Be Boring

When I was first starting to really take myself seriously as a writer (as in writing every day and trying to actively get published), I remember thinking that I was way too boring to write anything exciting. I mean, I don't do drugs, or get black out drunk every night. I don't go wild and travel through dangerous areas in the dead of night. Hell, I think the most dangerous thing I do on a regular basis is walk into my bookshelf nearly every morning when I'm getting ready for work because despite nearly a year of it being in the same place, it's always a surprise!

I grew up with stories about the wild antics of writings, with the motto 'write drunk, edit sober' being thrown around by everyone I knew. I always thought I was too much of a bore to fit in, but what I've found over the last few years has been the opposite. Schedules actually help me keep at my writing more than any sort of wild life ever could. 

Knowing that I'm home by 4 every day and sticking to the schedule lets me prepare to write. It's become a habit now. I don't have to sit and wait to be inspired to write, it's simply 4:00 and time to write. Most of the writers I know who are successful do this. They write and take care of themselves. There are always exceptions to the rule, but by and large, the writers who are making it in the creative world work on schedules, not whims. 

Now clearly not every day works out in an ideal way, but having a steady life where I am not totally clueless about what's coming next helps keep me grounded. When I'm not stressing about what's going to happen tomorrow (or where I'm going to get my next fix) keeps me focused on the story at hand. I've fond that the only real way to get any writing accomplished is really simple: sit on your butt (or stand at your standing desk) and write. There's nothing else that puts the words into the world. Not talking about writing, not daydreaming, not reading. At the end of the day the only way to write is.... to write.

And a boring, stable life helps that happen.

Now, that doesn't mean you have to keep a boring life in all aspects. Try new things, travel to new places, eat weird food that you can't pronounce, and do things that scare you, but never feel like having a stable life is a disadvantage when it comes to being creative.

Source: Photo by Eutah Mizushima on Unsplash

Write Like You Because There is No One Right Way to Write

Confession time!

I am a morning person. I love the morning. I love getting up early and getting things done before other people are out of bed. I love breakfast more than any other meal in the world (except maybe brunch) and I want to eat the second I open my eyes.

Most of my friends are night people (RESPECT!) but I would much rather go to bed early and deal with the world in the morning. Things get weird after midnight. What's embarrassing about this is how long it took me to actually admit. I like the idea of being a night person, and the countless articles floating around about how night owls are more creative makes my writer self chafe.

I tried for many years to make night owl work for me. I'd stay up late with my friends, write at night, and generally shun the day, but it never led to me being very good at being I became a miserable zombie just blindly poking at a keyboard and hoping for the best.

Everyone has their own quirks and their own habits for writing. You develop a system that works. Some people write in coffee shops or else not at all while other people can't write anywhere but their office. Neither one of them is wrong, just different. Over the years, I've realized that fighting against your process is dumb and helps nothing. I know I write better in the morning but I constantly try to write at night because that's what so many other people do. I might be a strong, independent woman but that allure of 'writing the right way' keeps drawing me back even though I know there is no one right way.

Write when you can when it's best for you, and forget what other people are doing. Maybe some people would rather sleep until noon and write until 3 am, if it works for them awesome! Maybe some people write in marathon 10,000 word binge all nighters. But don't ever feel like someone else's process has to be yours.

What works for you might even change over the years and that's okay. Life happens, circumstances change and you keep rolling with it. Writing can be a chaotic, emotionally draining pursuit, don't make it harder by trying to be someone you're not. There is no one magical right way to write, it's whatever way works for you.

Source: Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

Believe in Magic

I'm not a big believer in the idea of the muse. If I only wrote when I felt magically inspired, in the flow of writing, very little would ever happen. But that doesn't mean that I don't see the moments the muse shows her fickle butt up to the party. For me, the muse regularly shows up when I'm in the shower, or washing dishes. Something about my hands being covered in soap and water really makes the muse smack my brain with all of the great ideas. What an ass. 

I fully believe that writers need inspiration to keep going, to solve the problems that inevitably arise in stories. Maybe it's in the spark of an idea, or the sudden connection of two ideas to solve a problem.  So what can you do to coax some inspiration out? Well here are 5 little tips.

1. Stop forcing it. 

Sitting at the computer and demanding to be hit by the inspiration stick usually just leads to a lot of frustration and not a lot of production. Sit down (or stand or walk!) and get to work. Maybe inspiration shows up, maybe it doesn't but you've got work to do. 

2. Take time off

Work, work, work is a recipe for burn out and a whole lot of nope. Take time off from your work. Go outside, take a shower, wash dishes, do laundry, play a game, do something else. Give your subconscious time to stir the soup of ideas. 

3. Talk it out. 

Sometimes you've got to talk the little gremlins down. What I mean is, sometimes you need to take that plot problem out of your head and into the physical world. It doesn't matter if you're talking out the plot problem with your cat, dog, stuffed weasel, whatever. What matters is getting the words together to explain it. I'm amazed at the number of times simply speaking it out loud makes a solution suddenly click into place. 

4. Have fun. 

Go and do something you enjoy. Take a hike, a bubble bath, a nap. Do something that you enjoy, feed the muse some happiness. 

5. Remember you're more than your muse. 

So maybe your muse is MIA and you're feeling like crap. Your self worth is not tied up in your muse taking a day (or more) off. You're still amazing. Take some time to re-fill your creative well and that muse will be back. 

Magic happens in the mundane, you just have to pay attention enough to catch it.