“Mostly, we authors must repeat ourselves-that’s the truth. We have two or three great moving experiences in our lives-experiences so great and moving that it doesn’t seem at the time that anyone else has been so caught up and pounded and dazzled and astonished and beaten and broken and rescued and illuminated and rewarded and humbled in just that way ever before.”
—F. Scott Fitzgerald, One Hundred False Starts

7 Writing Quotes That Will Inspire You

Paris_notebook“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”
—Elmore Leonard

“Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.
—Ray Bradbury, WD

“Anyone who is going to be a writer knows enough at 15 to write several novels.”
—May Sarton

“You do not have to explain every single drop of water contained in a rain barrel. You have to explain one drop—H2O. The reader will get it.”
—George Singleton

“When writing a novel a writer should create living people; people, not characters. A character is a caricature.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“Write while the heat is in you. The writer who postpones the recording of his thoughts uses an iron which has cooled to burn a hole with.”
—Henry David Thoreau

“First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him!”
—Ray Bradbury

12 Ways to Get Inspired When You’re Feeling Uninspired

12WaystoGetInspiredI recently went through a writer’s lull. I was trying to work on my second novel but for some reason, I couldn’t focus. I knew how I wanted to rewrite and edit the story, I just couldn’t get myself to sit in front of the computer and do it. This went on for weeks and it was beginning to frustrate me. The ideas were all there, but somehow I wasn’t motivated.

Determined to get back on track, I changed my routines and tried new things. It worked.

If you’ve been feeling uninspired to write lately, here are 12 ways to get you back on track:

  1. Take a break. Working on the same manuscript for days or months can be daunting. Give it time to rest and go back to it a few days, a few weeks, or a few months later.
  2. Take a walk. Writing is sedentary. Get some fresh air and go for a nice long stroll to get your creative juices flowing again. Check out this article: http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/walking-helps-us-think
  3. Change where you write. If you usually write in the living room, try writing in the kitchen, or in the bedroom. If that doesn’t work, leave the house and try writing at a coffee shop, at a library, or at a park. A change of venue could do the trick.
  4. Change when you write. If you usually write in the mornings, try writing at night. And if you usually have a set time for writing, don’t have one. Instead of writing for three hours straight, try writing for just an hour and then take a break.
  5. Switch it up. If you find yourself staring blankly at the computer screen, try writing on a piece of paper. Get a notebook and a pen and start free writing. This always works for me.
  6. Listen to Music. And not just the same music you normally listen to. Change it up and try new genres.
  7. Watch a Movie. Pick your favorite blockbuster flick, or check out a new movie. Take advantage of your Netflix membership and explore old films, new films, foreign films, and independent films. Movies always help inspire me.
  8. Pack a bag and go somewhere. If you’re on a tight budget, taking a day off, or a little weekend getaway somewhere close by could be all you need. A nice vacation—short or long—will help you recharge.
  9. Write something else. Put the current manuscript aside and try writing a poem, a short story, or start a new novel. Then go back to the previous manuscript when you’re ready.
  10. Read a book or a magazine. You don’t have to read an entire book, unless you want to. Even reading a few pages could be enough to get you back on track. I’ve done this many times. Whenever I feel stuck, I flip through different books and read a few pages. Reading a beautifully written paragraph or dialogue is sometimes enough to inspire me to write again.
  11. Go back to your old notes. Remember the notes you wrote down on that napkin, or that notebook, or the one you typed up on your phone months ago? This is the time to read them over. There might be something there that could inspire you.
  12. Write. Sometimes the cure to feeling uninspired to write is to simply keep writing. Write anything. That anything could turn into something. It doesn’t have to be good…yet. Just write it. The whole idea is for you to start writing again. You can always edit later.

Happy writing!

The Invitation by Oriah

A dear friend of mine introduced me to this beautiful poem. Thought I’d share it with you.

The Invitation by Oriah

It doesn’t interest me
what you do for a living.
I want to know
what you ache for
and if you dare to dream
of meeting your heart’s longing.

It doesn’t interest me
how old you are.
I want to know
if you will risk
looking like a fool
for love
for your dream
for the adventure of being alive.

It doesn’t interest me
what planets are
squaring your moon…
I want to know
if you have touched
the centre of your own sorrow
if you have been opened
by life’s betrayals
or have become shrivelled and closed
from fear of further pain.

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

I want to know
if you can be with joy
mine or your own
if you can dance with wildness
and let the ecstasy fill you
to the tips of your fingers and toes
without cautioning us
to be careful
to be realistic
to remember the limitations
of being human.

It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
is true.
I want to know if you can
disappoint another
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.

I want to know if you can see Beauty
even when it is not pretty
every day.
And if you can source your own life
from its presence.

I want to know
if you can live with failure
yours and mine
and still stand at the edge of the lake
and shout to the silver of the full moon,
“Yes.”

It doesn’t interest me
to know where you live
or how much money you have.
I want to know if you can get up
after the night of grief and despair
weary and bruised to the bone
and do what needs to be done
to feed the children.

It doesn’t interest me
who you know
or how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand
in the centre of the fire
with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn’t interest me
where or what or with whom
you have studied.
I want to know
what sustains you
from the inside
when all else falls away.

I want to know
if you can be alone
with yourself
and if you truly like
the company you keep
in the empty moments.

By Oriah © Mountain Dreaming,
from the book The Invitation
published by HarperONE, San Francisco,
1999 All rights reserved