I’m going to be honest. I wrote the title for this blog and then promptly fell asleep. It was seven in the morning, and I’d been up all night, plagued with a battery of thought as writers often are, and I was exhausted. I wrote this title, ready to invite you back into my geekside virtual office with a question: do you know what sells?
I’m talking about writing, about content, copy, copywriting, and the biggest beast of all, novel writing. What sells? What grabs readers by the shoulders, shoves their noses into your work, and makes them unable to tear themselves away?
Honesty. Integrity. Inspiration. This is what sells.
When Inspiration Goes MIA
Every time you visit my virtual office, I get personal. I unleash a little bit of my soul, secretly hoping it doesn’t scare the crap out of you. If it does, I’m sorry. But I’m a lot less scary than a lot of what’s out there!
Anyway, let’s get down to it, shall we?
I’ve been in a funk. I’ve been in a place where every ounce of inadequacy is tugging at the strings of my heart, threaten villainously to snap them, one by delicate one. I’ve been in the place I imagine J.K. Rowling inhabited when she brought the Death Eaters of Harry Potter to life. I’ve been up; I’ve been down. I’ve been all the fuck around. And here I am, back in my office…
I won’t bore you with the details of why I’m here. Life decided it was time to throw me a mean curve ball, laced with joy and happiness, but overshadowed by outright fear. You know the ball I’m talking about; the one hurtling toward you like the most terrifying and menacing villain you can imagine. It threatens to do more than merely knock you down. It threatens to rip your heart and soul right from you, all while giggling like a giddy school girl and wearing a clown costume.
I’m talking about when inspiration goes missing in action. The passion and drive, which once fueled you, has evaporated like a drop of water being let go over the sun. You feel shattered and weak, fearful of what lies ahead yet determined to find out. The compass that once mapped your way is spinning, and you wonder in horror if this…if this is the end of your dream.
Every writer, every business owner, every person pursuing their dream knows this scenario. When inspiration goes MIA, what are we to do?
1. Talk to a Confidant
I rank this as number one on the list to finding inspiration because it is what works for me. After two months of missing inspiration and a multitude of things weighing on my mind, I messaged a dear friend, someone I think of as a confidant.
Our conversation didn’t last an hour, but the words you’re reading are the result. Suddenly, the idea for this post hit. And when I sat down to write, the words poured out.
Honesty in copy, from business blogs to corporate articles is rare. There’s something terrifying about telling our story, particularly as it unfolds. It’s like walking naked in front of the masses. But it is in honesty that greatness is forged. Just take J.K. Rowling as an example.
2. Read a Book
Have you ever felt like you relate more to dead authors than living? It’s okay; there’s nothing wrong with you! Sometimes the best way to spark inspiration is to pick up an old book and read.
The classics always seem to get my creative juices flowing. There’s something about Shakespeare. He seeps into my bones and kindles a flame capable of lighting my inspiration in my darkest hour.
3. See a Movie
The last movie I saw in the theatre was (brace yourself) Avengers: Age of Ultron. The geek in me was on cloud nine, and it made me think about the inspiration behind Inner Geek: Be True to You. I walked out of the theatre feeling as if the world were my oyster. That’s the kind of material I want to produce, I thought. I’d kill to work on a script like that!
When your inspiration is depleted, pursue the releases at the box office. Try something new. You never know what it might spawn if nothing more than a night away from a taunting blank page.
4. Surf Netflix and Hulu
I don’t get control of the television very often because I’m vying for it between a precocious five-year-old (I think I’ve had as much Curious George as I can handle) and a husband who loves his TV shows.
Then there’s the just turned one-year-old who will be taking over with educational shows shortly (he adores The Octonauts), and hey (brace yourself), we just found out recently we’re expecting a third minion – hence my couple month funk. I’m sick of morning sickness. I’m already done with sharing my body. And I’ve got to make it to December!
Where was I? Oh, yes! I don’t get control of the television often, but when I do I head straight for Netflix and Hulu. I search out shows I’ve never seen before in genres I’m barely familiar with because somehow it adds fuels to my creative process. I’ll admit, it hasn’t been overflowing with fuel as of late, but there’s something about discovering a new show or movie. It has the capability of igniting the imagination and causing inspiration to roar.
5. Lose Yourself
Sometimes a serious bought of writer’s block demands serious action, like driving yourself down to the bookstore and getting lost for an afternoon. But that’s not the only way you can get lost to find yourself and your inspiration. You can…
- Take a crazy trip, even if it’s just for a day, to some place you’ve never been.
- Explore the corner shop you pass every day and think how mysterious it looks.
- Fire up whatever device you game on and get lost in the fantastical realm of wherever it is you play (I like Warcraft because I’m a geek).
- And if all else fails, play some pretend (I highly recommend it if you have kids…it gives you a viable excuse to appear silly).
6. Do Something Crazy
Last, but not least, the key to unlocking inspiration is sometimes as simple as doing something not simple but crazy. Remember my asking what sells? Inspiration, that’s what. When a passion fuels our writing, and a fire burns within our bones we are suddenly capable of writing something hundreds of people will snatch up like candy. Honesty with our readers, running around naked (yeah, don’t take this out of figurative speech, okay?) for the world to see, is the stuff greatness in copy is made of.
Finding inspiration, that’s tough. Hanging onto it, that’s even tougher. But it’s baring our soul, sharing our humanity, handing people our imperfections on a platter, and saying, “Ya see that?” – THIS is what the stuff of legend is made of.
So how do you find inspiration? What funk are you wrestling out of? I’d love to hear from you…