The month of October is filled with pumpkin spice, beautiful leaves of many colorful hues of Fall, and Halloween plans.
For me, it is also the time to start thinking about the next piece of writing I want to work on during National Novel Writing Month (NANOWRIMO) in November. In the next few weeks, my muse will be working overtime as I coax her to help me as I sift through my Pinterest boards and notes from a writing conference I attended a few weeks ago.
My biggest problem is that my mind is a chaotic storm of ideas but it is so hard to actually feel “inspired” to write. Family, school, the stress of being jobless, and my health all seem to put a big damper on my fingers and keeps my multiple notebooks empty. Of course, my muse loves to whisper fun ideas for stories at the most inopportune moments, so I lose many fun storylines on a daily basis. It is quite frustrating.
Many times, however, I have problems getting my muse to even talk to me. I get caught up in the stress of life and get stuck in the everyday grind. Just like many people I know, the idea of writing can be daunting. Eve
n after almost 15 years of experience and the M.A. in English I earned, I still have that feeling of dread when I stare at the screen and try to will my creativity to work.
Flipping the Switch
On a daily basis, I have to push myself to write. Even with a passion to write and love of the written word, I still have issues with getting something on the page. The frustration and disappoint of feeling stuck is just as painful as it was in high school.
So, how do I get past this and actually write?
Simple. I don’t limit myself to where I can be creative. Much of the advice I hear from others is to find a place that you feel the most “creative” and get writing. However, that does not work for me as well. I have a great office at home but am not home much of the day. So, the cliche coffee shop, my mom’s house, my car, and the park have all served as places I can write. This feeling of freedom to write wherever I am (yes, even at work) and to let my muse say “HI” when she wants to. Many times I simply jotted down the idea and left it to simmer. So many of my stories were just one or two lines of dialogue or a description of a person/place.
Another thing that I have changed is my feelings about being a “writer”. This title comes with so much stigma that it can stifle your ability to create. Our brains have a terrible time pushing through a slump when we don’t accept what our talents are and that we can use them when we want to. There is no one in your way but yourself and I had to accept that before I could move forward when I had my own issues with being called a writer. I am much more confident when people ask me what I do for a living. Even though I am still a novice at being published, I feel that being called a writer (since writing is a big part of many of my previous employment) is the best way to describe myself now.
Being creative and accepting my destiny as a writer are just two of the many things I have done so far in my life to help fight creativity slumps or “writer’s block” as many like to call it. There are a ton of self-help guides for finding inspiration and some of them might help in the short time. For me, finding two root causes of my muse not answering my calls have helped me with creativity and feel happier as I create.
Hope you are able to find your own switches to flip as you search for a way to fight your creativity slumps and get your muse talking to you again.