Wednesday, May 07, 2014
When The Passion Fizzles
Sorry, people. We’re skipping sex and going straight to passion. Because whether it’s sex or art or work or writing, without passion, it’s all pretty boring.
Unfortunately, there are times when the passion ebbs. When life throws a couple serious curveballs and the last thing you feel like doing is writing a humorous essay. Or maybe the grind of day-in, day-out writing weighs you down with indifference. Or possibly the frustration of watching others succeed while you still plug away has left you drained, with a “meh” scrawled across the page.
It’s not that you’re blocked. It’s just the blahs. And if you’re not careful, the blahs can turn into a three-year detour and waking up one morning, thinking, “Didn't I want to be a writer once?”
Writer friends don’t let writer friends quit. So let’s consider a few cures for when the passion fizzles:
Permission to Take a Break
Sometimes, you just have to take a break from writing. Circumstances may come along making it impossible to find the time to write, much less tap into your creativity. The problem with taking a break is that it can s-t-r-e-t-c-h into a permanent vacation. So when you absolutely need a break, give yourself permission to take off, but also give yourself a time limit, an actual date that you will get back to writing. Even if, when you get back to writing, you have to resort to the next tactic.
Write Through It
I’ve had to write through challenging situations. But honestly, most writers will tell you the same. And I suspect they do what I do: follow the “fake it till you make it” plan. It’s stringing together one word after another and pushing on, even if the words don’t exactly sing. Chances are good that the words will still carry the tune until you get your perfect pitch back. (Or maybe you’re still falling flat. See the next step.)
Change of Scenery
I know you’re hoping I mean a change of scenery to some exotic port of call. But if I took off for Acapulco every time I faced the writing blahs, I’d be broke (or more broke than I already am). No, I’m suggesting a walk around the block. Or maybe a brisk stroll in the park. Get those endorphins pumping through your system. Not only will you feel physically better, you’ll feel more creative. Or so say the scientists who study the effects of walking.
Change of Pace
Of course, you can also rev up the endorphins with a change of writing pace. Pump up your brain cells with a stimulating challenge. If you can’t take another minute of that dry article you’ve been working on, give your mind a little break and tackle something different. I sometimes try the Saturday Evening Post limerick contest. Maybe you’d like to try the WOW!Women on Writing Spring Flash Fiction contest. The important thing here is to keep working. One of these strategies is bound to put the passion back in your writing and make those words sizzle again. As for sex…
(Seriously? You fell for that again?)
~Cathy C. Hall