Grasping at Straws: Struggling to Find Inspiration

6.22.14 / office
Everything seems like it’s been moving so slowly lately in the realm of writing. I have so little inspiration. I can sit in bed reading for hours on end, finish a book in a day, but when I go to write something of my own I’m completely stumped. So I go on tumblr and waste time. I binge watch shows on Netflix. I browse different websites that make me feel inspired, but I can’t actually get anything on a page. It constantly feels like I’m floundering; I’m so desperate to find something to write about for my blog that here I am, essentially writing about not knowing what to write about.

It seems like the only time I’m content is when I’m reading. It’s one of the things that makes me feel productive even if I’m not creating. Still, it doesn’t feel like enough. In the back of my head, there’s this little voice that keeps berating me for procrastinating.

One plan (okay, my only plan) is to try Camp Nanowrimo. I haven’t done anything for Nanowrimo in a year or two, but every time I did it, I felt productive and managed to push myself even if what I came up with was totally ridiculous junk. I was consistent, and there was always something good to be picked out of what I was working on, even if the project wasn’t good as a whole. My hope for Camp Nanowrimo is to compile enough for some kind of poetry collection chapbook, which I’ve been trying to work on for months but have been floundering to work on since moving. (Even if it’s an excuse, and I don’t like making excuses, moving really did throw me off of my writing groove.)

Sometimes it feels like I only look the part of a writer: surrounded by notebooks and pens, my laptop open to Scrivener, a binder of pieces in revision, a stack of books being read littering the bedspread.

When I was a kid, I had a little set of plastic doctor’s tools. (Honestly, who of us didn’t?) I’d wear the oversized plastic stethoscope around my neck while pretending to give myself a shot with the oversized plastic syringe. Now, everything is real, but it still feels like a game, like I’m playacting the thing I want to be when I grow up.

It’s just scary feeling like you can’t do the only thing you’ve ever really wanted to do.

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5 thoughts on “Grasping at Straws: Struggling to Find Inspiration

  1. I understand -exactly- how you’re feeling right now and I have to say, most importantly, that you are not playacting at the thing you want to be when you grow up. Writing, as you know, is a process. That process is hard, long, and arduous, but at the end of that process? At the end is triumph. Celebrate your daily achievements, even if they’re not writing related. Even if all you do in a single day is write a list of things you want to do and end up reading the day away, celebrate finishing the book or knowing what you need to get done. Keep pushing what you’ve written already to publishers, self publish a book and bring it to indie markets, just keep pushing. You’re talented and wonderful and the world deserves to experience it. Inspiration can be hard, I just went through a rough few months of no inspiration and no drive, and at the end of it, I realized that it’s better to just move forward than focus on the things I wish I had done.

  2. I have never met a creative person who doesn’t go through this same thing. It must come with the territory. I hope it doesn’t get you down too much! I know that any creative process can be jam packed with discouraging feelings (especially if you’re like me in that your inner voice is almost always one of negativity as opposed to positive encouragement) and pulling yourself out of that hole can be really hard. Hang in there! If you’re making the effort to write (even if you’re not actually writing, but say browsing for inspiration) that is still SOMETHING. It’s still a part of the process, even if you’re not physically putting words to paper. You never know what can happen – you make up with inspiration smacking you in the face one morning.

    And I don’t think moving is an excuse. I think it’s a legitimate reason. For me to productively make art I need to be comfortable. And I feel that just-moved-in isn’t so comfortable – your brain is on overdrive about projects or things to do with the new house, and emotionally it’s probably on overload filled with a mix of excitement yet nervousness about a new place (at least that’s how I would be!). So it’s not surprising that there isn’t much room for inspiration at the moment. Sorry for such a long reply; I’ll wrap it up now. Stick with it, even if it’s in the smallest way, and I hope inspiration hits soon!

  3. First of all, Camp Nanowrimo sounds like good fun! Sometimes I find that I need the guise of a project or deadline to get things done; I can’t just impose one myself, it has to be FOR something.

    As for “playacting”, I know what you mean. There comes a point where you can’t say “I’m studying…” or “I’m majoring in…” because it’s just not the case. Time has passed. Personally, I’m finding it strange to still be saying “I’m a recent graduate…” because I’m no longer a student, and “recent” is getting further and further away. I AM a teacher. And good lord, does that sound weird to say, but I think it’s one of those things you just have to get accustomed to. You ARE a writer. It may take a little while to find your groove, but you ARE a writer.

  4. I’m also doing Camp NaNo! For a similar reason, actually, too. I love writing, but the process is hard for me, and I know that the best way to overcome that is to just keep going forward and write more, so I’m trying to do that. I think Camp will be a good experience. Let me know if you want to join my private cabin on the website – it’s my roommate and me and one of her good online friends so far.

    And I’m going to add to the chorus of people that understand how you feel. Feeling like you can’t do the one thing you’re good at is a huge problem for me. Though in my case, it’s more just feeling like I’m not even good at the thing I’m best at. Hmm. There’s a blog post in here somewhere. Haha.

    I hope that doing Camp NaNo will help us both out! I’m excited to follow your progress.

  5. Man, I definitely know what you mean in regards to the writing process. I get so many ideas, but for some reason it’s difficult (particularly over the past two years or so) for me to just get it out on paper (or, you know, a word processor). I’m starting to realize, though, that it’s mostly due to my fear of failure. I’m afraid of starting a story because I worry I won’t like it, but lately I’ve turned that attitude around because what’s the worst that could happen? If my story ends up terrible, I could always rewrite it and tweak it. No harm, no foul.

    Camp Nanowrimo sounds like a cool idea. I may look into that some more, since NaNoWriMo was always something I wanted to do (but, again, was too scared to).

    P.S. I found your blog through the NovelTea group and was pleasantly surprised because I used to follow your old blog on Blogger, though I never commented back then. Super glad to have stumbled upon your new one. 🙂

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