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5 Tips For Falling Back In Love Writing

Writers are seemingly defined by their love of storytelling. We make homes for ourselves in the worlds we create. Our characters become some of our dearest friends, keeping us company over many cups of coffee through just as many late nights.

But even writers with the deepest of loves for storytelling can fall out of love with a story. It can happen for a number of reasons. The idea may no longer excite us as it once did or we may feel no longer feel as connected to the characters. Life happens. We get burned out. Tendrils of doubt start to creep up. Or we simply get stuck.

Falling out of love with a WIP or writing in general is totally normal, but it's easy to get discouraged when it happens.

The good news is that just as there are many reasons people fall out of love with writing, there are many ways to fall back in love with it.

My WIPs and I have gone through a rough patch this year, so here are a few of the things I've done to fall back in love with writing!

Remember Your Why And What Is Working

"Remember your why" is an inspirational phrase you'll run into a fair bit online, applicable to virtually any context from physical fitness to creative endeavors.

And, yes, it can also work in terms of writing slumps.

Remembering your why is all about reflecting on the reasons you started something and the meaning behind your goals, finding encouragement in how far you've come, and strengthening your determination to achieve them.

Make a list of the things that drew you to the story you're now stuck on and what excited you about writing it. Maybe it was a particular character, a theme you wanted to explore, the setting, or a scene—or something else entirely.

Once you have done that, keep that list as a handy source of motivation. You may want to explore these ideas in more depth on the page, or just as a brainstorming activity for your eyes only.

What drew you to something is often what keeps you going!

Additionally, if others have read your writing in the past, you may discover additional encouragement by focusing on the positives they've shared with you. When we're in the critiquing and revision stages, it doesn't take much for us to focus on the flaws and negative feedback. That is absolutely important to keep in mind as you're making improvements to your WIP, but it's also worth remembering what is working.

Whether you're taking screenshots or copying them into a journal with glitter gel pens, keep a running list of the kind words and compliments your writing has received. There is good to be found in every book—including the one you've fallen out of love with. Sometimes, we just need to be reminded of that.

Switch It Up

One of the reasons writers fall out of love with writing is that their WIP has become tedious. After working with the same story for so long, we can end up in a lull that brings everything to an eventual stop.

What's to be done? After all, much of writing is about finding your groove, right?

True as that is, it's not a bad idea to switch things up from time to time. Making a small change to your writing routine can make it new and exciting again.

You could, for example, try writing a chapter in a notebook instead of typing it up. Maybe you use a blue pen instead of a black one. Or if you're going digital for your draft, try using a different font; I've been using the one for the chapter titles in Uncharted 4 lately!

It could also be a matter of location. Bring your notebook to a local coffee spot or the park. Try sitting with your laptop in your bed rather than on the living room couch.

Additionally, think about your writing rituals. Try a new flavor of tea or a new creamer in your coffee. Test out a new candle scent for your space. Write in the morning rather than at night.

A change of pace can often be a step in the right direction!

Project Hopping

On a similar note, if you're feeling drained by your writing because you've been working with the same WIP for so long, you may find it helpful to jump to a different project.

This is one lesson that took me years to learn!

It also happens to be one of the reasons I've decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year; I'm hoping that taking on a new WIP from scratch will help reignite the burnt-out match, so to speak.

You don't need to start on a completely new novel if you've hit a wall with your current one. Freewriting or journaling, brainstorming exercises, and short story prompts are just a handful of ways to break out of the block.

And hey, if another novel plot bunny happens to hop across your path, there's nothing to say you can't follow it!

Speaking from experience, you may feel a twinge of guilt for up and leaving your WIP for the time being, but it's better than forcing something that isn't working.

Shove It In A Drawer And Step Back

A common piece of advice for writers heading into the editing phase is to put their WIP in a drawer for a couple of weeks (or not open the document). Doing so creates distance between yourself and your project. This way, when you come back to it, you can look at it with fresh eyes. It's easier to see the flaws you're more likely to gloss over after staring at it for so long and view it from the perspective of an outsider rather than someone intimately close to it.

The same goes for a story you're still writing. After working with the same thing for so long, you might find it repetitive or a chore.

Stepping back from your WIP gives you a chance to rest, regroup, and reset. That way, when you do return to it, you're doing so with a clearer head and ready to tackle the problems.

Write For Yourself First

You'll sometimes hear that writers should write the kinds of books they would most want to read or to write for themselves first. However, it's not uncommon for us to slip away from this idea as we get further along in our journeys to publication.

We become prone to fretting about what others will think of our writing. It's difficult not to. We send our work off to critique partners and beta readers for feedback in order to make our writing more appealing to others. We throw ourselves into the trenches in the hopes of finding an agent willing to take a chance on our story. We often have to make changes at the suggestion of editors. We're subject to reviewer scrutiny upon release.

As solitary as writing can feel, it's far from a one-man-show, and that can lead to pressures that make writing less fun.

Writing is, for many of us, our means of escape. Our cozy little corner in an at-times-less-than-kind world. Stressing ourselves out over trying to make our stories fit everyone else's expectations can be draining.

Instead, take a breath and write for the pure love of writing. Pour your heart onto the page, without worrying about how others will perceive it. That can be saved for later.

For now, focus on you and your story. The one you most want to tell.

As is the case with any other kind of relationship, realizing you've fallen out of love with writing can be a difficult blow to withstand. Rekindling that spark requires time, effort, and dedication.

The trick is to not give up on yourself or your writing. Every author faces difficulties and slumps. It's just a matter of working through them.

Falling back in love with writing is a process, as is the art of writing itself. Be patient with yourself. The words will come.



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