As with any creative endeavor, it’s normal for a writer to hit a wall in the writing process when inspiration and creativity seem far out of reach. Whether it’s a blog post or a novel, inspiration fuels the process, and sometimes your dastardly muse plays hard to get.
When you hit a creative block, sometimes it’s best to put the work away and focus on another aspect of your life instead. Read a book, tackle a work or school assignment, or spend time with a loved one. When the creative juices run low, it is okay to put your creative endeavor to the side while you regroup.
However, other times require you to fight back. Rather than put the work aside and take a step back, chase after that muse and seek out your inspiration.
While participating in NaNoWriMo, I wanted to write every day in order to keep up with a consistent word count. After a few days of regular inspiration, I quickly hit a point when the ideas stopped flowing. I stared at the screen, I stared at my outline, I stared out a window—surprisingly, none of it helped. In those moments, the temptation to shut my laptop and try again the next day grew strong.
If I gave into that temptation, I would have doubled the word count I needed the following day, and it would inevitably lead to a slippery slope scenario as the word count piled up and up and the inspiration slipped further and further away. Instead, I fought to reclaim it.
When I hit a writing block, sometimes the best cure is not to step away and return later—it’s to sit myself down and work through the block. Every time I hit one of those blocks during NaNoWriMo, I tried to do exactly that. I racked my brain for possible scenarios for my characters, and if I couldn’t find inspiration for a current scene, I moved onto a later one and then doubled back. It usually involved a lot more staring at my screen and a lot less writing than other days, but it always did the trick of breaking through that block to make the next day easier.
If you are a writer or another form of creator—or even a college student faced with final papers—I advise you to think about this next time you hit a creative block. Decide whether your creative juices have run low, or if it’s really fear and stress holding you back. The former requires time to recuperate, but you can fight against the latter. Push yourself to keep going, and you will be surprised how much you can accomplish. Sometimes you can’t wait for inspiration to come to you—you must seek it out.
And if you are a blogger with no inspiration for a blog post, write a post about finding inspiration. It might just do the trick.
What are your thoughts? Do you have different methods for reclaiming inspiration?
I write YA fantasy and contemporary fiction. This blog is dedicated to thoughts and advice on writing and publishing, as well as various interests related to the world of Young Adult.