Ah, January. As Hoosiers know, that’s the month of heavy clouds, short days, and cold that takes your breath away. And you can’t forget all those flagging good intentions regarding resolutions for the new year.
I try to make a few small goals instead of life-altering resolutions and here’s one for this year that I’m sure isn’t typical: I’m making an effort to water our houseplants more frequently. Yes, you read that right. I’m the worst at houseplants. I love them, but I can’t keep them alive for anything. My husband will walk by one and mention how sad or droopy or crunchy it looks. And that’s when I realize it’s probably been a few weeks since I last watered. Oops!
Just like those droopy plants, our writing spirits can get dry and crispy if we don’t take care of them. I’ve been going through a time like that, myself. I felt uncreative and unmotivated, which made me doubt myself and my writing. So, I didn’t write.
When the well of creativity dries up like that, what’s a writer to do?
Seek nourishment. Just like my sad little houseplants, we all need it from time to time. Even when things are going well, our spirits can get tired and dry.
Here are a few things I’m sure we all know will help, but can sometimes forget:
1. Take a break
If you aren’t working on a tight deadline, a few days off can help refocus your mind on what you need to write. I know myself well enough to realize that the pressure to keep going will drain me if I try to push through without a day off here and there. And it provides the perfect chance to catch up on that reading writers need to do but have trouble fitting in!
2. Get a change of scenery (or just pace)
Maybe you always write at home, at your desk. Try getting out and writing at a quiet coffee shop or the library. Maybe take a notebook and brainstorm while people-watching at the mall. It might just take moving to a different room or handwriting instead of typing for a while.
Sometimes I’ll stop writing and work up a few ideas for my next project to get the creativity flowing again. After my last deadline, I took a few weeks to try my hand at a short story in a completely different genre. Big or small, a change can help get you excited about writing again.
3. Refresh your spiritual life
I love that God used words to reveal Himself to us in the Bible and that we can point others to Him with the words He gives us. But it only works if we stay connected to Him. Even for those who are faithful in Bible reading and prayer time, the daily practice can get routine at times. Try writing out your prayers in a notebook. Maybe you always follow a certain Bible reading plan. Add a journal to write a verse that stands out from the day’s passage. Or change to a devotional or Bible study to cover a book of the Bible.
Next time you’re feeling a slump coming on, don’t despair! And don’t be afraid to try something different.
I’d love to know, what’s your favorite way to reignite the creativity?
Abbey Downey never expected her love for writing to turn into a career, but she’s thankful for the chance to write inspirational romance as Mollie Campbell. A life-long Midwestern girl, Abbey lives in Central Indiana, where her family has roots back to the 1840s. She couldn’t be happier spending her days putting words on paper and hanging out with her husband, two kids, and a rather enthusiastic beagle.
You can check out Abbey’s books at www.molliecampbell.com