Sometimes you just don’t feel like writing. Most writers have been there at one point or another. I suspect in 2020, it’s been even more difficult for many of us. Despite the best intentions and motivations, writers do not always feel up to the task. So what can you do when you just can’t imagine putting one more word to page?
Books about the craft of writing are wonderful tools for keeping your skills sharp even when you’re not actively writing. Everyone could use an occasional reminder about the rules of language. Craft-related books are an excellent source for not only the conventions of writing, but for learning new techniques. When you simply don’t feel like writing, re-familiarize yourself with your favorite books about writing. Explore a title or two you’ve heard about, but have yet to read. Consider this break as a foray into continuing your education.
Do you remember why you wanted to become a writer? Most of us become writers because we read a book that opened our eyes to the possibility of language and of stories. What do you love about the books you read that makes you want to emulate them? Maybe it’s time to revisit the stories you love, as well as others that just bring you enjoyment. The writer you desire to be is locked somewhere in those stories. Go back to the start, learn from the masters who encouraged you to start your writer’s journey. Rediscover your inspiration.
What better time to explore other creative endeavors than when you’re in a slump with your writing? Even if you find it impossible to write, you may be able to distract yourself with other projects. Maybe now is the time to pick up woodworking, return to that cross stitch you started years ago or begin painting. Staying creative is key. Our best writing ideas often come to us when we’re creatively distracted. Jot these ideas down until you feel you’re ready to expand upon them.
Do It Anyway
It’s not the advice most of us like to hear, but sometimes the best solution for not being able to write is to write. Shut out the distractions of the outside world and your inner doubts and carry on. If this sounds daunting, make it easy. Start with simple prompts. Create random character sketches. Jot down a terrible poem with the intention of showing it to no one. Just keep writing if you can. Forcing your hand to go through the action ensures the muscle memory that makes you a writer remains intact.