Wednesday, May 3, 2017

4 ways to get showered with writing inspiration

Writing is hard. There, I said it. I'm sorry. I know everyone out there who hasn't tried it thinks us writers just stay at home eating bonbons all day, typing away merrily in our jammies. Okay so maybe the jammie part is fairly correct (we've got to at least have some perks to the job right?) And if I knew what a bonbon was I'd probably be eating it because writing brings out all the food cravings. And even though I love writing and wouldn't want to do anything else it's not always merry. It's more like a battle.
The thing I struggle the most with is just starting. There are always a million different excuses of other things to do, things that don't require me to "bleed", as Red Smith put it, "There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."

For example, I really had to push myself to write this post. In fact I was pretty much ready to just throw this whole blogging business out the window. Keeping a blog is like writing a "talk" every week because I choose to. It's insanity. And yet, I persevere.


Because I've learned something! It's a secret! Are you ready?

Drumroll please . . . .

Inspiration has come to me more stronger and more readily since I've started writing this blog. And there are two reasons I can think of for that. #1: God seems more willing to give it to me, I think because he knows I'm listening and because I'm willing to share it with others. #2: My mind is more open and looking for it. It's like the classic Barney song, "Standing outside with my mouth open wide, Ah, ah, ah, ah , ah , ah , ah , ah, ah, ah." For inspiration to come we have to be like good 'ol Barney. We have to go outside an open our mouth, ready to receive the showers of inspiration.

Plus the truth is, even though I'm sharing things with others, I'm definitely the one getting the most out of all this writing. So I could lie and say I'm doing this for you, dear reader, and maybe it even started out that way but the truth is I'm going to greedily take all this inspiration and keep on rolling with it. If others benefit because of it then even better!

But standing outside with our mouths open wide is not always easy, so here are some ways (in addition to keeping a blog) that I've discovered to help catch those raindrops of inspiration:

1. Morning Pages (Journaling):
I've always been a journaler. I have a whole shelf of notebooks filled with years of teenage angst. Super entertaining stuff. But it wasn't until I read Julie Cameron's book, The Artist Way, that I discovered the true power of journaling.

 You should totally check out her book, but the basic gist of what she teaches with the Morning Pages is to get a notebook and every morning to wake up, and before anything else, take a pen to paper and write down--whatever! It can be venting, remembering, rambling . . . absolutely whatever you want for about 3 pages. This helps any inspiration I receive to stick, because if I don't acknowledge it, ponder it and write it down, I feel like it just flies in one ear and out the other.

This stands for butt in chair hands on keyboard. Something I've learned about writing is to keep going, even when inspiration isn't hitting me across the head. When I show up, and plug through the trudge, inspiration usually catches up and takes over. It's not always there to hold my hand and drag me down to the water and shove me in. Usually I'm the one who has to take that leap but then it jumps in after me and buoys me up and lights the way.

3. Take an actual shower:
Isn't that where all the best inspiration comes? Ever wonder why that is? I think one of the reasons is because we aren't distracted by other things, such as . . . Facebook. I don't even sit on the toilet without my phone in my hand, providing me with some kind of mindless distraction. So maybe the key is to pocket that phone and take more time to let our minds open to the inspiration that's waiting to rain down on us.

4. Set a daily goal:
This can either be a timed goal or a content goal. The good thing about setting a content goal such as writing 500 words a day is that you are probably going to train yourself to write faster and be more focused during your writing time. I usually set myself time goals, and I find myself getting distracted and coming up with excuses to take breaks for different things like . . . bonbons! (Or researching things such as . . . what the heck is a bonbon?)

Oh look! Apparently it's a french chocolate truffles. Yum! Yes, I'll take some of those please. You can buy some for you (or for me) here.

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