Have you and the written word lost that special spark? Here's how to fall in love with your writing all over again.
For many people, writing is the best job in the world. At its best, being a writer is more like being in love than like having a real job. But then, just like romance, everything will be going along great when, unexpectedly, that magic word alchemist goes on strike -- and the words just stop. Writer's fatigue has just slapped you hard and left you feeling as though your brain was zapped.
Early in a writing career, whether you're drafting that story your heart tells you simply must be told or writing marketing copy for clients, every day brings the joy of unleashing your creativity. But over time, self-doubt can come creeping in. The question in your mind at that point isn't whether you're a good writer -- you question whether you're a writer at all.
Don't Give Up Your Keyboard
If you're struggling with feeling drained, don't throw your keyboard in the trash just yet. There are some things you can try that just might wake up your inner word alchemist so you can fall back in love with writing and get back to the business of doing the work you love.
If you can't find the time or inspiration for your pet projects, or if you're stuck on an idea that you can't quite flesh out, give yourself a break. Don't judge what you have written. The first version is just a rough draft -- it isn't supposed to be perfect. Don't try to force it. Give yourself permission to walk away from your project for a few hours. If the fatigue has developed into an ongoing problem, go another direction altogether. Instead of trying to write a life-changing book, pick one up.
Go to the greats: pick up a Ralph Waldo Emerson book, one of Einstein's essays on humanity or whatever inspires you. Then, sit down with the book, a notepad and a pen. Sometimes the best way to experience the power of the words that these great writers penned is to see and feel your hand physically writing them. Let the words sink into your mind, and savor them as they wake up your tired writer's spirit. Then commit to making daily progress on your personal project, even if it's just 15 minutes a day.
Getting Back on Track
Writing copy that doesn't inspire you can do two things: it can pay the bills -- and it can also leave you feeling drained. You probably became a writer to unleash your creativity, and not necessarily to write about other people's products. One of the easiest ways to get back on track is to embrace an attitude of gratefulness.
Don't focus on the negatives. Every time you start to feel like you don't really want to write a client's piece, remember what it felt like to stand in a factory making diapers or car parts -- or remember any job you hated. Instead, you get to be a writer!
Shift your attention to time management. One of the worst feelings, especially if you are a bit of a procrastinator, is feeling like there's no way you can meet a deadline. After a few articles, you will start to notice how many words you can craft in an hour. Use this information wisely. For example, if you are a bona fide procrastinator with a 400-word article due, and you know it takes you an hour to write 400 words, get the research done as soon as you accept the work. Park your butt in that chair at least two hours before the article is due. (The extra time is your cushion, in case the Internet goes down or the cat barfs in your shoes.)
Writer's fatigue doesn't have to wreck your career as a writer. All you have to do is remind yourself what you love about writing and adopt the right habits to reposition yourself for success.
How do you keep your love of writing strong? Tell us in the comments.