9 Ways to Fall Back in Love with Your Writing
Maybe you’ve worked so long on your novel that you can’t even remember why you liked the idea—and now you need to pitch it, i.e., convince someone else to like it. Maybe you’ve gotten so bogged down in “the industry” that you’ve lost that spark for the work itself. Or maybe you’ve been forcing yourself to match a really high output, and that’s sucked most of the joy out of your process. Whatever the reason, burnout happens. At some point, most of us have fallen out love with our work, our craft, our choice to be writers.
That’s not a very good place to be. It might be the reality sometimes (often) that writing isn’t a pure joy—especially if we’ve made it our career or a serious committed craft—but working from a place of disinterest or misery isn’t sustainable. While publishing may be a business, writing is an art, and art needs to have some passion behind it. So how do we rekindle that passion? Obviously there’s no one-solution-fits-all answer here, but I do have nine good things to try when you find yourself falling (or fallen) out of love.
1. Take a Break from the Craft
If not being in love with the craft of writing anymore is the problem, how exactly will taking a break make it better? The same way that not seeing your romantic partner for a while can make you miss and appreciate them in a new light: absence makes the heart grow fonder. If writing is your career and you can’t afford to take a full break, you can probably still switch your focus from the art to the business for a while to give your creativity a refresh.
2. Take a Break from the Industry
On the flip side, sometimes we blur together the art and the business and think of it all as “writing stuff,” forgetting that they’re actually separate facets of a larger thing. It’s easy to let disappointment, fatigue, and burnout from the business side (submissions, rejections, deadlines, etc.) color our impression of the artistic side, even if that artistic side is actually going well. I mean, it is harder to stay in love with a work that’s been rejected 50 times. That’s natural. If that’s the case for you, the obvious solution is to push business aside for a while and let yourself get back into the art without the pressure of business looming.
3. Go on Retreat
One of the best ways to take a break from the industry, if you can swing it, is to go on retreat. Writing retreats can be any way you want to make them, and they don’t have to cost a lot. This is a fabulous way to escape everything except your writing itself. Like a honeymoon for your art.
Every fantastic writer I’ve ever met or heard of loves to write because, first, they loved to read. So when all else fails, go back to the basics. Stop writing. Stop submitting. Stop everything and read a damn good book. Not enough? Read a few more. At some point, if you read enough, your passion to write your own is bound to reignite.
5. Talk to Someone New
You know how when you read a really great book you’re just dying to talk to someone about it and convince them to read it? Sometimes that’s all you need to remember why you loved your own book idea, back before your burnout. It doesn’t work to talk to your friends, family, and beta readers who already know about the project; it has to be someone who’s never heard about it before. Your best bet is to find someone who’s likely to be interested, so they’ll have a spark in their eye and ask questions, to remind you there’s excitement here.
6. Start Something New
Of course, some projects need more than just an injection of fresh excitement; they need a long break, or maybe even a dark trunk. No worries. There’s nothing wrong with setting a WIP aside. In fact, sometimes that’s the best possible way to fall back in love with writing in general. Start a new WIP! That first rush of potential and eagerness is unlike any other part of the process. Why not tap into that?
7. Revisit a Passion Project
If you don’t have the energy (or idea) to start something brand new, you can always go back to something old. Old-old, not “my last WIP.” That passion project that you started five, ten, twenty years ago. The one that you got halfway through on and stopped. Or the one you finished and put away. Whatever the reasons, if you have a novel sitting around that you once loved, consider intentionally going back to remember why. Not only can it reinvigorate your love of writing overall, there’s a great chance you now have skills and knowledge that you didn’t have then that can make the project much stronger.
8. Allow Yourself a New Passion Project
If you don’t have a passion project to revisit, maybe it’s time to start one. What do I mean by passion project? Well, I mean a project that is just for the love. No daydreams of selling, no pressure for a deadline, no one waiting on you to finish this step or that. Just you, your pet idea, and as much time as you need to sink in deep. Mine took me nine years just to draft, and it’s nowhere close to being “finished.” I think every writer deserves a WIP like that.
9. Dabble in a New Form
One final idea: do something else. Whatever that means to you. Sometimes we get so set on our primary creative outlet being the “main” creative outlet that we kind of forget there are thousands of other options out there. For you, that might mean trying your hand at some poetry, short stories, or screenplays. Or maybe it means trying a non-writing form of expression, like painting, acting, or fashion design. The point is to break outside your routine and reinvigorate your creativity itself by trying something new. Once you're back in the creative flow, you can always ease back into your normal writing.
Writers, have you ever fallen out of love with writing? How did you fall back in? (Or have you?)
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