At first, being a writer can be lots of fun. You have good ideas you want to share. You want to reach people and tell them stories. You want to change lives, become respected for your opinions, and show people how great you are.
Time goes by. Writing isn’t that much fun anymore. It’s become a bit of a chore. No one seems to care what you publish. Your good ideas are harder to come up with.
One day, you wake up and realize writing isn’t exciting anymore. You have to drag yourself to the computer, force yourself to come up with a new topic, and mentally berate yourself for hours because you can’t even get past the second paragraph of a single post.
Reach people? Change lives? Get respect? Please. You’re just trying to get something out there so that your subscriber numbers don’t drop off.
You can call it a slump. You can say you have writer’s block. You can even believe some mysterious force has cursed you and your writing, if you’d like.
Maybe you just need to fall in love again.
The Old Tricks Won’t Work
This isn’t a post about busting writer’s block. The usual tactics of showing up every day, trying to find inspiration in new places, or taking a walk to clear your mind won’t work in your situation.
You don’t have writer’s block. What you have is disenchantment.
And you fix disenchantment in completely different ways.
Disenchantment happens when writing isn’t giving you the same thrill anymore. When you first started writing, you’d get a little glow of excitement when you when you wrote a post that was good. You couldn’t wait to write the next one because that feeling was so great.
You nurtured it. And then you stopped, because writing became ordinary, part of every day.
It’s like courtship. You meet someone you like, he likes you back, and there’s good chemistry between you. Sparks fly. Your heart beats faster. You blush often. You catch yourself smiling for no reason. You talk together for hours, on every subject under the sun. You can’t wait to see him again.
Eventually, you move in together. You become a couple. He’s there, every day… and then one day you realize he’s there. Every day.
Couples who succeed in building long-lasting relationships don’t live happily together for decades just because they love each other. They nurture the relationship. They work at it and care about it. They spice it up to keep it steady and strong, rekindling intimacy. They learn how to fall in love again, and again, and again.
If you’ve lost the love for your writing, spicing up your relationship may be just what the doctor ordered.
Go On a Trip
Writing feels mundane when it becomes mundane. You do it every day, probably in at home or in an office that’s so familiar you don’t even notice it anymore.
Taking a trip – and bringing your writing along – helps you appreciate what it does for you in a new and different way. Daily journaling of your adventures gives you a way to process what’s happening and what you’ve experienced.
You’ll enjoy your adventures more because you have writing with you.
There aren’t any pressures to write a certain way or box yourself into a particular style. You’ll be writing for the pleasure of it, which allows you to remember why you enjoyed writing so much in the first place. You’ll forget that you associate writing with the everyday. You’ll look forward to chronicling your adventures and all the sights you’ve seen.
Your writing becomes associated with newness, with exploring the world through fresh eyes.
Take a two-day trip for the weekend, just you and a notebook. Go camping. Go to a nice hotel by yourself. Go visit a place you’ve never been. Go do an activity you’ve never done. If you feel really ambitious, go to another country.
But get out of your house. And get out for longer than just a few hours.
Try New Activities
If you’re not able to run off and take a short vacation, you can imbue your life with a similar sense of adventure with less of a time commitment.
Take up a new activity. It can be anything, so long as it isn’t related to writing. Learn a martial art. Join a knitting group. Try ice skating or hiking. Join a choir group or a drama club. Sign up for a bookbinding class at your local library. Start showing up for the weekly live jazz events at your local coffee shop.
There are only two rules: the activity has to be a genuinely new to you, something you’ve never done before. And it has to make you ever-so-slightly uncomfortable.
When you start a new activity, it works your brain in different ways. You’ll learn about yourself, and you’ll bring those discoveries home to your writing. You’ll be excited to share. You’ll feel invigorated about your weekly adventures.
Taking up a new activity gives you a way to feel excitement again, just as you felt when you first began writing. And you’ll be eager to find out what writing will bring out of you.
Take Care of Yourself
One of the most common problems in writer/writing relationships that fall apart is that the writer feels unworthy.
Maybe they feel like they once had something good to say. Maybe once they were a person who could change lives with their words. But right now, they’re feeling kind of lame. They haven’t written in weeks. What they write isn’t very good. And they’re not really that interesting of a person. They’re not that smart. They’re not that insightful.
Sometimes fretting over why writing doesn’t work for you anymore isn’t what needs to change in your life. Sometimes writing isn’t working simply because you aren’t working.
Start taking care of yourself, and you’ll stop feeling self-doubt.
Have conversations with other people. Delve into new books to gain knowledge. Spend lots of quality time with your family. Play more. Eat right and exercise regularly. Take good care of your clients, and have a handful of interesting hobbies.
With all these great influences in your life, you’ll become the kind of person you’d want to hear from. You’ll start feeling worthy of being in a relationship with your writing. You’ll have no reason to hate on yourself, and every reason to believe that what you have to say is valuable.
You’ll also start seeing yourself as a pretty valuable person.
And that might be just what you need to fall in love with writing again.