Do you dream about earning money through your written words? You know it could happen if only writing inspiration would strike and the muse would visit more often.
How’s that dream working out for you?
Because here’s the thing: waiting for writing inspiration is like finding money in the parking lot at the grocery store. Sure, it happens. But most of the time you spend a long time waiting, only to find a nickel. Or, more likely, a worthless beer bottle top.
Those rare days when miracles happen, when you find $50 in the parking lot AND you bang out 10,000 words of pure magical genius? Few and far between, my friend.
Those days are the basis of legend. Don’t sit around, waiting for them to happen to you.
The reality is, if you want to do anything with your writing besides filling random journals, you need to plant your butt in your seat and WORK. Sometimes it’s like, you know, a *real job.* You have to commit to working on it — and yourself — every day.
But let me tell you about what happens when you do that…
The Writer’s Dream
Ahhh…. you wake up every day and all you have to do is write. With all that time, you will consistently release masterpieces to adoring masses of fans. Your muse will permanently reside right next to you, constantly inspiring effortless works of art.
The money will roll in. Your name will be whispered alongside Stephen King and J.K. Rowling as some of the most prolific and profitable writers who have ever lived.
You wait… and wait… and wait. And then… nothing happens. Inspiration doesn’t strike, the nearly-empty document page in front of you doesn’t magically fill with perfect words, the money seems to run in the other direction.
You feel broken, afraid you’re not meant to be “a writer” after all. Why is it so easy for all those other people to make a living at this?
Well, it’s not. They have to work their tushes off every single day. Guess what? #hardtruth You’re nothing special (yet), so you need to do exactly the same thing!
How to Work When You’re NOT Inspired
1. Get up in the morning, grab your favorite beverage, and tell yourself you’ll only spend 10 minutes writing. Write about why you don’t want to write. Whine about why you can’t find any words. It doesn’t matter. Just do it for 10 minutes.
If you type quickly enough, chances are your writing will naturally migrate toward the topic you really NEED to write about. Even if it doesn’t, it’s pretty likely you’ll end up sitting there for longer than 10 minutes. Use the next 10 minutes to brainstorm write about whatever you’re actually SUPPOSED to be writing about. I know without a doubt, you will get something useful out of your writing session.
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
― Louis L’Amour
2. Instead of writing text, work on an outline or a brainstorm list of ideas. I especially love to brainstorm ideas. Sometimes you’ll write down an idea that seems completely unrelated to what you should be thinking about, and then days or weeks later you’ll come back to it and it will seem like the most genius thing you’ve ever thought of.
Related post: You’re a Creative Writer: Be an Ideas Person
3. Set firm deadlines.
I don’t mean, “It would be sort of nice if I could write 2K words a day.”
I mean, “I told my friends and family AND my Facebook writers group that my book would be released on ‘x’ date. Working backward, allowing time for editing, revising, and formatting… Oh, crap, I need to write!”
A sense of urgency is a very VERY good thing. You know what happens then? You write. You may write the biggest pile of dog poop you’ve ever read, but that’s okay! By the time you’re done revising, you’ll have something good. Sometimes you have to dig through a bunch of crap before you find the gold.
4. “Write drunk, edit sober.” Okay, I’m not advising that you become an alcoholic. But there’s a reason that saying exists.
Find something that relaxes you, allows you to let go of your inhibitions and write REAL things. It may be a glass of wine, a shot of schnapps, earbuds and your favorite music, a makeout session with your partner, meditation… something, anything. Find what works. Experiment a little with different options. And then go with the flow.
If earning money with your writing — or at least seeing your name in print on a regular basis — is your dream, you CAN do it. But you CANNOT sit around and wait for your muse.
Do these things, and writing inspiration WILL come to you. Perhaps your muse will even fall in love with you. (It’s always easier to fall in love with someone who works their ass off than someone who sits around like a lazy bum waiting for you to do all the work. 😉 ) Even if your muse doesn’t arrive and turn writing into magic, it’s a sure bet that your work will get done.
Write every day
Improve your skills
Congratulations — you’re a writer!
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