What happens when you’re stuck in a creative rut — you want to write more, and sell more — but your current writing jobs bore you to tears? You’d love to give up your boring gigs, and look for better clients, but you have an excellent excuse: you need the money.
Or maybe you’ve had some minor success in your self-publishing venture, but any real, sustainable quit-your-day-job-type success seems further away than it’s ever been. Your excuse? It could be anything: Amazon’s latest changes; or you’re spending too much money on ads; or your genre is overcrowded with spam ebooks…
You need inspiration. Read on. 🙂
The “write more” trick: get inspired, then write what excites you
I’m sure that I frustrate my students, because these tales of misery and similar challenges get this answer: write more. Not what you’re writing now; write new stuff. Stuff that scares you and excites you.
You need to get inspired.
Creative guru Julia Cameron hits the mark when she talks about filling the well:
As artists we must learn to be self-nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them — to restock the trout pond, so to speak. I call this process filling the well.
Take a moment to ask yourself: what am I most excited to write today?
If the answer to that is nothing, it’s all BLAH, you need to fill your creative well. In other words, do things which excite you. Learn new things. Meet new people. Renew yourself — take a little vacation if you haven’t had one in the past 12 months.
Writers spin words out of themselves, out of their inspiration, curiosity and imagination. When those creative attributes run low, you’re bored with your writing, and your low-energy state comes across in your words.
Try these tips.
1. Find your inspiration: you can’t do without it
Inspiration is where you find it. Only you know what inspires YOU.
As Julia Cameron points out, writers need to maintain their creative inspiration. Your well WILL run dry. I’ve burned out a couple of times; it’s not fun.
Find inspiration daily. That may be as simple as listening to music, or driving somewhere new and trying something new.
2. Get inspired and sell, every day
If you’re selling your writing services to make money, you need great clients. If you’re a self-publisher, you need readers. Readers and great clients need to know that you exist. So draw on your inspiration, and sell whatever it is you have to sell.
When you’re in a creative rut, you stop seeing possibilities and opportunities. You stop promoting your writing, and if you’re self-publishing, you stop promoting your books.
That’s a mistake. Get a marketing habit. I’m fond of saying “ten minutes a day” to writers who tell me that they hate marketing. You hate it because you’re not doing enough of it, and aren’t trying new things.
Listen up. YOU are you. Sad to say, most of us have our creative energy slapped out of us in school. We stop asking questions — most importantly, we stop asking ourselves questions, and listening to ourselves.
3. Stop charging low writing fees and STOP with the “freebies” (please!)
Chances are good that you’re not charging enough for your writing services. Or for your books, for that matter.
We talked about the tyranny of “free.” Stop with the freebies, already. Just this past week, a writer asked me how many free ebooks he needed to make a living writing. Huh…??? He couldn’t see the disconnect between free and selling. We had a long chat about self-confidence, value, and copywriting to convey that value. Basically it boiled down to understanding the marketplace — and confidence, above all.
If freebies aren’t working for you, for whatever reason, stop offering freebies. Simple.
Write more, and sell more: discover what inspires you
Writing has become a commodity. You know that it’s not. You know that you write out of your creative inspiration, and that that inspiration can run out.
Do whatever you need to do to refill your creative well. You’ll know when you’re inspired, because you’re eager to start writing, every day.
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