How to Stay Creative When You Just Want to Abandon Your Work-In-Progress 

There are times when I need to pop open a bottle of wine at two o'clock in the afternoon and pull on my PJs with the limp elastic waist. (Just kidding, I’m wearing them right now.)

It’s that moment when we've gotten to the point where we not only hit a writing wall head-first, but we're begging for it to knock us out cold. Our creativity is running in the negative and we wondered what was so brilliant about our idea before.

This just won't do. As creative people, we need to surround ourselves with inspiration and feel mentally stimulated. Even titillated.   

When I’m having trouble with a writing project or I just want to give up, it’s because I felt increasingly confused the longer I spent time with it. And when the solution never graced me with its presence, I put the project on the back burner, indefinitely. I *gasp* abandoned my baby.

You know exactly what I’m talking about. 

FAILURE. DOOM. EATING A ROLL OF THIN MINTS IN SHAME.

Luckily, I’ve figured out some ways writers can tap into their elusive creativity when times are tough—and get excited again about their project. I’m not the type who showers people with cheery optimism to the point where they want to punch me in the face. These things work when you put the time into them.

Talk to a Writing Buddy

We’re so busy circling our own mind that getting an outside opinion really opens up our perspective. Talk to someone who really “gets you” and has a knack for leading you to the place where your mental block originated. I’ve got a smart bestie for this.

Do a Mindless Task

A mindless task is something I absolutely loathe because it gets in the way of writing time. But when we can’t write, a mindless task is exactly what we need. Part of feeling blocked is a sense of uselessness, so it's nice to have something to do.

Washing those piles of crusty, neglected dishes, walking around the neighborhood (rain or shine), and nodding off to sleep are perfectly inconvenient moments to have a stroke of inspiration. Regardless of what you’re doing, turning off your brain allows new ideas to occur.

My Quickie Consulting Service

Sometimes we just want a moment of a professional’s time without signing up for a long, expensive editing process. Or we want one-on-one time with someone without a collection of confusing feedback from a critique group. Someone who will get your wheels turning.

Get extra insight about your unfinished manuscript, learn what you’re actually doing right (we’re all hard on ourselves), and ask questions you’ve been sharing with nobody but the cat. Get some Quickie Consulting.

When all else fails and you’re crankier than a twenty-something heading to your bleak, soul-sucking office cubicle, maybe it’s time to get real with yourself. You experimented with a story idea that didn’t pan out. And it won’t pan out.

That’s okay. 

You learned something from the experience and now you want to focus on a new project that makes your loins burn. DO. IT.

What you don’t want to do is trudge through your manuscript, beating away doubts as you steadily slip closer to a cliff. Instead, figure out what’s missing and plan your next steps.

Because the creativity you started with is still in you.