Making Sense of the Madness: Steps to Inspire Your Next Great Idea

I haven’t been blogging here lately because I’ve been in a whirlwind of writing. I realized while lying in bed that there is madness to my process. I can drum up ideas quite quickly and when I do, there are a few steps that fuel my inspiration through the hard, stuck, I-can’t-write-another-thing parts.

I steal moments to write.

 Before I had kids, I had all kinds of time to write. But I spent it mostly pretending to write while I lavishly devoured the hours because there were so many of them. These days, I’m usually giving a kid a bath, changing a diaper and cooking dinner. Some nights all at the same time. I remember Elizabeth Gilbert saying in Big Magic that you should write like its an affair. That’s how I write these days afraid someone will catch me, and constantly thinking about it when I’m not writing. It scares away the self-doubt, and brings an exciting energy to time spent stolen on my laptop.

I read everything. 

Normally, I am a voracious reader, so this is not entirely abnormal. But when I’m in the writing mode, my reading takes a whole new level of intensity. I pour through magazine articles, online blog posts, nonfiction best-sellers, and favorite books I’ve already read. Reading other peoples writing is thoroughly inspiring. When I feel stuck it pulls me to a new place, gives me a fresh perspective and elevates my own writing.

I listen to instrumental music. 

Music has this magical quality of lifting me out of whatever mood I’m in. Listening to music when I’m writing (I love Beethoven’s Five Secrets by The Piano Guys.) keeps me motivated and in the groove, which is imperative to getting through the process.

I write crappy and scrappy. 

I need to vomit write, get it all out on paper without thinking, without shame or fear that I’ll probably delete most or all of it tomorrow. This step is crucial. It’s all about gaining confidence, getting past the initial fears of putting words on a page, and feeling like I’ve accomplished something. The scrappy part is in this crazy feeling I get when I’m writing crappy. It’s like I don’t care. I can write what I want. I’m owning it. It takes balls to write the crappy stuff, but it’s okay cause I’m the only one who’s going to read it.

I go on a writing hiatus. 

After step four, I’m pretty spent. I’ll use that time of rest to meditate, play with my sons, and be completely present in the moment. I find that when I’m not consciously thinking of my projects, ideas start popping out of nowhere. It’s a miraculous thing.

If I do all these steps, my writing becomes effortless. These are my secret tips to writing. Have any of your own? Please share!

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