Last week we talked about writing apathy — a debilitating and write-threatening disease that affects the will to write. If the thought of sitting at your computer for an hour leaves you whimpering for a copy of Us Weekly, you may be experiencing symptoms of this serious condition. For a more comprehensive list of the warning signs including: neglect of duties, lying, lawbreaking, and personality changes, click here.
Thankfully, there is a cure. The following remedies, plus a swift kick from a trusted reader, should help bring your writing health back to its optimum level.
Accept a Challenge: Those with a competitive spirit might respond well to raising the bar in their writing life. Creating deadlines, entering a writing contest, or simply making yourself accountable for daily word goals are all elixirs to battling writing apathy. I’ve found the #1KWordChallenge (where I’m dared to write at least 1,000 words in an hour) increases my output, and also helps silence my internal editor. Check out this post by author Jenny Torres Sanchez for the deets.
Read a Master: While nursing your illness, it could be helpful to read one of your old favorites, or to re-read a book on craft that has moved you to write in the past. Reading superb writing can inspire you to dig a little deeper, and, anyway, you need to get those fingers moving before the atrophy sets in.
Read a Disaster: Just like great writing can inspire you to similar greatness, bad writing gives the message that, “If this yokel somehow got on the shelf at my book store, then maybe I can, too!” At minimum, you’ll need to start writing again to drown out the lasting echoes of dialogue tags gone wild.
Try a Writing Prompt: If your apathy has left you cold for new ideas, there are some interesting ways to get writing again. Fiction writer, Christi Craig, sometimes starts with an unusual word (from Wordsmith.org, or otherwise), and uses it to create a piece of flash fiction. Memoirist, E. Victoria Flynn, participates in “Throw Me Thursday,” where she asks the Twitterverse to throw her a prompt. Find what kind of catalyst works for you, and then get writing.
Get Out, You Aspiring Hermit: Often, a bad case of writing apathy begs for a change of scenery. Go for a walk. Eavesdrop at the mall. Take a trip to your local museum (you know, the really local one that gets about five visitors a year). Listen. Observe. Take notes. Just beware of mall cops.
Find a Writing Buddy: If all else fails, turn to a critique group or writing friends for support. Don’t have a group? Then participate in an online chat, or head to your library. You can even search the blogosphere, grab a mentor by their coattails, and hope that they’ll drag you back to writing health. Writing is a mostly solitary venture, but regular checkup’s with your peers can kill apathy germs before they set in.
~Whichever remedy you try, make sure that your day involves at least fifteen minutes of old-fashioned BIC (butt-in-chair). This, along with the proper dose of any of the suggestions above, will help cure even the worst case of writing apathy.
Also, chocolate and your (legal) vice-of-choice can’t hurt.
This post was part of Get Inspired Monday! — a series created to help you dig into your week and find inspiration in unexpected places.
*Find me on Twitter @amandahoving