If you are reading this, that means you are probably looking for that magic trick or golden secret to finding an escape from that wall that is blocking out all your inspirational ideas. Before that, it will help you to understand what being a writer is all about. For this, you need to let me indulge on a short backstory.
I had made friends with a guy at a writing seminar, and for a few days a week, with my crumpled leather notebook in tow, I hung out and talked with him over coffee at Cuppachino’s coffee shop near the Boston College campus. A nice guy, he shared about the books he had written and was writing at the moment. This went on until one day when he decided to introduce himself (and I) as writers to another patron at the same coffee shop.
The man immediately called my friend out. “I am a writer,” he said, and then pointing at me, he added, “He is obviously a writer, but you, my friend, are no writer and it is annoying that you would pass yourself off as one.” As my friend began stammering and stuttering as if mortally wounded, the man apologized sincerely and left. Needless to say, we stopped meeting after that incident.
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Cause For Confrontation
To be fair, there was more to the conversation, and well, the man simply called it as he saw it. In retrospect, I couldn’t put my finger on what had bothered me about this ‘Writing’ friend until this incident. He was no writer (however, he was a pretty darn good liar). And this other fellow had caught every observable trait.
“First of all, you do not have the language skills for it, ” he had said. “I have seen you in here at least 10 times and not once have you carried a notebook or even written anything on a napkin. I have never once seen you yawn, much less look tired while we both have terrible bags under our eyes.”
“You also talk too much and I am sorry to say that you just do not have the kind of passion that it takes to be a writer and believe me, if you did… it would show.”
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The Content and Inspiration Paradox
Now a content writer is often asked to write the same material over and over, either on purpose or incidentally from client to client. This is where, many writers would attest, the writing passion is really tested.
Essentially there are only two differences between us and a sculptor or a dancer or pianist. First, we create art with words (it’s harder than it looks), and secondly, we rarely have fans to cheer us on. As artists and content writers, we have to find ways to inspire ourselves (occasionally the editor or a random reader will drop in a nice note), and we keep pushing ourselves, until one day, we just can’t.
If you write for a living, one day, you may feel compelled to throw up our hands in exasperation and proclaim to the world, “I just can’t do it anymore”. That’s when you have to remind yourself one very important thing.
Writers Help People
Regardless of the topic, as content writers and bloggers, our words eventually reach out and help someone. Our reviews help others make good decisions about purchasing a product, a service, a trip to a foreign land etc. We show people how to write blogs and articles, what typography to use, how to build and optimize websites and sometimes inspire them to create something new.
When I finally realized that my words were getting through to people, helping them, even if only inspiring them, it made all the difference in the world.
Just knowing that someone’s life will be a little easier or that I made someone smile ignites my original writing passion again. In the end, it is why we are here, alive, and part of society. We write and that’s how we contribute to our fellow man (and woman).
So When You Run Out Of Ideas…
When I begin to falter in faith or inspiration, there are three things I would do to regain my composure. They may work for you, or they may not; it takes a bit of trial and error to find out.
It’s Not About You
When I falter, I stop. I no longer allow myself to worry about poor me because in the end… it is not about me. I shift the focus of my writing towards those for whom I am writing, the reader. I make it about others, and about what I can do to help them. Believe me, our inspiration returns when it is no longer about us.
Write From The Heart
Rather than worry about why you are running out of ideas, begin writing from the heart because that is what you should be doing anyway (rather than worrying about yourself). Create something honest, and original and you might end up with something new, and if you are lucky, something beautiful.
Everyone has the knowledge to share. When I feel less than inspired, I remind myself to act like a teacher, one who passes knowledge from one mind to another. Like the old adage: Give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. It is hard not to be inspired with that kind of responsibility and the joy of knowing that someone will benefit from what we write, possibly for a lifetime.