At Disney, they have what they call Imagineers, a sort of blend between imagination and engineers. These are people hired to figure out the problems presented in the parks, to find creative and new solutions to old problems. How many times have you had a story where you’ve simply given up and moved on? Well, an Imagineer would eventually come back to that story and rework it until it fit.
Oftentimes, writing novels becomes stale, repetitive, and boring. After so many years, you start to wonder if you have any stories left. After all, everything is just a retelling of something else. I’m going to be honest here and admit that, aside from NaNo, I haven’t written anything since September. Mostly, my time has been taken up by work, and when I’m not at my job, freelancing work takes up the rest of the time, and if I have any free time, it’s usually spent editing things under contract. If, by some miracle, I actually have time to myself, I find I’d rather watch TV or movies than write. If you saw my “to watch” list, you’d understand why. There are about 20 shows on it that I need to watch or catch up on.
So what does that leave me? It leaves me with a lot of half-finished works that I gave up on, not much spare time to go back to them, and a lack of inspiration to get started. Some people might give up at this point, but a true writer never really gives up. There might be dry spells and times when you feel like it’s pointless to go on, but if you’re a writer, you don’t just quit writing. You might write a bunch of unfinished things, but you keep writing.
How, then, do you pull yourself out of this funk? No time and no inspiration. A double threat that usually makes for pretty bad writer’s block. Unfortunately, there is no simple answer. The, somewhat obvious, answer would be to make more time, but that isn’t usually possible. And even if it is, most people will fill unused hours with something else rather than what they intended.
You can make a schedule. For some people, that helps keep them on track with writing. Even if your schedule is jam-packed, there’s usually a little time to dedicate to writing. It’s just a matter of if you want to commit to it.
I think a schedule is the only way I’m going to get anything done this year since I can’t quit my job, and though I’ve considered ending my freelance work, I’m going to keep it going for now. I have a plan in mind for when that will end, and it won’t be for at least a year or more. Until then, I’ll have to make a schedule and work it out.
How do you pull yourself out of these downturns?