Don’t judge me, but… my laptop is totally going to be my Valentine this year.
*slow jam plays*
Yep, I’ll be spending February 14th rattling off New York Fashion Week show reviews and sipping from the endless coffee supply I stocked up on before the snow storm hit New York this week.
The countdown to what is supposed to be the most romantic day of the year had me thinking about the up’s and down’s of love. Then, because I’m just a huge nerd, I started to draw parallels between love for writing and love for …human-folk.
So, let me ask you something.
Is being a writer really what you thought it would be?
Your visions of scrawling cutting edge articles, style tips for glossies, stories about your travels, breathtaking fiction or the wittiest copy on the planet…
…how’s that all panning out?
If you’re knee-deep in writing career bliss right now, I am sending you a giant high-five through the screen (go ahead and high-five your screen to receive it, just don’t drop your phone or knock your monitor over). That is AWESOME.
If you’ve begun to feel a sort of anti-love toward writing, you’re not alone.
Whatever stage you’re at, I’m willing to bet you still struggling with the occasional OMG-don’t-make-me-write kind of day and occasional tell-the-client-I-was-hit-by-a-bus afternoon.
Even when you’re writing for yourself, it can feel like such an emotionally draining chore when the muse is off being an elusive heart breaker somewhere.
Is that not ridiculously similar to human love?
Oh yes, it is.
Let me give it to you straight…
I’ve spent days excitedly drafting copy for my favorite brands, afternoons writing bizarre fiction for fun, and nights sobbing in front of Microsoft Word because I had no idea where my career was headed. Plus, every kind of crazy in between!
Been there, done that.
BUT! Writing is something I always come back to.
It rejects me, it accepts me, it amazes me. And like the most star-crossed soulmate, it always finds a way to draw me back in.
And after freelance writing for almost eight years, I know a thing or two about falling in and out of love with my craft. If you’ve recently fallen OUT of love with your writing, I have some tried-and-true tips on rekindling the flame.
Break out the wine glasses and keep reading, sugar!
1. Make it a date!
Since when did writing become a chore that tempts you to “accidentally” dump a whole latte on your laptop? It’s time to make it totally irresistible again, and we’ll start by treating writing sessions the same way you would treat a date.
What does that mean?
It means you start out by blocking time on your calendar. Day or night, whichever time you prefer.
Pencil it in and get hyped up about it! You wouldn’t make a date and then just not show up, right? Next, clean your work space the way you would if you had a hot date coming to your place for dinner.
There’s nothing enticing about your fingers sticking to your keys because you haven’t taken a cotton swab to that bad boy in years.
Want to take it a step further? Light some delicious-smelling candles, pour yourself a warm-and-fuzzy drink, and set the mood with your favorite tunes!
You’ll find that deliberately making it special feels silly, but ends up working. The combination of a sparkling clean space, good vibes in the form of music and aroma therapy, and the feeling or pride you uncover for taking the whole thing seriously propels you into inspired writing mode.
Bonus tip: Write in your underwear. That’s why you became location independent in the first place, right?!
2. Remember why you fell in love.
You may have laughed your way down here from the first tip if you’re not a Libra like me—though I know my Leo’s are loving it!—so consider this a more practical approach to regaining passion lost.
You’ve probably heard (or watched) me mention your “why” before.
In my first-ever Q&A video, I included identifying your “why” as one of the most crucial steps in redefining your niche as a writer—watch it here if you haven’t seen it: How To Change Your Niche & Hit The Ground Running
You need to know your “why” if you’re launching any kind of project or career if you want to avoid giving up when shit gets real. In this case, it’s the reason you fell in love with writing at the beginning of your career (or, far more likely, way before that).
It’s the essential root of your tireless pursuit!
Which is also the name of the indie rock album I’m dropping next month…
Reminiscing about this stuff can reign you back in, even when you think you’ll spontaneously combust if you have to write one more effing page or email.
Make an effort to reconnect with your “why” for this particular path in life and let yourself feel that excitement again.
3. Put a ring on it.
If you want it to last, you’ve got to commit.
It’s February now, and if you’re already slacking on your New Year’s resolutions like most of humanity, you know how hard it can be to stay committed to things, even when we care about them.
How do you walk the walk for the long haul, then?
Get literal. Don’t just tell yourself you’re going to write this year. You need an action plan, dates on your calendar and concrete goals broken down into steps.
Yes, your “dates” can all have wine and be conducted in your undies if that makes it happen for you! See #1 for more inspiration if you just skimmed on down here.
So many distractions and temptations pop up in life on a daily basis. You have to be relentless about committing to the important stuff. Trust me, you’ll feel a sense of pride and wholeness when you make time for those all-important priorities.
On the contrary, if you let them slide, you’ll feel guilty and increasingly less motivated to lock it back down and stay serious about your craft.
4. Spice things up.
Rawwwr! This one is fun.
You’ve heard of spicing up relationships to reignite the flame, obviously…. but have you heard about spicing up your writing career?
If you’re bored of writing a certain genre, working with specific clients or publishing on an outdated platform, your answer might be changing things up.
That could mean trying a new sub-genre, unrolling a plot twist you’ve been nervous to attempt, pitching to a new magazine, getting a new computer, switching over to a new writing app… whatever makes writing feel fresh for you again!
There’s no wrong answer here. Take stock of what your writing experience looks like, and try to identify anything that feels “blah” or heavy. Then, switch it up. Do you need a sun lamp? A new pen name? A new invoicing system, even?
I could go on forever, but you get the idea.
Hit refresh, and see your (writing) world through rose-colored lenses once more.
5. Find your confidence again.
Sometimes writing sucks because we get into that “I suck” mindset. I find that this usually occurs for one of two reasons:
- You forgot how awesome you are
- You need to upgrade
You can remedy #1 by resisting the tempting torture of comparison.
At the very least, cut back on visiting the Amazon reviews of writers who are years ahead of you. While you’re spending time lamenting over the success gap, you could be working on, you know, actually getting to their level!
But also, chill! All careers grow at different paces. There’s nothing appealing about forcing progress. You could be killing your own mojo.
Jealousy of any kind can really take the wind out of your sails. Maybe you can relate to a time in a relationship where a lack of confidence triggered similar ugly feelings?
Tame that noise. You’re above it.
Also, you never know what’s going on behind the scenes of your a writing peer’s glowing web presence. The grass is not actually greener anywhere. Believe me. Focus on your own grass!
As for #2, sometimes you DO need to improve in order to level up.
If you’re feeling stuck, try taking a new writing course, updating your portfolio site with some fresh testimonials and samples, or trying out a new technique to boost your confidence.
The moral of the story? If you want to fall in love with writing again, you’ll need to make time for your projects, keep things fresh with new approaches, give yourself a boost of confidence and, perhaps most crucially, reconnect with your reason for it all.
What helps you fall back in love when writing feels like a chore? Share your experience in the comments below!
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