Staying Organized, Busy, Inspired and Sexy: Part III

Racing Stars by Andrew Stawarz - Pyragraph

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” —Charles Bukowski

I haven’t pounded out a syllable or dirtied a single key. I’ve avoided writing all day. I’m just another creative perplexed by existential roadblocks that are undoubtedly self-created. I don’t know how I arrived here, but I’d be a hypocrite if I couldn’t escape. Let me selfishly help you to help myself; let’s seduce inspiration before she dumps us and elopes with some other schmuck.

Mantra #3: A spectacle of inspiration

  • Inspiration usually comes if you force yourself to write. This is the last thing you want to hear.
  • Have you thoroughly outlined or brainstormed? If not, that could be why you feel lost and hopeless.
  • Scared of a blank page? With work at various stages there’s always something to do: research, editing, characters’ backgrounds, restructuring an act. Alternating tasks also fights mental fatigue and the binge writing that I mentioned in Part I.
  • Does the subject material you’re writing about excite you? If not, try switching to something else.
  • Create a lookbook: a slideshow of images and audio that illuminates the drama or moods of your piece.
  • Exercising before starting your day will give you an energetic boost and keep you from feeling restless.
  • Try doing your chores before working. A clear mind is a shpadoinkle thing! This does not work for everyone’s schedule, but it’s absolutely worth a try.

  • Keep a dream journal. Learn to wake yourself up to record your brilliant ideas. Lucid dreaming is the best thing for this.
  • A personal favorite is to write a character or piece of dialogue that offends you. It’s liberating to escape your comfort zone and see what’s out there.
  • Having problems with a character? Write their dialogue as you would for the opposite genre. If it’s drama try comedy, and vice versa. Good writing is about contrast, after all.
  • If you feel an emotional response while writing — stop — then go deeper. These moments generally come when we brush against something wondrous.
  • Train yourself to write and “Treat yo’ self!” Reward yourself for hard work, not good writing. A beer or some time with your favorite TV show or book works swell.
  • Read lots of articles on writing. If something inspires you, let the author know (hint, hint). Dialogue with other writers is often inspiring.
  • Peter De Vries famously wrote: “Sometimes I write drunk and revise sober, and sometimes I write sober and revise drunk.”
  • There’s a straightforward translation of this. However, try leaving the office and embrace the altered states that come with new surroundings. Go for a walk; work in the park. Inspiration can come from anywhere and often springs from a new or slanted perspective.
  • Print your piece and have a new tactile experience: Highlight, tear, read aloud, cry and rewrite. Exporting as PDF can help too. Make your piece look and feel different.
  • Try the famous Pomodoro technique: writing for 25-minute intervals with scheduled breaks (more here).
  • Write a screenplay-style logline for your piece. This can help you see problems or even inspire better ideas. Writer Blake Snyder explains that you should also pitch your idea to a friend or a stranger.
  • Write while listening to interesting and moody music on Spotify or Pandora. I’ll include some Spotify playlists I made below.

I hope something here helps you stay inspired on a cosmic level. Please share your inspirational tips in the comments.

Spotify Playlists to Seduce the Muse

Photo by Andrew Stawarz.

Jeremy Shattuck

About Jeremy Shattuck

Jeremy Shattuck is a musician, filmmaker and award-winning writer. He currently writes for the Weekly Alibi and Hip and Trippy, and has been published or featured by many others, including Bound Magazine, Conceptions Southwest, Humbird and New Mexico Mercury. Jeremy studied film at the University of New Mexico and the University of Exeter and co-founded Hip and Trippy in 1999.

His current mission is to help incubate culturally relevant films in New Mexico through screenwriting workshops.

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