It happens to everyone. Whether you write, draw, sculpt, work on cars, have a hobby; you fall into ruts or you lose inspiration. I find this to be especially true when you have a passion that you desperately want to grow into a career. It is hard to turn anything into a career, and it is even harder when you are doing it 100% yourself, lacking connections and money to spin dreams into reality for you. It is difficult, so how are you supposed to stay focused on the goal when the journey is so hard? How are you supposed to feel inspired when everything you do is rejected or shot down?
I am not an expert in winning, or constantly being inspired or reaching the top of the mountain, though I do have experience in losing, and being rejected, and falling down and picking myself back up. And in this current saturated landscape of trying to be noticed online for your passion I have some strategies that I have adapted to in order to keep my head afloat, even when I feel like sinking.
- Write small one page prompts if you have nothing for a larger story.
- There are so many places to find writing prompts. Search it on Pinterest and thousands of ideas will pop up. Reddit has an entire space dedicated to prompts, and you can even share your prompts; r/writingprompts. Or I always enjoy reading the Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day and creating a story out of the first thing that comes to mind. They have an email list for their Word of the Day, which I have subscribed too. Not only do writing prompts force you to think, the short stories they help you produce can be expanded upon and developed into a larger project. It can also provide some reference material for when you need to work on your main project but have run out of ideas.
- Create a vision board.
- Vision boards can be digital or material. I find that being able to reference my goals makes me more excited to put forth the effort to accomplish them. Finding pictures and quotes for vision boards is an adventure of its own too. It forces you to think about the “why” of your work and the path to reach it. It is always there for you when you are feeling hopeless.
- Do things, even if it has nothing to do with writing.
- I have a bad habit of stopping my life when I get down. If I feel like a failure when it comes to one aspect of my life I shut down every where else so I don’t have to face failure from multiple sources, and it is really hard to break free from those chains. That’s why I find it so important to drag myself up and do something small, something simple, something that has nothing to do with writing. Maybe it’s taking a trip to the dog park, baking cookies, or doing dishes. These things are all important and needed done anyways, and now that I’ve started moving it’s easier to keep that momentum going.
- Continue evolving.
- Stick with your passion. Change your methods. I love writing. I have so much to say and I need a place to express it. This I know. Though I do not always know the best way to go about bringing it to the public. I have gone through different sites to share ideas, I have submitted blog posts or short stories to publications. And I have not seen the results. I won’t stop submitting, however I knew I needed my own space. So I started a blog. And maybe this won’t work either but I will grow from this chapter and be able to go that much farther in the next one.
- Take breaks.
- Even if it’s an unintentional break, embrace it. I get caught up in work and school and if that means I don’t write for a few days then that means I get to look at my work in progress with a fresh set of eyes. Occasionally I will still beat myself up about neglecting the thing I enjoy doing most, but that never brings more productivity. It’s also great to take intentional breaks. Looking at something nonstop will desensitize you to mistakes. Take some time to read a book and have a quiet evening.
- Write something, you can always change it.
- If I am determined to work on my WIP, but have no inspiration I still force myself to write something even if it is just basic plot building and there is barely any story telling. That is still valid and necessary work to completing a novel, and as it is incomplete I can go back and change it once I have had time to ponder and develop ideas and words into something more beautiful.
- Understand that everyone has had to struggle.
- What you see on social media is carefully curated to only show something desirable. Nobody is posting every single rejection they’ve ever experienced, or the days of nothing. The days where little happens and it’s just oh so ordinary. What we see is a small percentage of real life. It’s cropped, edited, or one piece of the whole pie. Social media does not show time either. What we, as consumers, may see as a finished product we rarely see the team behind it. If we see one post there may have been hundreds of hours of planning, working, and tears to create that. It is one snapshot not a whole life and we can’t expect our own lives to be like social media 100% of the time, since that is not true for any one person alive.
- Success is not a competition.
- We are happy when someone finds success, or at least our idea of what we find successful. Yet, if it’s success in our field, or it’s someone we know there is that small voice that is angry it wasn’t us. However, that voice is toxic. Just because someone has “made it” doesn’t mean your spot has been taken. Success can come to everyone in their own time.