As writers, we all have days where we don’t feel inspired to put words on the page. We know we’re supposed to write, but for whatever reason, we don’t have the ability to write at a prescribed time.
You’ve probably heard this quote:
I only write when I am inspired. Fortunately I am inspired at 9 o’clock every morning.— William Faulkner
If we’re honest, we know setting inspiration to a clock is an impossible task.
Some will say they never have writer’s block.
Wouldn’t it be great to have so many ideas you never run out?
The person who says this is a liar.
We all have days where we run out of ideas, or the ideas we have at our disposal don’t feel right to write about at the particular moment we are scheduled to put words on the page.
Some days it feels impossible to connect the walking of my fingertips with the writing prompts at my disposal.
I’m positive Jerry Seinfeld had his comedian hat on when he said:
Writer’s block is a phony, made up, BS excuse for not doing your work.— Jerry Seinfield
Writer’s block is masquerading as procrastination or fear.
When you get past those insecurities you’ll find you are able to move, able to produce fruitful writing in spite of insecurities.
On the days I don’t feel like writing I find paying attention to life provides a source of inspiration. If you learn to listen to the inspiration you come into contact with you can learn to glean an opportunity to write about anything.
- Look around
- Look outside
- Consider feelings: what has you happy, excited, or down today?
- Watch a movie, not to be confused with a Netflix binge
- Observe pets
- Read a book
- Note familial interactions/activities
When you pay attention to life it provides fodder to write.
Timeless Writing Prompts
I love Twitter chats. I was on one the other night and inspired by these prompts. I always leave with something I’m able to use as a writing prompt, and on this particular chat, the specific topic of writing prompts came up.
Barry Davret gets credit for these:
- If I’m in a bind, I’ll think of an old memory by prompting myself with a year and season: Fall 2008, for example. Then I’ll use whatever pops into my head.
- What was the most significant decision I made today?
Tom Reid gets credit for this one:
- The never-ending horizon causes depression and a desire to give up. You can stand anything if you know how long it is going to last. Write about that.
It got me to thinking about how to capture the ideas in the moments of life that may otherwise escape us.
A lot of people capture ideas in a journal. A daily habit of writing, either long-form or in digital form is an excellent source of writing material. When you capture the raw emotion of life: pain, joy, fear, or something that makes you cry, you may be able to use it on your writing.
Something I’ve found helpful is to capture the idea and form it into a title with notes of the emotions and what was happening at the time so I can develop the writing later. I usually add a graphic too.
When I have ideas at the ready, my writing time is a productive time.
Aristotle felt that persuasion was composed of three things — ethos, pathos, and logos. The quality of your character (ethos), the passion of your beliefs (pathos), and the words (logos) you use to express yourself are the three ingredients to defeat skepticism.
On days you feel skeptical about whether or not you can write I want to encourage you that you can write something worthwhile today.
It may just take a little forethought.
Writing is the only thing that when I do it, I don’t feel I should be doing something else.— Gloria Steinem
With inspiration, literally, at your fingertips, you can write any time you want to write.
Get our of your own way and write something great today.
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