As writers, we all struggle with this condition that we call “lack of inspiration”. However, this is just a condition of the mind. Yes, it’s not that we don’t know what to write, but rather that we do not want to write at all! This may be due to different reasons but the important is the result – we DON’T WRITE.
A long time ago I was scrolling through social media posts (one of the ways to get an excuse and not write) and I found a very beautiful though by Dan Poynter:
If you wait for inspiration to write you’re not a writer, you’re a waiter.– Dan Poynter
I can’t remember how many times I’ve used this excuse “I can’t write now. I’ve no inspiration”, or “My inspiration left me. I don’t know what to write.” And every time I was wrong for giving up. I’m not talking only about fiction. I’ve written three textbooks for my students in the university where I’m teaching and one monography. Every day that I wasn’t writing, it was just because I had no inspiration. At least I was thinking so. This was my excuse for not writing.
But one day I decided to try something different. I did not allow myself to think about inspiration. After I finished my work tasks, I went home, sat down in the kitchen, made myself a cup of fragrant Italian coffee (my favorite by the way) and started to write. And do you know what? Even though at the beginning I had no idea what exactly to write, after a few minutes I caught myself writing without stopping.
The reason for this was that I didn’t give up. I sat down and begun writing whatever came to me. After a while, IT (the inspiration) was back and I actually made a full character profile of my protagonist.
Now I can say it from my own experience that the only medicine for the lack of inspiration is to write. Maybe the first sentences or even paragraphs will need a serious editing but this is of no importance. The important thing is that I was writing.
What to do when you don’t have inspiration?
But what to do the next time you feel you don’t have inspiration and you need to stop and wait for it to come back to you? This is my formula to fight with the lack of inspiration.
Step 1: You don’t need the inspiration to write
The first and most important thing to remember is that you don’t need the inspiration to write, you need imagination! And imagination is something that you can practice and make it bigger.You don't need inspiration to write, you need imagination. Click To Tweet
You have to practice your imagination and the only way to do this by keep writing.
Step 2: Sit down and write a sentence
To practice your imagination you have to make it start working. So the next step is to sit down and write a sentence. The first sentence that comes to your mind. I know, it won’t be perfect, it may even not fit in your plans for the novel. But it’s important to write it.
Writing the first sentence will start to unlock your imagination. Now you’re slowly starting to tune yourself into the writing mood and your imagination is slowly starting to warm up.
Step 3: Write another sentence
The next step is to think of and write a second sentence. It has to be connected with the previous one so that your imaginative muscle to start working.
If you are creating a character profile and you wrote that your character is unhappy now think of the reasons why she/he is unhappy and write it down. Write a few reasons if you wish, you can choose one later.
And if you’re writing your first draft and the first sentence was describing how your main character went out of the room, now think of where did she/he go after that, what did they do, how they feel.
Your second sentence will show the creative side of your brain that it needs to start working.
Step 4: Continue writing sentence after sentence
The last step is to continue writing more and more sentences. Try to connect the new with the previous sentences. And then you finish the first paragraph, start a new one.
After a while, you will find yourself writing without thinking about it. Your imagination will start working faster and faster and there may even be times when you won’t cope to write everything that comes to your mind.