Happy new year, authors! The new year, for many, is a time to reflect, reject, and reinvigorate yourself. How can you use this energy to refresh your writing habits? If you feel burnt out, bored, or tired of working on a particular project, it can be difficult to get out of this slump and feel the same excitement and drive you may have felt about writing once before.
We’re here with 7 tips that might help you find your spark again!
- Consume, don’t create – by this, we mean take some time to read, watch, and otherwise engage in stories that you enjoy. Give yourself dedicated time to consume the works of others as a way to help inspire, motivate, and otherwise excite you about your own work.
- Take a purposeful break – no, not just a few minutes away from your laptop! Really schedule in a break wherein you are not thinking about writing or worrying about when you will be getting those words down next. Perhaps combine this break with the above – give in to engaging with the stories that you love without fretting over your own. Having a break with a goal like this in mind will be more productive than just taking a break in general. Always plan out purposeful, writing- and writing-adjacent free breaks.
- Talk it out – chat with a friend, fellow author, or family member about your project. Sometimes, venting, celebrating, or otherwise hashing out the details of your writing. Their help and support, as well as perspective, might help you see your work in a new light and get you back on track if you are feeling frustrated or worn out by the task at hand.
- Try a new routine – if you have stuck to the same writing routine for a while now, it might be time to try something new! Schedule it earlier, or maybe later. Write only on certain days, and take time off on others. Or, try out a new place for writing – move your desk, write in a new coffeeshop, head to the library! There are a number of different ways you can shake up your routine and find a refreshing new start.
- Develop a schedule – likewise, if you don’t have a set schedule or have been using an old one, maybe it’s time to develop something different. Take a look at when you have historically spent time writing, and determine whether or not that is still effective for you. If writing in the morning tends to tire you out, trying writing over lunch. If you find that writing on weekends makes you feel like you can’t get a day to relax, move your work to the weekday. Tailor your schedule to better suit you after taking the time to review it.
- Create a book “bible” – much like television series creators and scriptwriters, having a project or show bible – in your case, a book bible – can really help you get creative and invested in your current project or a new project in a great way. Consider crafting a document that contains images, notes, snippets of dialogue, descriptions of setting, etc. – all in attractive, creative format that can be easily referenced. This is different from planning, but can include a chapter-by-chapter outline and plot arc overview if you wish! A book bible is a great way to breath life into a stagnating project or help you develop a series that contains many characters, worlds, and storylines. Plus – it’s a lot of fun to do.
- Write whatever you want – as always, write what you want. Giving in to your creative desires will help you remain motivated during a time when you may otherwise feel tired or disinterested. Take a break from one project to work on another – there are no rules saying you need only work on one book at a time! If you find yourself drawn more towards a new idea or exciting plot prospect, don’t be afraid to let it take over and guide you down an exciting new writing path.
Plus, we recommend listening to some advice from other writers who have been through the same, whether by checking out a podcast or hearing about their personal experiences on TikTok. Lots of authors are open and honest about sharing their experiences with others, especially when it comes to the aspects of the job that aren’t so often talked about. Remember: you aren’t alone in your writerly woes! There will always be someone out there to commiserate with and lean on, and perhaps even help inspire you, too.
Listen to these authors discuss inspiration, community, and finding motivation to work on their projects:
- Debut Novels and Dark Fantasy with Meg Smitherman
- Being Uniquely You with Marcus Tallberg
- Unapologetic Happy Endings with Adriana Herrera
- Refilling Your Creative Well with L. Penelope
- Writing Female Friendship with Anat Deracine
…and more! Check out our podcast archives here for more great episodes featuring fantastic authors. As always, happy writing, and another happy new year from the KWL team.