You know who you are – the writer that plans on writing, and then just… doesn’t. Maybe you have a family and household obligations. Or maybe you just can’t expel any more brainpower after powering through season two of Outer Banks. Whatever the reason, you still need (and want) to write, even though actually doing so is a hard sell. Burnout may be to blame if you’ve been working too hard for too long (been there). Whatever the cause for your inability to sit still and words-putting-into-sentence-doing like Lorelai Gilmore before coffee, you gotta get past it. Here are some unorthodox ways to get new ideas flowing again. After reading this list, my hope is that maybe you’ll have a new routine you can depend on. Or, at the very least – a new lease on life and a better focus on the things that bring you joy.
1. Get un-stuck.
The first, and arguably, most important step of this process is finding out what it is about your process that needs a refresher. Tired of staring at the same old walls? Get up and go somewhere new. Bored of the subject matter? Maybe it’s time to work on something else, or scratch your creative itch by skipping ahead to a more exciting scene. Human brains are funny in the sense that they can get stuck doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. But that’s literally the definition of insanity. So stop pulling your hair out and switch up your whole experience.
2. Bust the write moves.
Some authors swear by getting up and moving their body to escape writer’s block. This could be enriched by curating a special playlist for just that purpose. That way when you hear it, your brain knows it’s time to get down to business (to defeat… the Huns… come on, I know you sang it under your breath). But all kidding aside, adrenaline is a great way to get your brain working. A quick jog in the fresh air, or maybe a cathartic cardio routine might be just the ticket to getting those gears chugging along again. Plus, it’s really good for you!
3. Make the moments matter.
Waiting in line at the grocery store? Write that idea into your notes for later. Stuck in rush-hour traffic? Voice memo your latest daydream into your smartphone so you can expand on it. See? It’s not so much about sitting down for hours on end – it’s much more important to gather up all the little moments throughout the day. Before you know it, you’ll look back at your busy week and realize you actually did accomplish a fair bit of writing too. Who knew?
4. Talk your ideas out.
You’d be surprised how helpful it is sharing your ideas with friends and loved ones. Depending on the person, of course – but usually, you’ll find yourself pumped up to go write after spilling all the details. And if you’re at a loss for plot twists, I’d wager they might just come up with the thing that bumps your book over the edge! They don’t have to be a writer to still have amazing ideas – in fact, the casual reader is probably the best source for new content. So grab a coffee and a friend and start plotting (your story – not revenge. Unless that’s your jam; I don’t judge). To find more writer friends, read this latest article HERE.
5. Track your motivation patterns.
This one is a biggie – if you find yourself most pumped to write late at night, start shifting your days to accommodate that. Same goes for the morning – if you’re an early bird, why not grab your laptop instead of mindlessly watching the news? The trick is knowing yourself and when you’re most in the zone. And once you do that, honor your motivation when you have it, and don’t force yourself when you don’t. If you force it too much, writing will feel like a chore. Then you’ll hate it, your story will suffer, and your readers won’t connect with your work. See? It’s much more important to put out words that matter to you, even if those all-important words take a little longer to crank out. If I really wanted to, I could write a really crappy novel in a month. But that’s the thing – I know it would be crappy. So learn your own mental habits and then use them to their fullest potential. But if you’re still feeling stuck, read this recent article HERE.