September 9, 2015

Life has a way of happening with such exuberance that even pastimes we love are placed by the wayside. Other times life is quiet but the words still don't cascade like we wish.

What should a writer do when waiting for inspiration?

Answer: Discover the root of your lack of inspiration. 
1. Is it laziness? 

Do we really lack inspiration or is it a call for more perspiration? Writing is flat out hard work. It requires an investment of time, energy and emotion. As convicting as this is, laziness can disguise itself as "writer's block." Jack London said, "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." Even if you are a genuine writer to the core, the craft of writing remains a discipline. 

2. Is it forgetfulness? 

Confession! I often forget how much I adore writing. I forget the delight of full emersion into my own daydream world. I forget that the best way to get words flowing is to start forming them even if they aren't perfect. Sometimes my memory needs to be jogged by . . . well, writing. It sounds dumb but I forget how to write is to fly. 

3. Do I need a deadline? 

"I don't have time" is the oldest excuse and it's not even true. There is a time to write you just have to find it. 

But I'm a college student. 
But I'm a young mom. 
But I work full time.
But I'm a senior in high school. 

Perhaps you can claim a legitimate situation where there is not an ounce of time to schedule writing, but the rest of us are carving out minutes for Facebook, or movies or sleeping in. It goes back to discipline and truly making time for what you NEED to do. Let's write with sacrifice and deadlines . . . even if just for 10 minutes a day.   

4. Do I need accountability?

I was in a deep writing dry spell. It was a tangle of laziness, forgetfulness and excuses. Then I tapped into the power of accountability. I asked my writing support group to hold me to my goal of producing one chapter each week. Do you know what? It totally worked. 

5. Have I been reading?

Artists appreciate paintings. Musicians listen closely to others' music performances. Athletes learn from other athletes. Writers soak up words. 

6. Have I had recent adventures?

Never forsake the here and now. Find a mountain to climb, a river to forge, a play to watch, a campfire to laugh around, people to invest in. Gather moments like a bouquet and then glean from them later. 

7. Do I need to just wait?

Maybe you're chasing your next novel's inspiration to no avail. If you're between projects and all frozen-up about beginning a new journey, try pushing it to the back burner and pursuing a different outlet. Write a skit. Write a short story. There are so many outlets for creativity. Find ways to use your writing to bless others.

Waiting. It's not a bad thing. Am I willing to step away from my pen and serve God in other ways? Are we about His Words more than our words? We can rest in Him to use our gifts for His glory in His perfect timing. Ecclesiastes 3:11, "He has made everything beautiful in its time." 

Practical ideas for the roots of lack of inspiration:

Laziness -- Pursue inspiration with intention and hard work.

Forgetfulness -- Force yourself to sit down and dream up just one scene.

Deadline -- Give yourself a week to produce writing at the cost of frivolous activities.

Accountability -- Set up a private blog with your writing support group so they can check and see if you posted your weekly writing goal.

Reading -- Drink up old and new books. Listen to audio books if you don't have time to read.

Adventures -- Find a friend and go explore.

Just Waiting -- Wait with contentment, with purpose, with intention, with prayer. 

Do you have any thoughts to share about inspiration (or the lack thereof?) 


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