87. When You Don’t Feel Inspired to Write

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of the words just falling out of you as you write.

That’s every writer’s dream.

But what happens when it’s time for you to sit down and write your book, and you don’t have that sense of inspiration and ease?

In this episode, discover the truth about finding a place of inspiration to write from and learn specific steps to take when you can’t quite get in the zone.

For more writing tips and inspiration, follow me on Instagram @candiceldavis.

Mentioned in This Episode

Jump-Start: A free guide to help you jump-start your nonfiction book.

Complimentary Consultation Call

Complete Author Coaching (1:1 Coaching)

Episode Transcript

Hey there and welcome to Nothing but the Words. I’m your author coach, Candice L Davis.

I hope your week and your writing are both going well.

Recently, a coaching client asked me what she should do when she doesn’t feel inspired to write. And then, a few days later, another client asked me the same thing.

In my experience, inspiration can be tricky.

Yes, you can set up your life so you have more inspiration. I try to set my home and work environments up that way.

There’s something quite beautiful about having music and physical objects and literature and art and conversations you find inspiring as a part of your daily life. 

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of sitting down to write when you know the words are just waiting to flow from your fingertips. 

That’s what inspiration feels like.

Maybe a friend says something that triggers a thought of exactly what you need to write next for your book.

Maybe you happen to get 10 minutes to yourself that day, and your brain has a chance to make new connections and come up with new ideas. 

So you’re practically itching to get to your laptop or your notebook and start writing.

Those are the kind of golden days authors welcome and celebrate.

But what happens on the days when you sit down to write and you’ve got nothing. What happens when you just don’t feel inspired?

If you have a traditional book deal, your next deadline with your publishing company might loom over you with enough threat to get you typing.

But that deadline might be weeks away, or you might be going the route of indie publishing, with no one to answer to but the author in the mirror.

In episode #59, I talk about designing your creative writing space, from the p.o.v. of a writer, not a designer.

And in episode #60, I share some tips on what to do when you’re too tired to write.

You can find specific strategies to tap into your inner inspiration in both of those episodes.

But here’s the truth about inspiration.

You do not have to be inspired to write.

If writing is a hobby for you and you’re not at all invested in finishing your book on a set timeline or even finishing it at all, then by all means, wait for inspiration to hit.

Hobbies are meant to be relaxing diversions. No pressure. No stress. Few demands.

If, however, you’re committed to writing your book, if it’s important to you for whatever reasons matter to you, then you can’t rely on inspiration to get you through the weeks and months, and yes, sometimes even years it takes to write a world-class book.

I encourage my clients to work on the writing schedule that best serves them and fits their lifestyle. 

Once you’ve set that up, you’ve still got to sit down and get the writing done.

The first thing I’d invite you to do when you don’t feel inspired is to acknowledge that and allow it.

I’ve written thirty-two books, and I can promise you I didn’t feel inspired every time I sat down to write.

That’s perfectly normal, so don’t beat yourself up about it.

The problem is that popular culture has convinced us that we need some outer source to write well. 

We see it in the movies and on TV all the time.

The author or poet or musician has an epiphany and sits down to crank out a masterpiece.

So we believe we need to hear from the Muse.

We think we need a divine download that feels like our own personal miracle.

But the muse doesn’t always show up.

And even if you believe the divine is providing the words that flow through you to your readers, you still have a responsibility in this process.

Listen. You’ve already got the raw material of that divine download or that whisper from the muse.

You’ve got the experience and the stories and the knowledge and the wisdom.

It’s great when the idea comes to you fully formed in the shower, or on a walk, or at 3:00 in the morning.

But you can’t expect the muse or the divine to do all the work for you all the time.

Sometimes, and maybe most of the time, you have to put in the labor.

Sometimes the writing requires real effort.

It requires you to write your way through some of the mire to discover what you really want to say, and if you never sit down to write, you’ll never discover what’s really at the heart of your book.

In episodes #28 and #63 and probably a few others, I give you some exercises you can employ to get into the writing flow.

I highly recommend you create your writing space, set up your writing routine, and use those exercises when you need them.

They work, and they can keep you from getting stuck.

They can start to get your creative juices flowing so writing feels a bit easier in the moment.

But that’s not what I want to talk to you about here.

I want to give you a little tough love and remind you that you’re writing your book for a purpose. 

There’s someone, some reader, waiting for your book.

And you’re also waiting for your book.

You’re waiting for the way writing will transform you and the results you’ll get in your own life or your business from becoming a successful author.

Don’t let a lack of inspiration become an excuse for procrastination, friend.

You deserve better than that.

If this is the time you’re supposed to sit down and write, then barring fire, flood, or blood, sit down and write.

It may not feel easy at first.

It may feel like heavy lifting for a few minutes or even the whole time.

And that’s okay.

Don’t be afraid of effort.

Just because something requires exertion doesn’t mean it has to be difficult or painful. 

Surrender to the effort.

Embrace the fact that you’re doing the work of creation.

If you’ve done solid prewriting preparation, then you have a plan.

This is what will carry you through when you’re not inspired.

Review your purpose for your book, how it will serve you and how it will serve your reader.

Pick a section from your outline and start writing.

The sooner you can stop fighting the idea that you have to exert yourself a bit, the less painful that exertion will be.

And if you haven’t done that prewriting work, say for instance, you don’t have an outline of any sort for your book, but you plan to be finished writing it by the end of the year, then I suggest you stop where you are in the writing process and go back and lay a solid foundation.

Writing your book can be fun a lot of the time.

It may even come easily at moments.

But it always requires you to do your part.

Don’t depend on inspiration or the divine or the Muse to see you through.

Depend on you and your willingness to show up for yourself and for your readers.

That’s all for this episode, my friends.

For more writing tips and inspiration, follow me on Instagram @candiceldavis. 

Thanks for listening to Nothing but the Words. I’m Your Author Coach, Candice L Davis. And I’ll see you next time.

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