When Inspiration Goes On Strike

What do you do when your inspiration goes on strike? When it vanishes, disappears, ceases to exist? When it packs up the bags full of ideas and creativity and leaves?

You have some options in how to react when this happens. Your first option is to give up. You can just stop writing. You can put the laptop or pen and paper away and stop creating and putting words to the page. You can abandon the half written story, the half formed blog idea, the half hearted attempt. I have certainly done this before. In some ways it’s the easiest option – if the words stop flowing, just stop trying.

But what if your job or hobby relies on writing? Worse, what if writing is where you find your peace and happiness, a calm place in the storm of the world? If the inspiration goes on strike in these situations, to just ‘give up’ on writing might not be an option. So what other options do you have?

When my inspiration goes on strike, when my brain stops cooperating or I can’t focus my thoughts into coherent sentences, I have learnt to just write it out. Often, my inspiration isn’t actually on strike – it’s just buried and clouded underneath layers and layers of thoughts and junk cluttering up my mind.

So this is what I do. I get a blank page (digital or real) and I just write. Any words that come into my head go on the paper. Any thoughts that have been bothering me or anything in my life that is stressing me goes on the page. It doesn’t matter how it sounds or looks or even what I write (no one will ever see it – you can delete the file or throw away the page when you’re done) but the important thing is to get the words out. Getting the words out will create space in your head for new ideas and creativity.

When I do this, a miracle occurs. As I write, I feel my mind clearing, my focus sharpening and often at the end, I will have an idea that has arisen from the mess of thoughts and words I have thrown down onto the page.

Then I can expand and elaborate on that idea until suddenly, I am writing again, the words are flowing and it’s like they never stopped.

I think everyone has times when they get stuck. Everyone has times when the words stop coming. It’s not a sign to give up, and it’s not an indication that you aren’t a good writer. As long as you press on and persevere in your attempts to capture those thoughts and words and put them down in black and white, the inspiration will return.

Inspiration doesn’t quit. It just goes on strike occasionally.

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