What do we do when our passion for our project starts to fizzle? When none of our words seem particularly brilliant, funny, profound, or even the slightest bit entertaining. When we just feel like we are going through the motions?
Well, I think there are two sides to this dilemma. One is the fact that despite our efforts, our writing (especially in the first draft stage) is not necessarily going to blow us away. That’s why they are only first drafts. So sometimes we do have to just go through the motions - just so we can get to that point where we can write “The End” at the bottom of the page. Of course, writers know in our hearts that when we write those treasured words “The End” on a first draft, it really is only the beginning.
The second aspect to this dilemma is that maybe our well really has run a bit dry. I think our creative enthusiasm is linked to what is going on in our world. While I don't believe you should wait until the "perfect" time to write (rarely will that happen), I do think that our exterior life can definitely impact our interior one. When you are feeling uninspired and run-down, maybe it’s time to stop and reflect. Is life particularly stressful right now? Are there extenuating family circumstances that are monopolizing your thoughts? Are you getting sleep? Exercise? Water? Are you getting any of those things on a regular basis? When was the last time you went in for a check-up? Have your overcommitted to other activities or organizations that are requiring an overabundance of time and energy? Or even just a lot of seemingly little jobs that quickly add up in their time demands? Are you surrounded by clutter? Have stacks of paper and to-do lists piled up, offering little hope of ever reaching the bottom and seeing your kitchen counters again?
If you’re anything like me, you’re exhausted just reading this list. And if you’re anything like me - you may see yourself in quite of few (or all!) of these questions and scenarios. Now imagine how all of that can impact your creative energy (or any kind of energy for that matter - your job energy, parenting energy, spouse energy, etc.). No wonder we can struggle to feel passionate about our projects!
So what can we do? Tackling all of these issues at once is most likely going to stress us out even more. Maybe start with one, relatively simple area first. If the mess of the house leading to stress, then ask yourself if you can afford to get someone to come in and help clean - even just once a month. Haven’t exercised in a while? Maybe commit to walking the block (even better taking the dog too) three times a week or just ten minute a day. Drowning in clutter? Spend 15 minutes a day decluttering a section (or try flylady.net for inspiration). Pair up with a friend to challenge yourself in a particular area, such as both trying to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day. (Hi Carol - I'm finishing water number 9 as I write this!) You get the idea.
Maybe by tackling some of these exterior distractions, we can refocus on our interior creativity. For more ideas on how to overcome writer fatigue - I highly recommend writer Kristi Holl’s Writer’s First Aid blog at http://kristiholl.net/writers-blog/. Somehow Kristi always seems to know exactly what I’m struggling with, and, better yet, she has wonderful suggestions on how to tackle the issues. I also highly recommend her books Writer’s First Aid and More Writer’s First Aid.
The most important thing to remember is that you are not in this alone. As far as I can tell, all writers struggle at times. You just need to try and remember to stop and replenish your own well and then keep moving forward to that treasured “The End” (aka “The Beginning”). I'm cheering for you!