A writing career is like a long marriage. Sometimes the creative process makes you feel passionate and alive, and sometimes it can feel about as exciting as cleaning gutters. Ups and downs are natural in any relationship, and they’re a natural part of a writer’s life too. There are many factors that can dim the bright flame of passion—rejection, isolation, lack of support, critique, financial worries, and fatigue. But falling out of love with writing does not have to mean you’re heading for a breakup.
Writers: How To Rekindle The Flame
Stop comparing yourself to others! There will always be another writer who’s more successful, more prolific, more whatever. If you constantly measure your worth against that of other writers, you’ll never be happy with your own success.
Set the “write” mood. Much as you would prepare for a romantic evening, you can set the stage for a date with your writing. Arrange your work space, eliminate distractions, brew a pot of your favorite tea, and write to your heart’s content! Check out these prewriting rituals.
Take a good hard look at your expectations. Are your goals realistic? Are you putting too much pressure on yourself? If you’re not careful, you’ll suck all the joy out of writing and find yourself flirting with career burnout.
And speaking of joy…make a list of everything you love about writing, the writing life, and the creative process. Be specific. Then try to imagine your life without writing. If you feel any sense of loss, it means some part of you is still in love with writing and the relationship can probably be saved.
Switch things up to reenergize your passion. If you’re a how-to author, try writing a poem. Write a steamy sex scene, a horror story, or try your hand at a little fan fiction. If you’re halfway through your novel and your eyes are starting to drift away, try writing a magazine article, a book review, or a story for children. Variety is the spice of life!
Free write. Forget grammar, punctuation, and style. Don’t count words, don’t try to please an audience—just write with wild abandon for the sheer pleasure of it. Who knows where it’ll take you!
Read something different. Head to the library or the bookstore, and pick up a book you normally wouldn’t put on your TBR (To Be Read) list. Even if you don’t like it, you might discover a stronger sense of your own direction.
Find an audience. Present your poetry at a reading, or read your children’s book at the local library for story hour. Maybe even join a writing group. Sometimes sharing your work can remind you how much you love it! Plus, enthusiasm is contagious.
Check out our writing prompts on Pinterest to find some unexpected inspiration and trigger a burst of creativity.
Plan a special getaway for you and your writing. Sign up for a writers retreat or a conference in your area. (Here’s our list of writers conferences, workshops, etc. to get you started.)
Find (or become) a writing mentor. Connecting with another person who loves writing will help you see your own work with fresh eyes.
Use our positive affirmations.
Review your milestones, your accomplishments, and your successes, even if you’re just starting out. Look how far you’ve already come!
“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads…may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.” ―Ray Bradbury
For more tips on keeping your love of writing alive, take a look at our book, The Happy Writer: Your Secret Weapon Against Rejection, Dejection, Writer’s Block, And The Emotional Pitfalls Of The Writing Life.
QUESTION: Do you have a love/hate relationship with your work? What is your best tip for falling (or staying) in love again with your writing?
I’m on the verge of a divorce with my writing but after reading the above I think there’s hope. Thanks.
Thanks for the great tips!
I like your advice to read outside the genre you write in or normally read. I try to read something artsy, literary, or otherwise challenging at least once per year. Usually, my response is that if someone else can publish something as strange as what I’m reading, I can write what I want. 🙂
Thank you for this article 🙂 It really helped me, and it is the inspiration for my blog post! I couldn’t have done it without reading this. Thanks, heaps!