Editor’s note: this is a guest post by Cynthia Morris of Original Impulse.
The writer looked up, bleary-eyed. The word ‘fin’ was imprinted on his vision. The end. It was done. His second draft. Complete.
A giant sigh surged up and whooshed out of him. ‘Ding’ his computer chimed.
In his inbox, the world pressed. “Call me!” “Let’s do that thing we talked about.” “Did you get my submission?”
He snapped to, the fuzzy edges of his writing buzz sharpening into focus on his to-do list. He hit ‘reply’ and re-entered the world.
Falling “Out of Love” With Writing
Sometimes the creative process can feel more like a slog than a joy ride. But no matter how long you’ve been working in your medium, you can still find ways to play, explore and enjoy a sense of fun in your creative work.
How can you bring more fun into your writing life? Here are five strategies my clients and students use to experience more fun and vitality in their writing process:
How To Fall In Love With Writing Again
1. Love It Up
Get clear: what do you love about writing? Do a free write or riff about what you specifically love about your writing process.
When you know what you love about writing, it’s easier to connect with the fun of it, even when it feels difficult.
2. Shake It Up
Try on another genre. Try writing a scene from your novel as a play, or a screenplay. Switch POV. Like shifting your perspective to see with fresh eyes, trying different approaches with a project can be energizing.
Play with writing without an agenda. Practice free writing to see where your unfettered imagination will lead you. Many of my students experience a lot of fun this way and this invigorates their other, focused writing.
You might discover a new way to write your material. You may re-discover what you love about your original form. Surprise can be a major element of fun, and when you can surprise yourself, it’s doubly satisfying.
3. Sum It Up
At the end of each writing session, check in with yourself. Jot down three words that describe how the process was for you. Collect these words in a list, if you like, to see your ongoing, shifting relationship to your process.
My “Free Write Fling” students do this and it helps them to see that powerful experiences wait on the other side of resistance and fear.
4. Give It Up
For moments of hopelessness and despair: decide to give up writing for good.
Imagine that you’ve chosen to leave writing for others. You’re going to do something else. What would it feel like to not have writing in your life?
I call this “taking away the bone.” When a dog has a bone in its mouth, you can’t wrench it free.
Try taking writing away from yourself and see how you fight for it. Stepping away from writing can remind you what you love about this art form.
5. Turn It Up
Artists and writers become bored when they are not challenged. Many creative types thrive on challenges. If you find yourself becoming bored by your writing, look for your edge to bring fun back.
What element of craft or storytelling can you focus on now? Transitions, headlines, conclusions–these are all my writing edges. When I pay attention to those edges and work to improve my weaknesses, I feel much more engaged.
Tackling difficult things can empower us to enjoy the writing process. Celebrating our hard-earned efforts adds to the fun.
These are just 5 tips to help you fall in love with writing again. Now it’s your turn. How do you keep the spark alive?
Cynthia Morris has been writing consistently since 1994 and still manages to have fun with it. Cynthia has authored several e-books on the writing and creative travel, a book, Create Your Writer’s Life: A Guide to Writing with Joy and Ease, and a novel, Chasing Sylvia Beach, due out in June, 2012. Find more fun from Cynthia and read her blog at www.originalimpulse.com.
When you’ve lost that spark, what helps you remember why you love writing (or life) so much? Please share your wisdom with us in the comments below!
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