Tips and Inspiration to Write

I hate to sound maudlin, but it’s a phenomenal feeling when you know you’ve built up a few karma points by helping someone learn something new.
In mentoring young or new writers, one of the reasons I started this blog was to put all of my ideas, favorite tools and resources in one place. What has emerged over the past year are a number of posts that offer the practical tools and resources I use.
I’ve also written a number of posts to ignite your creativity and inspire you to write.
Christmas is almost over. I’m not entirely sure how that is possible since it seems like we just finished wrapping all the Christmas presents. But, I look at my calendar and realize a little over a week we’ll be saying hello to January and a new year.
Maybe you have big plans for 2016. Perhaps you set a few goals and even determined this is the year you’ll write your book. And now, as January is rushing in, you are beginning to feel a little discouraged and maybe even uninspired. I admit the grayness of our weather these past few weeks leaves me yawning and wishing for a nap most days.
But here’s the deal: we all feel uninspired sometimes. And it’s not just writers … musicians, painters, home decorators all face the same struggle. Sometimes the creative juices don’t flow.
That’s when discipline kicks in. When we force ourselves to write some words today. When we outline a chapter or develop a plot line. We keep working because we realize that’s what creating is: WORK. Rewarding and beautiful, yes. But also just plain hard work sometimes.
Here are three simple ideas for finding writing inspiration when you’ve stared at the blank screen long enough!

1. Pay attention! This sage counsel from The Write Practice is great. {And by the way, if you are not subscribed to their blog, you should. Their writing exercises are wonderful.}

2. Look up quotes! One of my favorite ways to press forward is to do a quick search on Goodreads for quotes on a specific topic, like writing. Sandra Peoples of Next Step Editing also shares great quotes on her blog, Facebook page, and her writing Pinterest board.

3. More books, fewer blogs! When I’m struggling to write or just feel uninspired in any area, I have learned the best response is to unplug. Copyblogger offers that same counsel as his #1 suggestion in 10 Pathways to Inspired Writing.

How do you overcome writer’s block?

Sometimes you just have to get the words down.

Inspiration hits and your fingers can’t move fast enough. And, if you’re like me, you spend enough time not writing and looking for inspiration, when the words come freely you definitely want to take advantage of it. At this moment, I have over 25 posts in draft — most of them are a few sentences or a quote or even a bulleted list. When my muse shows up, I try to shower her with attention so she’ll give me as much as possible.
Over time, many of these drafts will be expanded and work their way into my editorial calendar. Some may turn into a post for another site or a column for the newspaper where I write. There might even be an idea scratched out that turns into a series.
There are other times when I have to get the words down. I read an article and feel compelled to write a response. A situation occurs in my life and I write to process. The words pour out and a whole post is written. And my instinct is to hit publish right then.

But I usually don’t.

Why? Because sometimes you {and I} need to wait before we hit publish. How do you know when you should wait? What posts need at least 24 hours to simmer and what posts can be served up immediately?

There are several reasons why publishing immediately may not be the best idea. But there are 2 reasons to wait 24 hours before hitting publish I think apply most often to bloggers.

Editing

When I speak of editing, I’m not only considering grammar but also factual editing. When I work on posts for Design by Insight, my goal is to offer you the very best information available. Doing so requires time for research and making sure I have a clear understanding of the factors relating to the topic I’m discussing. This isn’t to imply all our posts need to be perfect before posting; but, taking time to edit and rewrite for clarity — especially on complex or easily confusing topics — is a gift to your readers.

Emotions

It happens to all of us at least once, I think. You read an article or post and something ignites inside you. A compelling need to write your response, whether you agree or disagree, overwhelms you. Or maybe you are dealing with a trying person or situation personally. You simply must process your feelings or beliefs about the circumstances. So you write. Not a thing wrong with that. Go ahead and write. But, the wisest course of action is not to hit publish immediately. Instead, take a day to let your emotions settle and give yourself time to process the whole situation. Then reread your post, edit or rewrite as necessary to convey your message with dignity and wisdom. Or maybe, when you read over your words, you’ll decide not to publish at all. That’s fine too.

Words have power. We must be careful to wield them with restraint and honor. I often tell my daughter to remember what she posts on social media can be deleted from the screen but never from the minds of those who see it. We are wise to remember that same truth as bloggers also.
As bloggers, we want to be intentional about creating content that is valuable to our readers … which makes it more likely to be shared.

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