Wells of inspiration. We all want to have flowing streams of inspiration, but it can feel as if we’re battling it out with the muse instead. To keep our well of inspiration flowing and rich in creativity we need to build a healthy writing life. What does such a writing life have in it?
A little bit of do-nothing time each day. I don’t say this lightly. I have a full time job and kids at home. But if you don’t give yourself time for a daily walk or to sit mindlessly in the bathtub, those subterranean levels of your mind will lay dormant rather than getting to work on your story.
Organization. Okay, yes, artists are known for being slightly ADD and collecting dust bunnies. I’m all about that. But to fight the distractions warring for your mind, you’ve got to keep the rest of your life in some semblance of order. When you know chaos isn’t at your door, you can be focused on your fiction. And a schedule doesn’t hurt either. If you know you’re going to show up to write at the same time each day, your well is coincidentally more likely to fill up just in time.
A healthy spiritual life. That of course means making time for your spiritual life. It also means trusting God when your writing life (or “other life”) goes on the blitz, and asking God, regularly, for the gift of inspiration. Who better to ask than the Story Teller himself?
A healthy body. True, that’s not always under your control. However, a writer who avoids processed food, exercises and gets enough rest has better odds at a healthy mind that is capable of a strong creative flow.
Positive self-talk. This is so hard. We criticize what we write. We question ourselves. Am I really publishable? Am I shortchanging my family? Etc. Sit down with yourself the way you would with a friend. Encourage yourself. Remind yourself why you’re cut out to be a writer. Dig out the chapter that shone like the stars to remind yourself how great you are. Be your own best cheerleader. When you’re confident, your wells can fill up because you’re concentrating on your story, not your doubts.
Writing Friends. Writing can be a lonely vocation and we’re odd ducks, so other writers are like soul mates. They encourage you to keep going, and whether they’re your critique partners or just people you can chat with about great writing, they’ll sharpen your skills and keep your wells brimming with new ideas.
Writing Books. You need new techniques to try and encouragement from veterans, even if you’ve been at the writing life for a long time. Just as I read Christian non-fiction to keep my spiritual life strong, I read writing books to keep my writing life strong.
Joy. Find the beauty. Find what makes you go to bed with a happy sigh. Find the silver linings even when life is upside down. When there’s joy in life and in your writing, your mind recognizes that you’re ready to focus, and opens the springs of creativity.