How to Keep Going As A Writer When Life Sucks
So in the past week, life has certainly been giving me a go in its blender, lol. I won’t bore you with all the details, but the circumstances of my week were extremely traumatizing and draining. My inspiration was draining away more and more each second, and my will to do anything, including writing (which is the love of my life), was quickly dwindling. That is, until I decided that I wasn’t going to let external circumstances determine the death of my dream.
How do you keep writing and keep going, even when you have nothing left? I have four tips that I have used in the past that have really worked for me. I am using them even now to keep myself going, and I will keep going, even if I need to drag myself to my goals! 🙂 I’ll show you how I build my “Inspiration Arsenal” and perhaps you can help add to this growing list with your own tactics for keeping up the good fight!
- Have a portfolio or list of your goals and keep referring back to them. What are your goals as a writer, publisher, or both? Do you have a list of goals and dreams? If not, MAKE one! Don’t be shy either. Don’t edit your goal list and cheat yourself out of your wonderful dreams. Even better, use a picture portfolio. Cut out magazine pics of book series or movies or plays you like, authors you admire, perhaps places you want to live or visit, and put them into a narrative. Allow that narrative to speak to where you want to be as an author. Put those goals all around your living space to remind you that there are bigger things to achieve and live for.
- Build a collection of inspirational readings, videos, audios, and music to rejuvenate your soul and read / watch / listen to them! (Especially if they are about writing and succeeding as an author!) Yes, a lot of you might roll your eyes and smirk at the mere mention of self-help books, tapes, videos, or whatever, but it works for me. Hearing the deep, powerful, and positive lolls of Les Brown, or a few choice songs off my “Achieve Your Dream” playlist, or reading Stephen King’s sagacious words in his book “On Writing”, have always helped to keep me anchored in a broader, more positive perspective. It lets me know that there are other writers (and non-writers) who are living life too, and they are still succeeding; I remember that I am part of a larger writing community and that I can pull strength from their achievements. Any positive reinforcement you can put into your arsenal MUST be there for those rough times.
- Make a list of TEN things you are grateful for, as a human being and as a writer. More than likely, if you are sitting here reading this post, you are more fortunate than a vast majority of other people in the world. For one, you can read. Don’t take for granted your ability to read, write, speak, and think intelligently and critically. Be grateful. If you have your health, be pleased about it. If you are loved or can love others, be relieved for it… and then write about it! Use a list, or write a scene where a character actually takes a minute in his or her crap life to realize the few good things in life. Become a character for a moment and write your thoughts into theirs, and see where that takes you. And on that note:
- WRITE a story about your situation, your happiness, and your pain. And then use it to bring a deeper realism to your writing. Like most people, I’ve gone through some pretty crazy things in my lifetime, including witnessing violence and abuse as well as even witnessing a suicide. These situations were incredibly traumatizing, and in those moments, I had no clue how life would proceed from those points. The only way forward for me, emotionally and mentally, was to write about it. It has brought some interesting (and realistic) depth into my stories and screenplays, and there are points in narrative and dialogue that are pulled directly from real life. These moments that might have destroyed me I now use as narrative devices that will hopefully strengthen my writing in the end.
So there you have it. I was feeling icky today from this past week’s events, and in some senses, I am still healing. Healing takes time and endurance. But honestly, by applying these four principles, I was able to stand back up, write a few more pages of my novel, and crank out this blog post for you all, and I’ll do it again tomorrow too. Just keep putting one foot in front of the other and do what you can, little by little. Remember: one foot in front of the other.
Happy writing! And of course, keep it indie, and KEEP GOING. You’re not alone.