Have you lost your joy of writing? Are you wishing that writing fiction were fun again? You’re not alone.
Willian posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page:
As someone who deal with and help writers, you probably have a tip or two to overcome what I’m current facing.
I have been writing my whole life, since I was a little and learned to do it. Now, I find myself unable to do so.
For the past two three years, I have started books just throw them later on, I have thought about a hundreds stories that I would love to write, only to find I dislike them later on. I don’t know the reason for this, but right now I can’t feel the joy of writing that I felt years ago.
I thought it may be the genre or style and changed it, but it didn’t help. I thought it was because I was a pantser but outline didn’t help it.
Right now I’m at a loss, and don’t know how to overcome this. Any thoughts?
Thank you in advance and I loved your snowflake book =)
Randy sez: Wow, that’s a tough question. I suspect different writers write for different reasons, and so the joy of writing is different for different writers. I don’t know why you write or what motivates you.
What Works for Me
But I can tell you what I do when I feel the joy of writing fading.
When I start feeling that writing isn’t fun anymore, I go find a novel and read it. A good novel. One that’s fun to read. One that makes me believe I’m the protagonist of the story. One that takes me on an adventure.
Somewhere in the middle of the story, the author will make a decision I don’t like. And I’ll think, “I could have done that better.”
Maybe I really could have written it better. Maybe I’m just delusional. Doesn’t matter.
What matters is that I’m reading a good story and feeling the desire to do it better myself. That’s what got me started writing fiction in the first place. That’s what gets me rolling again when I’m in a rut.
I can’t promise this will help you, Willian. All I can say is that it works for me.
What Do My Loyal Blog Readers Think?
Now I’ll throw this question out to my Loyal Blog Readers. How do you recover the joy of writing when you’ve lost it?
Got a Question for My Blog?
If you’ve got a question you’d like me to answer in public on this blog, hop on over to my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page and submit your question. I’ll answer the ones I can, but no guarantees. There are only so many hours in the day.
As a postscript, it’s worth noting that the audiobook version of my latest book, How to Write a Dynamite Scene Using the Snowflake Method, is available on all the usual places–Audible, Amazon, and Apple’s iTunes Store. In all the fuss over the new GDPR a few weeks ago, I got a bit off track in my blogging, and so I haven’t taken note of it here on my blog yet. So now I am.
Here are links to all the places you can now buy the book, whether in e-book, paper, or audiobook format:
Joel D Canfield says
Writing, then hating it, is normal (not necessarily the root of the problem, but not unusual either.) In his book “Innovation on Demand” Allen Fahden talks about the PEP cycle of creativity: Panic Elation Panic. It hits us all, and all you can do is wait it out and trust your processes and skills.
But when you can’t create, the solution is as Randy sez: refill the well. Spend time reading great books, listening to great music, watching quality movies that inspire you.
In her book “Around the Writer’s Blog” Rosanne Bane describes the brain science behind play, and how spending time playing with no attachment to any creative outcome restores the creative circuits in our brain. Shaping clay coloring pictures, playing a musical instrument just for fun.
Letting creative joy flow through you by taking it in and letting it flow out unhindered is the best way I know to fall in love with writing again. (And take a break from the work; don’t force it, you’ll struggle even longer.)
Joel D Canfield says
D’oh. Rosanne’s book is called Around the Writer’s Block.
Hello Randy, Hello Willian,
that is a terrible feeling! As if I had lost myself.
I too have been writing, as long as I can think.
But sometimes it stops. As if I had used up all the joy of writing, that I have in me.
Randy, your idea with the novel is great. I will try it sometime myself (hopefully not so soon).
Willian, there is one thing I have learned about that feeling: don’t panic!
The more I panic, the longer it takes. Just wait a while. It will come back.
It always comes back 🙂
And when it comes: try to hold it back a few days. Just forbid yourself to write.
If it works for you as for me: You will soon end in a very productive kind of writing ‘fury’. A wonderful state of mind.
All the best for you both
Kim Dickinson says
I haven’t been writing long but have on occasion experienced that lag – ‘urgh… I don’t feel like doing this’ feeling.
most times when it hits me its because I’m faced with uncertainty in my story, or I don’t like my plot structure, or my character sounds fake or it feels like a slog – but usually its connected to something in my writing that isn’t working and that makes me put the brakes on.
What I have discovered about myself is to sit down and write anyway – even the biggest load of drivel that I know I’ll delete tomorrow anyway – to write through it. Somehow, somewhere around half way into my writing time block ( I set 2 hr blocks of time as a minimum) I lose track of time and my writing is flying across the page. Before I know it , 3 , 4 hours have passed. I don’t always use what I’ve written but the mere act of writing , even though I might not initially like it, spurs on a creative phase – and perhaps (Joel above) is onto something – when you have no expectation, no end goal in sight,no clear promise to yourself of producing something even remotely good, it allows the mental shackles to come off. you have nothing to gain by bemoaning the fact your’e not writing so you may as well write anything, however trivial – eventually the joy will come.
I would definitely second the “read a great book” advice, but I’d go further and say read a lot of good books of all kinds. In your genre and out of it. Sometimes I get the urge to write from nonfiction if the ideas spark something. Good movies are great, too.
I feel for you as I have had a year or more of feeling like I have lost the love. I have kept going by writing small things – memoir pieces of my childhood for my grandson (one day), poems, blog post ideas. The key to all of these is I have no expectation of or need to see them published.
What I don’t do is go into bookstores. The sight of so many books on the shelves is, for me, very dispiriting. If you know what dispirits you and stops you writing for the joy of it, you know what to avoid!
Thanks Randy and everyone, I will read the book and try it all =)
L Jacob says
Thanks for the article!
I mostly indulge myself into reading or cooking/baking. At times I simply start painting.