January is always a difficult month and this year has been exceptionally tough. Is it any wonder none of us feel very creative in our writing. We’ve lost the motivation, the impetus, the light is slowly going out. How do you re-ignite that spark? Well, I’m not saying I have the answers but, as we move into February, I am here to offer 21 (cos of the year, yeah?) tips to keep that creative brain from totally shutting down.
1. Know Your Audience Remember who it is that you are writing for. Don’t try to appeal to everyone, focus on a specific type of audience. For example ‘A Bugs Life’ was written with ants in mind. However, don’t let an audience demographic limit your potential. For example ‘A Bugs Life’ was actually enjoyed more by humans. I don’t think the ants gave a shit either way. Same with the film ‘Antz’.
2. Mourning Pages Get up in the morning and do a google search for the obituaries of classic writers, read through 3 pages worth and take pride in the fact that all these people are now dead and you’re not.
3. Watch Other People’s Work And Cry Look how creative everyone is being in lockdown. The quality on this video is astonishing. That person has a bloody green screen. And they did all this from their bedroom. What have you done? That’s right. NOTHING.
4. Start Small. Think Big Every great idea sprouted from a tiny seed — usually a seed of doubt. You just have to follow the path of that seed as it sprouts and grows and you’ll soon find it takes you to a higher place. Imagine something as miniscule as an innocuous platitude will be the thing that catapults you into writing your magnum opus
5. People Watch (from your window) Get inspiration from those around you, you’re looking at them from high up. They look like ants. Ants. The life of ants. Or maybe broaden it. The life of bugs. There’s something in that.
6. Mood Playlist Find some music that best reflects your mood to motivate and galvanize you into action. ‘All by Myself’ goes wonderfully sandwiched between ‘Everybody Hurts’ and ‘Go Now’.
7. Set A Timer Set a timer on your clock. Your biological clock that is. Come on, can you hear it ticking? Days turning into months into years. We’re already in February. 2021 is going to race by and you’ll have zero to show for it as you grow older, bitter and more haggard.
8. Read Back Your Old Writing And Cry Look for inspiration in your old work which also never got picked up and has been sitting in your hard-drive gathering dust since 2016.
9. Think About Those Things That Almost Didn’t Get Made And Then They Did. Yours Didn’t The Queens Gambit, Fawlty Towers, Harry Potter — they almost all slipped through the net from commissioners and publishers but then they got made and ended up going on to be tremendously huge success stories. So that was nice for them, wasn’t it? Do you feel better?
10. Feel Cold Walk around your home office shivering and asking your partner/housemate/family ‘is it cold? I feel cold’ to distract yourself from the fact you haven’t written anything today — because it’s just very cold. This also works for ‘Feel hot’ in the summer.
11. Have Sex Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
12. Use Self-deprecation Because it’s A way of battling the crippling loneliness and total lack of self-esteem which plagues you every day.
13. Scream Your Thoughts Into The Void If you record it, you can later incorporate this into your mood playlist.
14. The Run-up Stand at the other side of the room and take a run-up to your open blank word doc. Sprint to your computer and then immediately launch into a big writing frenzy. Avoid crashing into furniture or pets.
15. Take A Walk Into A Different Room — And Cry The airing cupboard also counts as a room.
17. See 16
18. Phone A Friend This is like Tip 13, only this time there is a human soundboard on the end of it. They may feel the urge to scream back. Go with it. It’s always good to find someone to collaborate with on a project. Nothing like purging all those anxious thoughts of failure and uncertainty than with a healthy scream. Other discussion topics could include ‘I’m up and down’ and ‘This lockdown is definitely the worst one’.
19. Make Lists (that neither hinder or improve anything).
v) Keep prolonging the inevitable
20. Imagine You’ve Already Written Something Feels good, doesn’t it?
21. Tea Boil yourself a fresh pot and pour it all over your laptop and eyes. Then set fire to all your paper and notebooks. There, now no one is writing anything. And that’s fine too.