There will always be days when words come slowly, or not at all. Here’s what we can do to encourage them:
1) Be polite. Ask the muse, don’t just expect her to show up. When she does, thank her.
2) Ask the words. Ask for their permission to use them. If you can, be specific in stating the sort of thing you want to say. For example, you could say something like, “I need your help to write a dialogue between these characters/ description of/ paragraph about/ blog post regarding…”
3) Remember that words have their own energy and, like people, prefer to be treated with kindness and respect. Words deserve our reverence. After all, they’ve been around much longer than we have and will live on long after we’re gone. Without them we could not do what we do.
4) As with the muse, when the words do come, thank them. Show gratitude for the privilege of them being in partnership with you. Remember that when you are writing, you are not alone, but in a process of co-creation with the muse and words.
5) If your writing really isn’t going well, write an approximation of what you mean. Use phrases like ‘Write more about X here’ or ‘Write more about that thing about…’ Words lead to more words.
6) If you can’t think of the right word or sentence, write XXX and go back to it later. I do that all the time.
7) Inspiration follows movement. Even getting up to make a cup of tea can spark an idea. In fact, I find the muse likes me to be clean (always visits me in the shower) and well fed.
8) Visualise. Try seeing the words on your screen, or your completed text. Try to imagine it in your head, what it would look like from a distance, and then close-up. Then re-create what you see in your mind’s eye.
9) Think of words as if they’re marble or clay, and your pen or keyboard is your chisel. The words you have may not be the ones you want, but some words are better than none. You can always sculpt, prune, craft, delete, re-draft, re-write….
10) Accept that writing will always have its ups and downs and don’t take any of the downs personally. When it goes well, be grateful. If writing always came easily it wouldn’t be so satisfying and rewarding.
11) It’s better to have some writing than none at all. As a fellow writer says, “You can’t edit a blank page.”
What do you think? Do any of these strategies work for you? Tell me about what a great writing day means for you and what you do to help the words along. I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.