Making it Rain Inspiration: Be Honest
By Jessica Albon
Think your article topic is a challenge? Try promising people inspiration and see just how quickly the writer’s block sets in. And that brings us to our first two tips:
1) Get really, really honest. Have you noticed lately how much people are swinging between “Things are great!!” and “Times are hard.” Sure, “the test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function,” (F. Scott Fitzgerald) BUT when it comes to creating content and staying inspired, you’ll find integrity of thought goes a long way to ensuring output.
So, start by focusing in on the core of what you want to communicate, and let yourself be as vulnerable as you need to be. With a topic like inspiration, for instance, the truth might lie in admitting that you’ve been feeling uninspired lately, or that you find inspiration a bit of a hackneyed concept or that you sometimes feel like inspiration is completely wrapped up in luck and there’s really not a lot you can do to bring it into your life. You don’t necessarily have to share any of this in the final article, but getting it out of your head and onto the paper (or screen) is often enough to let you see new ideas and make new connections.
An important caveat: don’t use honesty as an opportunity to show you have something in common with the “little people” who read your articles. Don’t condescend to your readers by pretending to be honest. Actually *be* honest. This is really easy to see in other people’s writing, but can be a bit trickier to actually catch as you’re doing it, so here’s what I do to try to stomp out any false honesty in my writing. The more sure you are that a piece is truly genuinely honest, the more likely you need this step.
Let the article sit for at least two days. That’s all. Just put it away somewhere and don’t think about it. Then, come back to it, re-read it, and ask yourself whether the piece is true. Not if it “feels” true. Not if it “sounds” true. But if it is. It sounds easy (and it usually is), but you’ve got to actually do it, if you want to return often to the fountain of honesty as inspiration.
2) Admit the challenges inherent in the topic you’ve selected (or in the topic you usually write about). Every topic has challenges–maybe it’s been written about so much before and you don’t think there’s anything new to say, or maybe it’s obscure and difficult to make relatable, or maybe there’s not a lot of hard evidence to back you up, but you really believe in what you’re saying…
Whatever the challenges of your particular topic, when you’re struggling to feel inspired, it often helps to get all those challenges down on paper. Sometimes, you’ll actually find the article is borne out of this list (like in this case, where my sharing the challenges I was seeing with the topic of inspiration actually lead to this technique for using those challenges *as* inspiration). More often, though, simply acknowledging all the reasons why you “can’t” or why it’s too hard, is enough to let your brain stop pouting and start creating.
So dear inspiration seeker, do either of these approaches appeal to you? In what way?
And, if they totally miss the mark, don’t fret–not every inspiration cure is right for every inspiration drought. Go back to doing these three things for the next few days (every single day, remember), and check back in for the next inspiration cures.Blog