Often when it comes to periods where I’m less inspired to write, the problem has nothing to do with writing.
For example, if you’re busy and overwhelmed throughout the day, when it comes to sitting down to write in the evening it’s difficult. It’s not that you’re not inspired but instead that your mind is frazzled. You can’t focus because you’re distracted by everything else that is going on.
When you put pen to paper or fingers to keys, the words don’t flow because your mind isn’t clear. But it’s not writers block, your simply just blocked overall. And as soon as things are no longer overwhelming or you spend time to get yourself back to a more harmonious state, the writing starts to get easier again.
You know the feeling you get when you read something that resonates. You feel seen, you feel heard and you feel connected, often to a complete stranger.
But this person was able to form something that encapsulates a feeling or a moment from your life. It can often serve as a reminder that we’re not so different or as separate from each other as we sometimes end up believing.
If you can be moved by words written 200 years ago then our problems, challenges and experiences aren’t so unique to us, there are plenty of other people that know what it’s like. In my teenage years I liked to beelive that somehow the author knew that I’d need to read their words, almost as if they wrote them just for me. Of course that wasn’t the case but it was a nice thought at the time.
I’ve held on to that idea but allowed it to evolve a little. As someone who writes and shares their words, I never write with a particular person in mind but I know that people are often drawn to read about things they can relate to.
I’ve read great words that have moved me and so I hope to do the same. I guess it’s sort of like taking one and passing it on.
‘I wrote this for you because of what they wrote for me.’
When it comes to this blog, I’m in charge of the writing process and you are in charge of the rest. That includes the views, likes, comments and how popular each post gets.
As the creator, as much as you might want to be, you can’t be in control of the numbers and of how well your work performs because that’s not your role.
Your role is to do the work and as long as you’re doing it well, you have to learn to be okay with everything that comes with it.
Obviously if you earn a living from creating, the stakes are much higher. You might need to report back to someone and of course what they want to hear is that the numbers have gone up and at worst that they’ve stayed the same.
However, in spite of the above, I think it’s good to look at the numbers occasionally (even if they don’t affect your income). It can be useful to see the kind of stuff that is performing well. For example, one of my most popular posts is about Instagram and I’m also aware that my posts about being a writer and the writing process tend to do fairly well. I enjoy writing about those topics so choosing to do more of that would be a win-win for me as the writer and you as the reader. I wouldn’t have that knowledge without looking at the numbers.
But most importantly, the key is to not become so attached to the point that you’re happy when the numbers are up and sad when they’re down. The only thing you need to do is create.
As a writer, when it comes to the written word I think it holds a lot of value.
However, I have to admit that when it comes to communication, the written word doesn’t always come out on top.
In a back and forth exchange, it’s easy to miss the tone or intention of the words you receive. You don’t get the sound of the voice, the volume or the face expression. When all you have to go off is words, you end up filling in the blanks and making things up.
It’s easy to assume the worst, especially when you already have your guard up. Maybe you misread the tone and assume the persons words were intended to be harsh which in turn then influences how you choose to respond. Before you know it the situation has become something that it didn’t even need to be.
So, maybe next time before things get out of hand you can simply arrange to talk face to face or at least make a phone call.
A few ideas for writing routines for those that blog everyday.
Write a full post on your commute to and from work
If you work 9-5 this gives you the opportunity to write 10 posts within 5 days and then at the weekend you don’t have to write at all. Getting into the routine of writing at a set time each day means you start associating that specific time with the writing process which can help you find your flow.
Write one post every evening
This is the most simple routine. It gives you the whole day to live your life and the evening can become a time of reflection where you think about what has happened throughout the day and then choose something to write about. The only issue with this method is it doesnt allow you to have time off.
Write at any time of day but batch schedule your posts
This allows you to work quite freely whilst the batching means you can always stay a few days ahead or give yourself time off from writing.
The writing process is just a stream of thought that I lock into for long enough to pour out a hundred words or so.Gemm 2019
On a good day the words just flow, I don’t have to try and I don’t have to sit and hope that something interesting comes to mind.
But on other days it’s a little more challenging.
It feels like there is a blockage or resistance, the words come to me with much less ease. It’s not about self-expression or inspiration, it’s about getting it done.
I’ve taught myself to write on both days. It’s become less about good and bad writing days (and potentially giving in to writers block), instead it’s about accepting that some writing days will be easier than others.
Looking through drafts is a great way to observe your growth as a writer. Many time you come across things your current self would never write and so you press delete. Other times you come across good ideas that are poorly written out and you then have the option to just delete them and start over or to tend to them with a fresh perspective.
I believe that most writers drafts or deleted content far outweighs what they’re shared and put out into the world.
It’s quite obvious that the things that get deleted aren’t considered worth sharing. Perhaps, it had been in your drafts for a few months or even years but every time you went back to it, you didn’t really like it enough to work on it a little more and complete it. Maybe it just wasn’t a good idea, it happens and it’s perfectly okay.
Then, there are the drafts.
There are days when you write, write and write some more. This results in an influx of ideas and some of these ideas are ‘microwavable’ whilst others are more like seeds.
The ‘microwave’ ideas don’t take much time to be brought to life. They’re not necessarily instant but if you set a little time to work on them you can finish them fairly easily. They don’t stay drafts for long.
Then there are the ideas that are like seedlings, these ones require time, care and attention. They can’t be rushed and if if you ever try to hurry them along, you’ll never be happy with the result. But if you’re willing to have patience these ideas will flourish when they finally come alive in all their glory.
I recently realised that I enjoy writing about current events.
One of my most read posts is about Instagram guides, I think I published it a day after guides became available to everyone, it was a hot topic.
If I’d written the post a few days or even weeks later it would have no longer been relevant. Of course the post can be read at any time but it was written for a particular moment in time.
Yesterday, I published a post about Clubhouse. I first drafted the post over 2 months ago and at the time it was over 1500 words, significantly longer than what I would usually post. For various it took a while to make time to edit the post to something I was happy to share.
But, what I noticed was that each time I went through the post, things had changed. Things like the number of users and the other apps that had added an audio feature. I regret not publishing the post sooner as with any hot topic, sooner is always better than later.
I think it’s fair to say that Clubhouse is still very relevant and will continue to be for the months to come. However, the post I published yesterday is very much of the time. That’s the issue you face when writing about hot topics, they don’t always last.
In contrast, the posts I’ve written that focus more around life lessons, career and self-help are what I would consider evergreen. They will be just as relevant today as they will be 12 months from now.
I’ve always held writing to a high esteem, to such a high esteem that I always considered it to be out of my reach.
It’s undeniable that in the 9+ years I’ve been sharing my writing online, I’ve improved quite a lot. Yet, I always told myself that I could never be a proper writer.
But over the past year or after reading articles online, I’ve thought to myself, I could write something like that or even that’s similar to something I’ve already written. Suddenly writing no longer feels so out of reach.
And it’s not that I now plan to quite my job and become a writer, I think it’s more than fair to say I already am one.
The trick to getting ahead is to increase your work rate and never go below your usual work rate.
If you want to get ahead long-term then you have to make time to regularly increase your work rate, this gives you the ability to know that you’re always ahead even when you back to your usual work rate.
However, if you want to get ahead as a temporary thing, you can increase your work rate for a period of time and then you can take time time off from working. But before long that time will run out and you have to get back to work again otherwise you fall behind.
The way I work follows the second option, getting ahead temporarily. Every month or so I’ll have a period of time where my work rate increases. This gives me the chance to take time off completely or space to work without focusing on the end result.