5 Ways To Reinvigorate Your Writing

Been a bit quiet on the blog while I’ve been finishing up Wolfblood season three, and now I’m entering that post-season slump that all writers slip into once a big project is finished. You know, the one where you look at all the other things you need to get started on and groan quietly to yourself. It’s not that you don’t want to write them – you may even be excited about them – but suddenly, getting started on a new project seems like really hard work!

So what can you do about this? Here are some things that I find helpful:

Change your technique. If you usually type an outline, hand-write it, or put it on index cards. You can even dictate it to a speech-to-text app and alarm  the cat with your graphically murderous imagination…

Change your surroundings. Work at the kitchen table instead of your desk. Work in a cafe, or even rent an office space for a few weeks. If you have no choice about the space you work in, try rotating your desk ninety degrees. (But don’t allow this to turn into that classic procrastination technique, “tidying your workspace”…)

Take your characters for a walk. Before starting work on each episode/ act of a film, go for a brisk walk, pretending your characters are with you. What do they notice that you normally wouldn’t? What do they make of the rich woman hailing a taxi, or the homeless guy at the bus stop? Which cafe or pub would they like to stop at, instead of your usual one? Once you have a clearer idea of the characters, the story will flow.

Seek out new experiences. Writers are novelty-seekers – we write partly to create novelty in our ordinary lives. Go experience an art form or an evening class you wouldn’t normally consider. Or go to a new place – even somewhere as simple as going into a shop that sells things you couldn’t usually buy. Novelty primes the brain to create.

Be sure you’re taking care of basic needs. If you’ve just finished a big project, sleep well, eat well, get plenty of gentle exercise. When this new project is a huge hit, you’re going to need to be at your best…

Anyone else have any good tips?

Inspiration. Or not.

A lot of people seem to think writers recline on the sofa all day, waiting for inspiration to strike. On the other hand, there are all those quotes from working writers about how they just sit in a chair eight hours a day and work, inspiration has nothing to do with it. So which is true?

Well, both. Inspiration is what creates the spark of an idea in the first place. Inspiration is what keeps you interested in that idea, as characters, plot points and emotional climaxes occur to you one by one throughout the writing process. Inspiration keeps you afloat as you face draft fifteen of the first episode, or yet another notes meeting with a totally different group of execs to the ones you met last time, all of whom have contradictory ideas.

But inspiration is like love – you don’t *feel it* all the time. The wild flush of emotions you feel when you fall in love aren’t supposed to last through a fifty year marriage, and the first flush of inspiration won’t last through the writing of a novel or a screenplay either. But that’s fine. They’re supposed to be replaced by new emotions, a new and evolving relationship with the loved one  – or the script.

So if you’re a new(-ish) writer who’s worried that you don’t feel excited about your idea any more – don’t be. That’s perfectly normal. This is where discipline takes over from inspiration, and you rely on your craft, and the memory of what it was you wanted to say or experience in the first place, to get the work done…