There are days and seasons when I approach my daily writing time with enthusiasm. When my fingers can't wait to get on the keys, the dialogue comes out zippy, and writing feels fun.
And then there are other days...
Days when everything I type feels tired, when my story seems unimaginative.
Or days that come right after I've pushed myself to finish a draft, but I just can't seem to get my head back in the story.
Or days that follow a big rejection, when I'm plagued by self-doubt.
Or when Life Stuff is happening, and writing feels meaningless or trivial in the wake of it.
Or, or, or.
Lots of things cause burn out or writer's fatigue. When you're not really blocked, but uninspired.
Here are some suggestions for kicking your fatigue and igniting your creativity:
Indulge your story-loving self
We love stories, don't we? So go enjoy one! Watch a movie, try a new TV show, or reread a favorite book. And don't make it your goal to analyze and figure out why this character works or why this plot twist doesn't - just enjoy.
Music with lyrics
Pick a band whose music you enjoy and who has good lyrics. I would probably pull out Florence and the Machine or Muse. Listen to the words of a song and try to craft a story that fits it, just for fun!
Craft books ... but careful with this one!
Sometimes pulling out a beloved craft book, Bird by Bird or On Writing, can bring back my inspiration. But sometimes - I've noticed - I hide in writing-related activities. If I'm feeling lazy and therefore uninspired, I'll find all kinds of writerly things to do - talk about writing, read about writing, blog about writing. That's because those things are always fun and easy.
But like Stephen King so wisely says right before sharing everything he knows about how to write good fiction, "I'll be as brief as possible, because your time is valuable and so is mine, and we both understand that the hours we spend talking about writing is time we don't spend actually doing it."
Some writers, it seems to me, become craft book and conference junkies. They don't write a lot, but they know an awful lot about how to do it. You're never going to find a craft book that magically fixes the sagging middle of your manuscript. You're never going to find one that hands you a great idea you'll never grow bored with. Craft books are a tool in your toolbox, as is your critique group or the Go Teen Writers blog. Even with great tools, you still must do the hard work of building the story.
Get out in the world and enjoy it! Go for a nature walk. Pick some flowers. Make snow angels. Take a bike ride. Chase your little brother around the yard. It's good for your mental health, which is good for your story's health too!
Enjoy other arts
If there's another art form you enjoy - painting, dancing, music, sewing - take some time to do it. Maybe even try a new kind of art, like decorating cupcakes or snapping some photos. Or enjoy somebody else's art at a gallery or boutique. You're trying to refresh that dried up, creative piece of yourself, so get out there and try something new.
My husband subscribes to National Geographic. I don't read them cover to cover like he does, but the articles are always fabulous and the pictures breathtaking. It's a window into other cultures, to parts of the planet I'll probably never travel. Reading an issue, or even flipping through one, always expands my worldview.
Go somewhere else to write
As gorgeous as my office is, sometimes getting out of it is what I need. If you don't have a laptop, grab a notebook and head to a park, a coffeehouse, or even just a comfy chair in the living room. I don't know what the science is behind changing the routine, but it really can help push through a dry spell.
Have another suggestion? Leave a comment below!