As writers, we find inspiration in unique ways. Whether it’s the world around us, our own experiences, the way the rain trickles across the broad face of a leaf, or even the line waiting for our favorite coffee, the way we write depends on where we draw our inspiration from and how we see the world. Even shared experiences can render vastly different interpretations
Consider it a unique view into each person’s inner self. We see the world in vastly different ways based on our experiences. It’s honestly kind of amazing when you think about it.
Any author that writes a substantial amount will of course see their work change and adapt over time. Not only are we perfecting our craft by continually writing and reading, but as we grow as individuals, our outlook on life may change. People who were once around may now be gone, there may be new loves, new jobs, loss, a move, sickness or health.
The world changes around us and so our work may change as a result. It’s all part of the cycle. Look at it as an opportunity for inspiration!
“Writing can be a lifeline, especially when your existence has been denied, especially when you have been left on the margins, especially when your life and process of growth have been subjected to attempts at strangulation.” ―Micere Githae Mugo
Recently I’ve been editing some poetry for a new collection. I was surprised at the stark contrast from when I first really got started writing and how I write now. Two years ago, my style was more much chaotic and free form, almost spoken word or slam poetry.
Today I’ve found what I feel is my niche style. Kind of a romantic gothic feel with lots of rhymes and a melodic rhythm. I was distressed trying to marry the past and the present, two vastly different Ravvens who both had things to say.
I took a step back and I realized that although my poetry may differ now, what I write in the past wasn’t necessarily bad or needing of change. It just was what it was. I decided to leave it the way it is, to honor the past and have a visual marker of how far I have come.
I think we all look back sometimes and see things we have written and wonder what was I thinking or why did I do this? But it’s all just part of the process and developing our own writing style.
There are also those moments when we feel stuck. We’ve hit a point we just can’t seem to come out of. Writer’s block, a lack of motivation, frustration, distraction, whatever it is, we’ve all dealt with it.
“People are going to judge you all the time no matter what you do. . . . Don’t worry about other people. Worry about you.” —Jacqueline Woodson
It can be difficult to pull yourself out of a slump and find a new pace. I have found myself in those places many times and it’s incredibly irritating. I’ve doubted myself, critiqued my writing mercilessly, and even just given up.
However, there are better ways when we are dealing with a slump, and I want to share a few that I found helped me. Not only has it helped me focus on new ideas, but these tips have also helped me reevaluate old projects and get them going again.
Okay. Here we go!
Reading. This one is so important! If you want to be a writer, you absolutely need to read and read often. Read everything, even things outside of your typical genre.
It will motivate you, give you ideas for how other people do things, see what kind of literature is already out there, and make you a part of the literary world. If I’m feeling stressed or overwhelmed, I find some time between the covers of my favorite book helps me de-stress and refocus. It’s helpful to know what’s out there and have a safe haven in times of trouble.
Expression through other forms of art. Even if we are primarily authors, sometimes it’s helpful to make other art. I dabble in painting, oil pastels, pencils, watercolor, and even music.
If the words don’t come, then I turn to other avenues to try and get my creativity flowing. And don’t worry if you suck at those other things. You don’t have to share them with anyone. They are purely for you and you alone.
Taking a break on one project and trying another. Sometimes swapping between writing projects is another great tool. You can change what scene you’re writing in your novel, or completely change projects altogether.
I have several different things I work on throughout my week. It helps keep me from frustration or stagnation on one specific project and allows me to still accomplish my goals so I’m not feeling depressed over not working on a specific goal. Progress is still progress, even if it’s spread out!
Surround yourself with like-minded creatives who are willing to listen to you rant and ramble and who will offer honest and true insight. I’m a quiet soul and I mostly mind my own business but when I did start making connections with people, I found some who motivated me and made me feel like what I am doing is important. Never underestimate the power of a good friend or fellow creative.
Chances are, you may motivate them back and together you will be a fountain of positivity and goal achieving. When one of us succeeds, we all succeed!
If you're looking for a group of writers that love talking shop and are kind and supportive, check out our discord here. We are always looking to expand our community and maintain a careful balance of compassion and critique when reviewing other people's work. After all, we put so much of ourselves in our books that kindness is always key.
Get out in nature. It might sounds silly but getting outside can help clear your mind, give you some much needed vitamin D, and puts some tangible distance between you and your work. Listen to the birds sing, feel the sun on your face or the wind in your hair. Smell the rich earth and blooming flowers.
Nature is a powerful tool for inspiration. Going to your favorite places can calm and relax you and even give you ideas for creating those special settings in your literature. And don’t forget the power of a full moon…
In summary, whether you are changing as a writer, just getting started, or even trying to get unstuck, you’re not alone and we’ve all gone through it. When you look back someday and you see how far you have come, it will be something special to see the progress you’ve made and the way you have changed. Change is important and its going to happen whether or not we like it.
I hope these suggestions have been helpful for you. Do you have a special way to recharge and track your progress? I’d love to know!
Feel free to leave a comment below. I read every single one! Everyone has their own unique writing journey and it’s so interesting to see what everyone is doing!
“Spend too much time alone with your own words, and your writing grows anemic, in dire need of a transfusion.” —Celeste Ng
Be sure to check back every week for a new blog post! I promise it won't always be about making or tracking progress, but it will be interesting. It gives me a chance to connect with you and hopefully make your writing journey a little easier. So, until next week, remember that we may be different species but we are all part of the same family, so be kind to yourself and kind to others and I'll see you next week!
Ravven White is the founder of Curious Corvid Publishing, author of bestsellers I Am Ravven and The Cry of The Ravven. Her debut novel, The Sentimental Dead, arrives this Halloween. You can find her books on Amazon, Kindle, and in major bookstores worldwide. She lives in a castle under the sea with her loved ones. You can usually sense her arrival by a curious flapping of wings.
You can learn about all our Curious Corvids by visiting their author profiles on the website, following us on our social media, joining our discord, or by buying our books. Every purchase helps pay our bills which means we can write more compelling literature that is both odd and unusual.
You can also support us by subscribing to our Magpie Messenger for only $6 a month. Each issue arrives at your door with brand new exciting content from, for, and about indie creatives. Submissions and advertisement slots are also available and the details can be found here.