Write Your Way Into The New Year: 5 Ways to Reignite Your Spark
If describing yourself as a writer has made you cringe lately, it may be a sign you’ve had some time away from your notebook.
Maybe every time you think about how long ago it was that you put pen to paper, you feel a little guilty. And maybe you’re starting to think you just weren’t cut out for it in the first place.
But fear not — some of the most renowned writers have had to work through writers block to find their inspiration.
Maya Angelou once said, “What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat,’…And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.’”
The point is, the occasional (or even years-long) writer’s block is what makes you a writer — not what proves you aren’t meant to be one.
Life can toss curveballs that require you to adjust your priorities, making it hard to get back on track. But it’s never too late to get back in the groove.
No writer’s block is too big to chip away with some strategy. And what better time to give it a shot than the arrival of a new year?
You may feel rusty, but there are plenty of resources to help you reignite your writing spark — like writing clubs, retreats and new exercises. Use these tips to get your writing groove back for the new year.
Join a Writing Club
The life of a writer can get pretty isolated. Sometimes you need some like-minded people around to feel motivated and fulfilled with the journey.
Plan to kick the new year off with a writing club.
Writing clubs are not only a great way to make friends who understand the life of a writer, but it gives you an opportunity to share your work and get constructive feedback, which just may be that boost you need to perfect that short story you’ve been stuck on.
Hearing the work and styles of others may also inspire you. Perhaps you admire the way someone describes a room, and you make it a goal to be more detailed in your own descriptions.
Joining a writing club will not only give you a fresh perspective and new inspiration, but it can also keep you going. Think of a writer’s club as a team.
One where you’re not only held accountable to bring work to the table, but where you have a bunch of people cheering you on when you’re thinking of straying again.
Remember Your “Why”
It’s hard to feel passionate about something when we’ve lost sight of why we started in the first place.
For your first writing exercise of the new year, try to remind yourself why you became a writer.
That can mean doing anything from simply listing your goals and envisioning where you want writing to lead you, to digging into your past and writing about the moment you knew that writing may be your calling.
Passion doesn’t create action — action triggers passion. You won’t be reminded of that spark you had for writing until you, well, write.
Write Just 500 Words a Day
You’ve probably heard the expression “consistency is key.” For writers, this couldn’t be more true.
So try committing yourself to a “500 words a day” challenge.
Why 500? It’s a realistic amount to fit into your busy schedule, and productive enough that you’ll feel satisfied upon completion.
The rules are:
- You must write a minimum of 500 words a day. If you’re on a roll, keep going!
- Don’t worry about editing. Just get the writing done.
- If you have to skip a day, just pick up where you left off. Don’t try to double your work the next time, or you’re more likely to lose momentum.
Being consistent in your writing gives you milestones to help recognize your growth. You may be in a rut, but looking back on the piece you wrote the same day 6 months ago and how much you’ve grown since can get you right back out of it.
It can also help you hold yourself accountable on those days no one else will. Sure, you could try and do something else, but it will help you stick to writing when you know it’s already a part of your daily routine.
Find an Online Writing Course
So you may not have the time, money, or willpower to go back to school, but that doesn’t mean you should quit perfecting your craft.
Online courses give you the structure of a school course with the flexibility your lifestyle requires.
You don’t have to learn from talking heads on YouTube, either. Some of the country’s top universities including Purdue and Yale offer online courses for writers at every level.
Are you a blogger who’d like to switch things up a bit? Try a modern poetry course.
Typically stick to short stories, but have the urge to write that sci-fi novel you’ve been pondering? There are classes for that, too!
Create a Writing Playlist
Music has been proven in multiple studies to improve both your mood and your productivity, which could be the boost you need to enjoy it like you used to.
This doesn’t mean blasting your favorite rock album and expecting to stay focused on writing, although you can be flexible in the type of music you listen to.
Lyrics can hinder concentration, so aim for some upbeat instrumental music or even an ambient noise soundtrack with nature sounds.
No matter what kind of music you choose, don’t blast it. It needs to be at a lower volume so you can hear your thoughts clearly.
By surrounding yourself with other writers, sharpening up your education, staying consistent, remembering your purpose and putting on a focus-oriented playlist, you’ll be surprised at the lost time you’ll have made up for.
Now grab your planner and start setting those goals for the new year!