Sometimes I just get burnt out. Or stuck. Or bored. With my writing, I mean. My projects are bogged down, I don’t know how to fix problems, the original idea seems lame. Writing is not fun. Well, of course not. Writing is hard. So you have to have some spark of interest if you’re gonna keep doing it. How do you get that? Or how do you get it back, since we’ve all had it at one time, else we wouldn’t be doing this at all.
I thought back to when I wrote my first poem when I was 9 years old. An idea came to me. I rushed to my room and scratched down several verses of doggerel. I’ve never been so excited. Here was something I created that had never existed before. I think until that moment, I didn’t realize people actually wrote things, like the books and magazines I read. The grownups were talking around the kitchen table, and every time I added another verse, I raced into the kitchen and read it to them. They could barely control their enthusiasm. I’M KIDDING. My mother alone paused in the conversation long enough to give a distracted nod and a “that’s nice, honey.” The others barely noticed the interruption, if at all. Upon which I ran back to my room to continue my masterpiece. Anybody else’s disinterest simply didn’t register. I was on fire with the pure joy of creation. I wasn’t thinking about “audience.” I had never heard the work “market.” I didn’t know that editors even existed. I was alive with the pure energy creation. I needed to recapture that.
I bought a new spiral bound notebook, just for this. Here, I write whatever I want, solely for myself. Whatever incident, memory, character or puzzlement I’ve encountered that day gets recorded while it’s still fresh and interesting. I don’t care if anything comes of it (although I’ve already roughed out a story based on my notations). I’m just writing for me, for pure pleasure. For the sheer energy of creation. No aim, no judgement. All joy.
Let me do this for a while. Soon, the other urges will return. The need to polish, shape, sharpen and share. There’s plenty of pleasure to be had in those activities, too. But the joy of creation must come first. Seems to me.
I can just imagine you rushing back and forth between bedroom and kitchen, so excited. I am pretty sure every writer has doubts, worries, and other kinds of angst. One way I’ve found to kick the bad thoughts about my writing away is to read something from months or years ago (preferably something someone thought was good enough to publish). Usually I can see that overall, it was pretty good. This encourages me to continue with my current project. Even reading over the beginning of that often helps, too. Keep writing!
Excellent advice, Jan. And of course, you’re right, that probably every writer suffers down moments. To be continued.