No matter if you’ve been writing for years or today is your very first day attempting to write your story, getting started can be… difficult, the say the least. Even endlessly experienced writers face a blank page and an equally blank mind occasionally.
Don’t worry. It’s completely normal.
But sometimes, no matter how many writing prompts you file away for a rainy day, no matter how many stories you have going at one time, no matter how many Pinterest boards of writing prompts you follow, it can still be a struggle to fill a blank page with words.
So today, I’m sharing a few ways you can find the motivation and inspiration you need to get writing, even if you’ve already spent an hour browsing prompts on Pinterest.
Don’t worry, I do it too. 🙂
Engage With Other Stories
This is my most common problem and it’s gotten to the point where I can tell when I need to get my head out of my own stories and deep into somebody else’s.
Whenever this happens, I’ll take an afternoon and binge watch a tv show. I’ll watch a movie with my husband, something familiar that I know I love. I’ll pay attention to the story and play around with it in my head. I’ll binge read a novel or a short story and marvel at the way the author uses words or allusion or description.
I also won’t go anywhere near my current WIP or look at any writing prompts. I use this to simply allow my brain to engage and immerse me in another story, another person’s characters, setting, and plot.
Sometimes, when the blank page just won’t fill, all we need to do is be inspired by another story. So if you’re feeling like nothing you write is quite right, take a break, step away for 24 hours, and go engage with another story.
Engage With People
I find that I get into modes of writing where that is my supreme focus. All my thought energy, all my mental awareness is wrapped up in whatever I’m currently writing. I find it hard to remove myself from whatever story I’m in the middle of.
Oftentimes during these phases, my friends and family end up taking a bit of the back burner.
If I’ve found myself at odds with the blank page and engaging with stories isn’t helping as much as I’d like it to, that’s my cue to get my head out of my story and back in the real world for a time.
I’ll grab a friend for coffee, visit the zoo, Skype friends far away, go outside and take a hike. I’ll take a yoga class, do a round of tennis, anything to get my engaging with friends and talking about things that aren’t writing. I’ll check in with their lives, see what they’ve been up to, what they’re thinking about or feeling or struggling with.
And let’s be honest, I still talk about writing with my friends. But by checking in with my favorite people, I find the time to not only engage with them, but I engage back with myself.
And ultimately that helps me write even better.
Engage With Wellbeing
I think I can speak for most writers when I say that writing is a sedentary lifestyle. We’re normally typing away at our computers or scribbling away in a notebook and while both are amazing for creating rich stories, they’re not so good for our health.
Especially if sitting is the new smoking, then it’s even more important for writers to get moving frequently! None of us want to be the writer who dies before finishing their epic fantasy series.
I often feel as if I need to take advantage of every free moment I have to write or work on something related to writing. This self-pressure is unhealthy in a lot of ways, but a major one is I end up sitting at my desk for the majority of the day and forget to go outside or move.
So if you’re feeling sluggish and like your story isn’t moving anywhere, stand up and stretch. Do ten minutes of yoga. Run up and down your stairs. Turn on your favorite bouncy music and have an impromptu solo dance party. Take a twenty-minute walk around your neighborhood. Stop by a drop-in yoga or spin class.
Just get out of your normal environment and get moving. When you come back to your screen or your notebook, you’ll inevitably feel better.
Just Write Something
Sometimes the biggest thing standing in our way in ourselves.
Sometimes, the thing you really need to do to get the juices flowing again is to just write.
It can be “I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m only writing because Alexis from the Lexicon Writing Blog told me to in that one blog post.”. And that’s ok! Just write what you’re thinking, what your frustrations are, what you have for lunch, how you feel about what you had for lunch, the weird thing your cat did or the funny thing your kid said or the way your partner looked at you when you forgot to pick up chicken for dinner. Write about the little things until your story starts flowing from your fingers again.
It will happen. I promise.