As to be expected, whether they’re full of it or lacking in it, writers tweet, facebook, and blog about inspiration often. I know if I were to go back through the posts I’ve written over the years, I’m pretty sure I have one, two, or five on the subject.
Inspiration means everything to a writer. It’s not only what provokes a new story, but it’s also what keeps the passion going for the story we’re in the process of writing or editing.
The last couple of weeks have been a struggle for me. It’s been hard for me to stay focused and inspired with the story I’m currently editing. I know it’s about mindset, about surroundings, about staying in love with the story, about the passion for the characters– all of that. Every single thing affects our inspiration.
It’s normal to get blasé about a story we’ve been writing, working on, editing, changing, fixing, tweaking. I mean, come on, it’s quite a process, and sometimes grueling, to make a story everything we want it to be– everything the characters want it to be. It’s a constant challenge to keep the writing/editing mojo going.
Writing is a marriage between the writer and the characters, and just like any relationship, it requires communication. So, when we feel things going awry–the love is fading–we have to talk to our characters, and even more importantly, we have to listen to them. We may want them to do one thing, but they’re insistent on doing something completely different. Often times, if we listen to their vision, and not our own, the storyline will begin to move along. We’ll see the missing piece of the puzzle that we might have missed if we hadn’t taken the time to communicate with our character(s). Communication is like gold for story-telling.
If talking things out doesn’t work, maybe take a step back, let it simmer. This is not only good to do during the writing process, but also during the editing process, especialIy in the first deep edit, where we’re changing, rearranging, and creating more depth to our scenery and characters. It can be frustrating when the pieces and parts aren’t coming together. Sometimes it feels more like work than creation, which can be highly disheartening for a writer. Take a deep breath, set it aside, and let the characters and scenes do their own thing for a little while.
I wouldn’t suggest the next tip for a human marriage, but for a writing marriage, I say go for it– play around with another story! This keeps the creativity flowing while the other story is on a break. You never know, the new story you’re messing around with may teach you something you need to learn about the other story that’s simmering on the side.
My last piece of advice on keeping your writing marriage inspired is to keep all your senses engaged. For example, when I’m writing/editing my holiday stories for the Tinsel Trilogy, and I get ho-hum about how things are going, I light a Balsam Fir candle. I sip on spiced cinnamon hot tea. I listen to Christmas music. I put on a Christmas movie and keep it going in the background. I swear, while working on The Christmas Key last year, I watched Home Alone 1 and 2 no fewer than twenty-five times, plus all the other Christmas movies I have on DVD, saved on my DVR, and on Netflix. I also think there were a few times I turned down the thermostat so I could wrap up in a blanket. It didn’t matter if it was sweltering hot, in the middle of August, I had all this going on inside the house. And, trust me, it got me through. It kept me going.
Just like any marriage, sometimes love isn’t enough. We have to work at it. We have to baby it. We have to entice our partner– our characters. We have to change the scenery. And, you never know, you may have to talk a little dirty to it to get it going.
Do what ya gotta do. No matter how silly it may seem to others, if it works, do it. Keep your story going. Stay inspired. It’s worth it– love of the story is always worth it.
Until next time…
Love life. Be Kind. Be genuine. Eliminate the negative, false, and vain. Peace, love, and happiness to all.