Lately I’ve been feeling bored of myself. Uninspired by my own writing.
I also know that this feeling — the “meh” that comes over me when I look at what I’ve already written — is a form of my resistance.
Our love of writing is less about words and sentences than we may think. It’s about the ineffable source that exists underneath the words we write.
The game of it, for writers, is to try to put the unwriteable into words.
When we’re bored with ourselves, it’s because we need to connect to that ineffable source again.
We need to remember that the sentences aren’t the most important part of the process.
If writing was just about words, we would be so bored, all the time!
Here are three ways to effectively connect to that source again:
1. Give yourself a break. Be unproductive for a day: give your subconscious a chance to let go, wander aimlessly, and get to know what curiosity feels like, again. The simplest way I know to get to this place is to take a long walk without a destination — sans music, podcast, or other distraction.
2. Rather than working from the notes you’ve already written, try writing from scratch. Create a brand new blank document for every new draft you write.
3. When you begin writing, don’t try to “write the story” or “write the novel” — instead, just focus on something small and exact, and describe it slowly. Try to write the “is-ness” of a detail: the white thread hanging loose from the serged edge of an eyelet dress, or the curved handle of that chipped, tea-stained teacup.
Let your consciousness drift as you describe one specific detail, no matter how odd or small it may be. As you describe it, let go of your need to know or control anything else in the story, until you feel your enchantment (curiosity, inspiration — whatever you like to call it) rise up again.
Remember: even though you’re writing a new draft of something you’ve already written, there’s still plenty you don’t know about the story, the setting, the characters. Even in a final draft, there’s lots to be curious about.
When you’re feeling curious, you know you’re back on the right track.
Photo credit (top): Mukuko Studio on Unsplash