How To Fall In Love With Writing Again

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.

Your Turn

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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30 comments on “How To Fall In Love With Writing Again

  1. Lynne Spreen says:

    good ideas, all. Here’s one: what’s the overriding truth of the story, that not even the main character knows? Every time I think this way, I fall in love with the magic of writing, all over again.

    • I love that, Lynne. To me, this question helps you go to the heart of the matter, which can be both a surprise and a comfort. I personally love any strategy that gets to the deeper meaning of the heart of things.

      Thanks for sharing that and reminding me of the magic of writing!

  2. I find it helps if I perform my work at spoken word events like Illicit Ink in Edinburgh.

    • Fun, belledelettres! Just thinking about performing my work gets my heart racing.

      Lucky you, living in Edinburgh. What a fabulous city, and so infused with creativity!

  3. Janie says:

    I love reading your blog because it has always given me that inspiration for my writing and the encouragement needed to continue the road I have chosen.

    Keep up the good work.
    I very much enjoyed Cynthia’s tips and her website.

  4. Dana Bennett says:

    Ollin, good choice in asking Cynthia to write a guest post. I’m one of her Free Write Fling people for the month of February and it’s recharging my batteries to be involved in the online community and encouraged to play with my creative energy. You and Cynthia are two of my favorite writing gurus. Thanks!

    • Yay, Dana!

      I personally wouldn’t call myself a guru, but you go ahead and use whatever words you want!

      I am happy that free writing is a way for you to recharge and fall in love with your writing. You bring a lot to the community, so thank you!

  5. I tend to work on several projects at once. I always try to keep the balance of projects tipped towards writing for the love and fun of it; that thing that gives me a “writer’s high” and drew me to writing in the first place. I am a runner, so the analogy of a “runner’s high” resonates with me. When I am stuck and my writing is feeling forced, I try to switch gears and write something purely for my pleasure. This may be something for my eyes only. I can often go back to whatever I was working on with a renewed spirit and motivation. This always seems to improve whatever project I was struggling with too.

    • Great strategy, writerreinvented! That works for me, too, having a few different things going at once.

      I’m glad to know that you feel and know the value of writing for its own sake. Too often people get uptight with writing because they feel every word must be perfect of useful.

      I’m glad you have practices that allow you to feel the pleasure of writing! Thanks for sharing your experience with us here.

  6. I fall back in love with writing when I remember that there’s nothing better than the art of capture! I believe our thoughts and words are very volatile and so capturing them at their occurring moments is the only way to always stay grateful for the life we have. Also so many people would give anything to write like us and that gift shouldn’t be wasted because a lot of people could draw inspiration from what we do.

    • Tosin,

      The word ‘capture’ excites me too. There’s something about the chase or the thrill of seizing upon something we perceive as interesting or valuable that I love.

      And there are so many ways to capture inspiration. I use notebooks – what do you use?

      You have a great reminder, too, that writing isn’t everyone’s gift. Writing and word play are so innate to my experience that I forget not everyone shares that!

    • Lincia says:

      I never thought of writing as a form of capture. Thanks for that :) and “I believe our thoughts and words are very volatile and so capturing them at their occurring moments is the only way to always stay grateful for the life we have” was very inspiring.
      http://twntysmthng.tumblr.com/

  7. ceciliag says:

    well thankfully I have not fallen out of love with the writing yet, I have a story that I posted today, that I am working on, it is short, i like short. But the whole time I am writing I am straight backed and excited! Thank goodness. i know I will hit the wall one day, but not yet.. not today.. thanks Cynthia and Ollin c

    • I’m glad to hear you’re still in love with writing, C! I popped over and read your story and I can see why. You’re great with details and description and managing a roomful of people on the page.

      Nice work! Thanks for reading and for your comment.

    • unknownjim says:

      That’s exciting! Short is good. Short is often exciting because you don’t get the chance to be dull or boring, IMO.

  8. Many years ago, I completely lost my love for and ability to write. I was devastated, but I’ve found my way back. In addition to maturing in life in general, my love of writing is sparked by reading. The more I read and the more variety I read, the more my love of writing seems to grow. I am inspired by other authors in so many ways. Also, just living life waiting for ideas to make their way to me is so much fun. Whether I’m running or biking or at the coffee shop or playing with my kids, ideas come when I least expect them and make me giddy about writing all over again.

    • Kari,
      Yes! Reading is such a pump-primer! Thanks for reminding us of that. It’s a real and direct way to share the writing experience and to spark our own hunger to share our words.
      I’m very glad you found your way back for writing. The fallow periods happen, and when we see them as normal it can help. It sounds like your passion for writing is even more invigorated from the absence.

      Write on!

  9. Giving up works for me. Not doing it for a while soon brings back the urge. Doing something to help other writers works for me too. I’m thinking, maybe I can’t write very well but I might be good at getting the word out about those who can. Hence the Awesome Indies listing I’m setting up. It’s on my website at the moment, but I’m going to give it its own site – today!

    It makes me feel better about the whole business and less caught up in trying to ‘succeed’ which is just too much of a strain.

    • Tahilia,

      Reading your comment makes me think it’s like developing a hunger, a taste for it. Absence allows us to feel what’s missing when we don’t write. I know for me, I get edgy and irritable if I don’t take my writing time. I like the deeper place of thought I get from writing, like stepping away from the chatter of the rest of life.

      Good for you and your Awesome Indie project! I love the new ways that are being generated to get the word out about good books!

  10. Wonderful advice Cynthia! it’s great to hear from you. I really like “taking away the bone”It wouldn’t take me long to miss writing if I walked away for it. Thanks for sharing these useful tips that flow from your own creative self and thanks Ollin for hosting Cynthia :-)

    • Thanks, Kathy! Sometimes we need to lose what we love to get it back.

      That sounds like a log line for a book or a movie, doesn’t it? That’s what I get from writing the back cover copy for my novel – sentiment in sound bites! ;)

  11. Julie says:

    Great to see Cynthia here!

    One way I keep the “fun” in writing is to write in different styles/genres. I write picture books for children, but I also write personal essays, travel pieces, and “how-to” posts on my blog. I recently started writing an e-book for writers. Whenever I get burned out on one thing, I can switch to another and re-charge.

    • Thanks, Julie!

      I see you like a writing goddess, the one with all the arms, shifting effortlessly among your forms. That helps me, too, to keep it fresh.

      Congratulations on your new ebook for writers! Can’t wait to hear about it!

  12. cdyard says:

    A post I needed because I’m afaid I’m falling out of love with writing and I want to fall in love again.

  13. spinx says:

    Write SOUTHPARK episode.

    Always works for me.

    Ohh……..the fun I´ve had with Kartman……………..sweet ;O

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