So often writers complain about lack of inspiration or writer’s block. It’s not that these aren’t issues for us, but I see a larger problem behind the complaints. The best way to illustrate exactly what I mean would be to chronicle my journey as a writer.
When I first started writing, I waited for that lightning strike of inspiration to begin a post or story. Convinced that writing was a matter of feeling the words, I would go for days or weeks without putting pen to page, and then emotionally vomit out words. The posts were fair and well-received, but in all honesty they weren’t anything earth shattering. Sure, I had my own style—slightly clunky at times—and form. Again nothing any other writer couldn’t do.
This process applied to my novel as well. I would wait days, weeks, or sometimes months before I would block out a scene because I thought the universe needed to send me just the right inspiration to write it properly. I’d used everything from the dishes to laundry to my kids as an excuse as to why I wasn’t open to that divine hammer wallop.
The truth? I’d chosen not to do the work, chosen not to put in the long hours required to write properly or continually.
It’s akin to a toddler throwing a tantrum. “I can’t write, I can’t write, I can’t do it! You’re not gonna make me until I’m good and ready.” Yep, that was me inside my head.
*squeezes temples in shame*
After working with some incredible editors and writing coaches, I began to see the cycle clearly—the choice I’d made time and again to not write. Even now I fall back into that pattern for a little bit before I stop, reset, and refocus.
The work of a writer is not in waiting for inspiration or the right mood, it’s a dedication to putting our rears into the chair and blocking or outlining or actually writing. There’s never a lack of stories or subjects, only a lack of commitment to our craft. That may sound harsh, but more often than not I find that it’s true.
Writing is hard work. To do it well, we must continually hone our craft through reading, taking classes, writing, blocking, or working with people who can help us see through our bad habits. It requires the same devotion as any other profession. In order for us to continue to grow we must make the choice to work hard and work often. That’s the cold, hard, in our face truth.
Having said all of that, I do believe that taking a break from a WIP—consciously putting it aside for several months—can give us a new perspective. Time is good for that, but it doesn’t mean that we walk away from writing altogether. There are still other stories, posts, or craft-based books for us to seek out. Again, we must choose to evolve or find something else that better suits our personalities and passions. But even then, we’ll still need to put in the effort to make that new passion a success.
So, I guess this post is a call to action, a call to my fellow writers to make the choice to write instead of excuses as to why it’s not happening. I know it’s in you, I’ve seen the incredible universes inside your head. Make the choice to live out your passion whether or not you know exactly where it’s going or how to get there. All journeys start somewhere and it’s the steps in-between that make every moment worth it.