January 13, 2022 by Sarra Cannon
I don’t know about you, but the past couple of years, I have not been as creative as I want to be. Part of that is having a toddler at home, but part of it is the whole global situation that’s been going on. As the year switched over to 2022, though, I knew I really wanted to have a great writing year.
Not only do I want to be publishing more books for my career, but I honestly just miss writing more regularly and living inside the story worlds that only exist my head. So, how am I going to switch things up and be more creative in 2022?
Sometimes when we’re really burned out or feeling uninspired, the very best thing we can do is go looking for inspiration in the creative genius of other writers. Often, when we can’t get excited about sitting down to write, all we really need is to get lost in an amazing world or tune into some great characters imagined by another writer and then boom! We suddenly start to have ideas about our own work again.
It’s amazing when this happens, and honestly, it can come from places other than just books. It can come from running through a story in a video game, watching movies or TV Series, and so on. The more story we consume, the more creative we feel.
A lot of the time, I think we try to force ourselves into a box of “this is what a writer should look like” or “This is how a real writer behaves”. The truth of the matter, though, is that we’re all very different in our personalities and the way we most naturally perform or find our creative flow.
If you’ve struggled in the past to develop the kind of writing routine you feel you should be in, try instead to lean into your natural desires and strengths. Maybe instead of trying to force yourself to write every morning, you just write at night when you feel most creative. Or instead of sitting down every day and writing 1,000 words, you give yourself permission to daydream about the story all week and then binge write over the weekend.
Okay, I know we all have the market to think about, but in the end, who wants to write books or genres they don’t really love? If you’ve been struggling to get words on the page, maybe it’s not you. Maybe it’s the book.
This one comes with a bit of a warning, though, because if you do want to get published, you’re smart to consider the market and a strategy that will help you to succeed. In general, though, writing the most marketable thing you’re passionate about is a great strategy that will serve you well and keep you writing more each year.
How often are you avoiding writing because you just don’t think you’re that good at it? Maybe you had a bad experience with a critique group or a publisher years ago that destroyed your confidence and made you scared to sit and write. Or maybe you have a running negative narrative in your head as you type, like I do.
Sometimes all it takes to get back to the joy and flow of writing is to silence that inner critic and embrace your faith in yourself as a writer.
Despite the tale about the “suffering artists” out there, I think taking care of our mental health is perhaps one of the most important aspects of our ability to sit down and create stories that others want to get lost in. It’s also extremely important when it comes to our longevity as an artist.
I encourage you to start thinking about how you can support your own mental health this year. Maybe you need to be less busy, in general. Maybe you need to cut toxic people who don’t believe in your work out of your life. Or maybe you just need more sleep and better habits.
Whatever it looks like for you right now, even just a few steps toward embracing joy and positive mental health can make a significant difference in your ability to write the books in your heart.
I hope these tips resonated. They’re not your typical productivity tips, but I believe in their power, and I hope you’ll consider trying some of these this year.
I also hope your year is off to a great start. Let me know in the comments what you’re currently working on and how many books or stories you hope to write this year.
I have been self-publishing my books since 2010, and in that time, I've sold well over half a million copies of my books. I'm not a superstar or a huge bestseller, but I have built an amazing career that brings me great joy. Here at Heart Breathings, I hope to help you find that same level of success. Let's do this.