All of us have been in the situation I’m experiencing at the moment. After the rush and the mayhem of getting a project finished, there’s a strange lull when it’s all over. Whether they have uploaded a script to a theatre, or put a novel on Amazon with a timed release, or submitted an article to the publishers ready to have the world look it, we all experience those ‘what’s next’ moments. And this is the time where you can feel at your most unproductive. It’s easy to fall into the depths of procrastination and end up doing nothing for weeks on end as you wait for inspiration to hit and something else to start again. So, how easy is it to kick start inspiration for writers? Below are a few things that I do – and what I recommend to everyone who asks me for help.
A blog post
Do you have a blog? Or a blog that you like reading? Have you thought about using the down time to put together an article for them? After all, every piece of work is a learning experience, and I’m sure that you figured something out in the latest project that you didn’t know before. I’m constantly learning when I write, and every project gives me something else to write about. These little epiphanies happen to me all the time when I’m writing, and I’m sure they do to.
A blog post is a great way of cementing your learning, marketing you as a writer, and building an online following. If you don’t have your own blog, there are loads of other blogs you could write for. What about pitching something for Write with Phil? Most blogs, if you can get hold of the right person (try and avoid the dreaded info@ email address) will gladly take some writing, especially if you have a good story to tell. There are a few good blogs on my blogs post page, but checkout Writers helping Writers, Joanna Penn and Bang2Write if you need a bit of inspiration.
A brisk walk
When was the last time you went outside? Try it. If it’s cold, wrap up warm, if it’s hot, wear a hat. Remember, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. The fresh air on your face will wake you up and clear your head – especially if you do it without any podcasts, headphones or anything else distracted plugged into you.
A short story
If you’re used to writing long pieces, try mixing it up by putting together a short story or two. If you right feature films, try a short. IT doesn’t have to be in the same universe of your stories, it doesn’t have to be in the genre that you usually write in. In fact, for your purposes, you don’t even have to have an end game for it. Just write something for yourself. Even if *shudder* it ends up being poetry. Remember when I wrote a poem?
A different form, genre or format is a way of getting a different part of your brain working. Especially if you’re thinking about what you want to work on next, a change from the routine, something that you’re not really thinking about but enjoying, will help you relax. Taking all the expectations off you is important to. It’ll almost be like a holiday. Only one where you’re writing something cool.
A DIY project
What have you been putting off around the house? Cleaning the fish tank? Putting up those light fixtures? It’s a good idea, for the sanity of those around you, to do one or two of these little tasks while you have the time. Soon enough you’ll be locking yourself away from your loved ones with a new project, so why not make their lives a little better before you vanish from it for hours at a time?
A writer’s group
Getting together with other writers is a great way to spend your time. I used to be a regular attendee at Colchester Write Night, but I’ve rather let that go over the last few months. Getting into a writers group (there shouldn’t be a need to pay,have a look on the Meetup app or look on your nearest NanoWriMo forums. When you get there, prepare to talk about writing in a different way with people who might have the same outlook, or challenge you to think differently.
Writing groups are great to get yourself inspired again. Someone there will say something that will spark your imagination, or make you think about an idea in a different way. You might not like what they’re writing and they might not like what you are. But that’s fine! Writing doesn’t have to appeal to everyone. These meetups will always have a place in my heart – my first novel, The Unjudged, was conceived at one of them – and if you take the time to go along to one or two you may well find they grab you as well.
A lovely meal
Treat the person you love the most to a really nice meal. You can cook it, you can go out, you can order in. But make it special, put on some candles, put on some music that reminds you of your childhood, and relax in good company. Remember, you’re not just a writer, you’re a human.
The images on this page are from Unsplash.