I recently went through a writer’s lull. I was trying to work on my second novel but for some reason, I couldn’t focus. I knew how I wanted to rewrite and edit the story, I just couldn’t get myself to sit in front of the computer and do it. This went on for weeks and it was beginning to frustrate me. The ideas were all there, but somehow I wasn’t motivated.
Determined to get back on track, I changed my routines and tried new things. It worked.
If you’ve been feeling uninspired to write lately, here are 12 ways to get you back on track:
- Take a break. Working on the same manuscript for days or months can be daunting. Give it time to rest and go back to it a few days, a few weeks, or a few months later.
- Take a walk. Writing is sedentary. Get some fresh air and go for a nice long stroll to get your creative juices flowing again. Check out this article: http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/walking-helps-us-think
- Change where you write. If you usually write in the living room, try writing in the kitchen, or in the bedroom. If that doesn’t work, leave the house and try writing at a coffee shop, at a library, or at a park. A change of venue could do the trick.
- Change when you write. If you usually write in the mornings, try writing at night. And if you usually have a set time for writing, don’t have one. Instead of writing for three hours straight, try writing for just an hour and then take a break.
- Switch it up. If you find yourself staring blankly at the computer screen, try writing on a piece of paper. Get a notebook and a pen and start free writing. This always works for me.
- Listen to Music. And not just the same music you normally listen to. Change it up and try new genres.
- Watch a Movie. Pick your favorite blockbuster flick, or check out a new movie. Take advantage of your Netflix membership and explore old films, new films, foreign films, and independent films. Movies always help inspire me.
- Pack a bag and go somewhere. If you’re on a tight budget, taking a day off, or a little weekend getaway somewhere close by could be all you need. A nice vacation—short or long—will help you recharge.
- Write something else. Put the current manuscript aside and try writing a poem, a short story, or start a new novel. Then go back to the previous manuscript when you’re ready.
- Read a book or a magazine. You don’t have to read an entire book, unless you want to. Even reading a few pages could be enough to get you back on track. I’ve done this many times. Whenever I feel stuck, I flip through different books and read a few pages. Reading a beautifully written paragraph or dialogue is sometimes enough to inspire me to write again.
- Go back to your old notes. Remember the notes you wrote down on that napkin, or that notebook, or the one you typed up on your phone months ago? This is the time to read them over. There might be something there that could inspire you.
- Write. Sometimes the cure to feeling uninspired to write is to simply keep writing. Write anything. That anything could turn into something. It doesn’t have to be good…yet. Just write it. The whole idea is for you to start writing again. You can always edit later.