Rekindle your passion for writing
Published: June 26, 2012
If you’ve suddenly run out of passion for your craft, don’t throw in the towel yet. It’s natural to experience a surge of inspiration one minute and feel depleted the next. Author and book coach Julie Isaac calls it “[t]he ebb and flow of our creativity.” When you’re in the flow, that feeling could be compared with being in love. When you’re not, you might find the lack of enthusiasm for your work reflected in envy toward other writers, procrastination, hopelessness and dissatisfaction with life.
Author Rebecca Talley believes “we lose passion when we don't care about or become bored with our subject.” She says, “I also think deadlines, burnout and writer's block can lead to lack of passion because we're trying to kidnap our muse instead of setting it free.” This can happen whether you’re writing full-time on a subject you’re not passionate about or devoted to a novel whose theme you’ve grown out of. When you try to cage your creative muse by adhering to rigid deadlines, attempting impossibly difficult projects or stifling your flexibility, you also become vulnerable to writing that feels forced instead of driven by passion.
The following tips will help you regain your enthusiasm when you’ve lost that loving feeling for your current project or for writing itself.
1. Get clear about your project.
Clarifying your current project can minimize confusion and potentially prevent blocks that can cause passionless writing. It can also help you to determine what’s causing your work to go stale. Life coach and freelance writer Nancy Colasurdo says a writer should “pay attention to an unsettled feeling, go within and figure out what is happening. If your job is in writing something formal but you have a desire to be more creative, start a project in your off-work hours.”
2. Switch things up.
A dull life breeds boring writing. Shake things up by trying out different writing environments, a new hobby, brainstorming technique or class. Search for topics, ideas and themes that excite and invigorate you. “Build out a non-work life that enriches you and carve out time to write what feels most organic,” suggests Colasurdo.
3. Do it anyway.
Even if you don’t feel like writing, the best remedy might be to write anyway. Writing coach Cynthia Morris encourages writers: “Commit to finishing at least one crappy first draft so you get to experience the entire arc of the creative process.” She recommends finding resources (e.g., a class, a coach) to remove issues that make you feel stuck or blocked. “Engagement in the specifics of your craft can distract the gremlin that wants you to focus on the fears instead,“ she says. While inspiration and passion may eventually come, Isaac says “all those things you think you need in order to write—inspiration, feeling connected to your project, energy and enthusiasm—are what you get from writing. When you’re not really feeling it, but you sit down and write anyway, more often than not the act of writing will reignite your passion.”
4. Write freely.
Sometimes your fears about doing it right can dampen your desire to write. Free writing can remove the pressure to write perfectly, allowing you to silence your inner editor and reconnect you with your passion to write, resulting in writing that flows. Morris suggests that writers practice free writing for at least ten minutes a day to reap the benefits.
Although rediscovering passion may seem like an overwhelming feat for an already-busy writer, the time invested is worth it. Passionate writers not only experience a renewed curiosity about writing, generate better ideas and develop enthusiasm for their work, but Morris says they also gain an appreciation for other areas of their lives. This will inevitably come through in your writing. “Your sentences will flow and dance across the page because you've injected those sentences with life and with purpose and meaning. And you'll push yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of,” Talley says. “Most importantly, if I'm not passionate about writing it, who’s going to want to read it?”
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Brandi-Ann Uyemura is an associate editor for Psych Central and a freelance copywriter, blogger and features writer.