Full disclosure: I live the majority of my life uninspired.
When writing daily devotionals this summer, I stared at my blank computer screen for hours. Hours! For a tiny, one-page devotional! The night before it was due I desperately concocted something and then rewrote it a hundred times because it didn’t sound good the first time. Ever.
When writing The Insatiable Quest for Beauty, it happened so naturally. I don’t remember struggling to write; I remember struggling to make myself stop for a few hours of sleep! So when I had no idea how to start writing my next book (Boycrazy), when I found myself void of inspiration and awkwardly twisting words together, I panicked.
How do you cut through writer’s block?
How do you write beautifully when void of inspiration?
Well this summer, here’s what I’ve been doing. And it’s really helped.
- Schedule time to write everyday. I know it sounds anything but inspired or romantic. Why would I make myself write everyday? I’ll just write when I’m inspired! It’ll be like magic. But writing everyday can lead to inspiration, form a routine, and help you focus on the craft of writing rather than solely relying on golden moments. I feel like my writing in Boycrazy is actually way better than in The Insatiable Quest for Beauty, because I’ve been forced to focus on the craft of writing.
- Read excellent authors. This summer I’ve been working my way through a Bodie Thoene series. There are lots of good authors, but Bodie strings her words together like a masterpiece! After reading a few chapters of her writing, I want to go string some words together myself, and try to make them sound as perfect as hers!
- Think outside the box. My favorite part of this summer has been forcing myself to describe scenarios in unique ways. I love using one sense to describe another sense; for example, “the delicious darkness,” using a taste word to describe a visual word. I love giving action to mundane moments and personality to inanimate objects. If I see an ordinary description word in my manuscript, I’ll often lean back in my desk chair and replay the moment in my mind. What did it smell, taste, feel like? What other words does it remind me of? What can I compare it to? (And where is my thesaurus?)
- Take breaks. I write for a specified, scheduled amount of time and then stop, so as not to burn myself out. I also take whole days (and sometimes weeks) off, time away from my work. That gives fresh perspective when I come back to it. But if inspiration strikes, then watch out world! You won’t see me for hours. Or days.
Don’t expect to write like Bodie Thoene every time. When I started writing and it sounded awful, I used to give up for the moment. What a waste of time! Now I disagree. If I start writing a horribly sounding chapter that I will end up scrapping, I keep writing anyway. Why? Putting the words on paper helps me think through what I want to say. The next time I write that chapter, it’s even easier. And there’s usually some hidden pearl that I can save from the original draft.
- Talk with people who inspire you. Usually that’s my mom. She gives me a kick in the pants to start writing. She’s like, “Just do it!” So I do.
We all love when inspiration strikes. However, for most of us, the majority of life is uninspired. We need a battle plan for those many moments when it’s blood, sweat, and tears rather than golden sunsets and glory.
These tips form the battle plan I’ve used this summer, and I can’t wait to share with you the Boycrazy book that’s come from them — the book I love so much — the book that has been born in uninspired moments.