attempted a few sketches in Photoshop. Later that afternoon, I bought an art book (books always cheer me up!), and let it inspire me for the children’s project. Yes, I was still technically writing, but I worked on something so completely “free of expectation” that the creativity began to flow again. I’m sure you’ve got a “special project” that you haven’t had the guts or the time to pursue. Begin it and let your thoughts run loose. You may end up with a publishable work, or you may end up with dreck. But let me be clear: this isn’t about the end result.

3. Let other works of art inspire you. I visited a few art museums this weekend and took in some stunning examples of visual creativity. Always helps to see what other artists are up to, and gives me new perspective. Then, I saw “A Christmas Carol” at our local theater. (hey, I had a busy weekend) It was rather sobering to read about Charles Dickens and the ups and downs he had over the years. Whenever his career began to flag, he would do a bunch of readings of his work to increase its popularity. This reminded me that no one is immune to the fickle whims of the market, even Charles Dickens.

By letting go this weekend, I ended up miraculously gaining a few things: one was a review request of a project I published under a pen name and the other was this awesome five star review of my middle grade book, Doom & Gloom. (Thanks, Annie!) Who knows? If I keep the reins slack on my career, what else will I gain?

I’ll end with this wise quote from Lao Tzu: “By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try, the world is beyond the winning.”

Don’t I know it.

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Your turn. Have any particularly uplifting quotes to share? Want to talk about losing/finding your creative flow? I’d love to chat!

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