Lessons from a writer: Lost the will to write?
“I have to clean.” “I should really take a break from computers.” “I don’t have time.” “The kids will wake up soon.” There are thousands of excuses you can use not to write, but the dangerous one is “I’m not in the mood.” If you’re in a writing slump, you need to get out!
How do you motivate yourself to write when you lose the desire?
When I lose the desire to write, I go back to what started the desire in the first place. I go back to reading my favorite books, the ones that really set a spark in me. I go over some of my older work and failings, I will go for a long walk in nature, stop by a coffee shop, and people watch and listen for an hour or two. I’ll jot down a few conversations I hear and by the time I get home, if I’ve done all of the above, nine times out of ten, the desire to continue writing returns. –Charlotte Munro
Wow . . . I have not yet had that problem! In fact, I have had the opposite problem! My problem is finding time to write when I have so many other things competing for my attention. But I’m a family guy, so I have to put them first. Then there’s my job and church, so it can be tough to juggle all that and a writing career. I am extremely thankful for such a supportive wife who encourages me to write whenever I can and who notices that I’m getting antsy when I haven’t written in awhile. –Steve Guglich
This isn’t really a problem for me. I’m addicted to my book. When I get writer’s block and just can’t write anymore, I stop and read a new book. Usually by the time I finish, I can’t help but dive back into my own work.
This has happened to me twice while I was writing Atlantis Rising. The first time, I had just finished writing the rough draft (136K words), I rewrote it twice, then got blocked. I read Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive. When I finished it, I dove back into my story. I rewrote it and added another 160K words.
The second time was a few months ago. I crashed and read the entire Wheel of Time series. –Jake Parrick
Whenever I lose the desire to write, I tend to take some break from the project that I’m currently working on and whenever I feel refreshed and motivated to write, I return to the current project and write with renewed fervor. –Sarah Barnes
I motivate myself by either free writing or putting the work out in front of me so that I can easily access it when I’m ready to write. I see writing as my job, and that is pretty motivating. –Matthew T Fields
Sometimes, seeing other things helps, like physically taking myself to places that I’ve never been. It’s like becoming a tourist in your own city or state. For some reason, the act of going somewhere else helps my creativity. Seeing new things, meeting new people, and experiencing new things seem to go into my writing. Creating memories for myself and an experience for my characters helps make the writing (I write fiction) a little more believable. Also, one of my favorite things to do is to get friends together and bounce ideas off of them. I give them different scenarios from my writing and ask them how they would handle it in real life. I get some very interesting stories out of them and great material to work with. They have—against my will at our social gatherings lol—acted out the parts of my characters when I tell them stuff to help me find the next logical response to a situation or problem. They know I use their ideas and words to write characters, and they love it. Find friends that support you and would be crazy enough to carry out these things. Make a day or night of it. (Liquor helps lol) –Tyronica Smith
When I really don’t feel like writing, I write something else. Anything else. I start typing about random things in my head, and I give it a few lines before I try to decide what it is I’m writing. I look for the overall tone of the piece (dark, fantasy, light, humor, experience, love, hate, anger, depression, etc.) and try to steer my writing in that direction. After a little while, either my mind finds a connection between the random bit and my work in progress, or I end up with a new short story or poem. You see, working on a long piece like a novel can be pretty depressing after a while when you spend months writing the same story and it still isn’t over with. It gives you too much time to contemplate whether your time is wasted. But if you write something else—something short—and you finish it, you feel accomplished. You might not have a novel yet, but you have a few pages more than you did and it’s done. That feeling is what keeps me writing sometimes when I lose the desire otherwise. –Crystal M M Burton
Want to know more about this week’s panel?
Sarah writes erotica short stories. She posts them to her blog and shares them wherever she can receive critique. Currently, she is seeking publication for short stories.
I am a stay-at-home mother and wife who spends my free time baking, crafting, and fangirling. I work from home as an author and freelance editor, and I insist my positive outlook has gotten me to where I am today.
Matthew T. Fields
I’m from Brooklyn, NY. I currently live in Danville, Ohio with my wife and daughter and a baby on the way. I self-publish. I have three books out already, and I’m working on my biggest project yet.
Charlotte is often found in the fantasy and horror section of the book store, drinking tea and dreaming up tragic ways of destroying characters. She lives in rural England, wandering the woods and seaside with a notebook in hand. She also enjoys horror movies and tragedies and looks up the dark history of serial killers.
When Jake isn’t writing about Fallen Angels, Lizard People, or badass Atlantean Knights wearing powered assault armor and killing the before mentioned Fallen Angels and Lizard People, he can usually be found in his secret bunker carefully calibrating the surface-to-air missile defense system.
I love writing across genres. I’ve recently found a fondness for nonfiction, and the best thing next to an awesome cup of coffee is an even more awesome book! Creators create, readers read, and writers suffer long silences from tight-lipped characters 😛