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    How to Get Your Enthusiasm Back as a Creative Writer

    get your enthusiasm back

    Doesn’t it just drive you up the wall that you’ve read hundreds of blog posts and read nearly as many books on writing and creativity, and yet you’re still not making the progress you expected to make by now?

    The impetus for my new book Inspired Writer: How to Create Magic with Your Words is that we are all different and that the majority of  advice being offered online and in how-to books treats us as if we all learn and work in the same linear way.

    But there’s a problem:

    We’re not all the same and what works for one person might not work for another.

    It’s true.

    Write every day. They say.

    I’ve advocated this advice. I’m sure you’ve heard it too (like, a million times), and tried it. For some of you, it’s been a godsend, and for others not so much. In fact, there are countless others who tried in vain to follow such advice and have consequently quit the craft because they lost their enthusiasm for it.

    The biggest problem is that how-to-write clichés, such as: write every day, write more concisely, and, let us not forget the classic, avoid clichés, have been turned into de facto “do’s” and “don’ts” bloggers and non-fiction book how-to advice givers offer repeatedly.

    It’s so much easier to tell you to write every day when you expect this advice and hold it in the highest esteem. I could give an hour’s speech on the benefits of writing every day and get tons of ooh’s and aah’s from the audience, as if they were hearing it for the very first time.

    But writing every day might not be for you. If that’s the case and you take this advice as gospel and can’t hold to it, you may start to get angry with yourself. And the more you can’t hold to it, the worse you will feel until you’re chastising yourself more than you’re writing.

    Here’s the thing – we’re not copy machines.

    It is true that repetition is very important to improve in any endeavor, but it doesn’t have to be daily and you don’t have to strive to be the next Shakespeare. In fact, striving to be anyone else other than who you are could be detrimental to your work and your self-esteem.

    This doesn’t only apply to writing. Standardized methods stem from factories and school systems, which in turn stem from Henry Ford’s creation of the assembly line. The assembly line started the idea that everything could be done repeatedly in an identical way and eventually this led to a host of standardized ways of doing things, to include learning and working, and yes, even writing.

    Standardizations are great for linear thinkers who want to get from point A to point B as efficiently as possible, and not so good for everyone else. And that’s why so many artists beat themselves up when they read the typical how-to advice that suggests linear ways of doing things and end up stuck and blaming themselves.

    So how do you overcome linear advice if you’re a non-linear creative person?

    It’s easy, recognize it, and don’t use it if it doesn’t work for you. Linear advice is not hard to identify. If it looks and sounds standard, then it probably is and around 98% of pro bloggers and how-to books give this type of advice.

    Linear:

    1. She writes every day, usually at the same time and same place.
    2. She needs to be organized with all necessary tools in their proper place and ready to use.
    3. Loves to write until she reaches a specific word count.
    4. She doesn’t believe writer’s block exists and if she somehow does get stuck she has a go-to system to beat it.

    Non-linear:

    1. She tries to write every day, but doesn’t hold to it if she’s not ‘feeling it.’
    2. Her desk tends to look like a chaotic mess ‘to others’ and her tools are wherever she last used them.
    3. She writes until she’s done or doesn’t feel like it anymore. Writing until she reaches a specific word count makes her want to vomit in her mouth.
    4. Writer’s block exists for her and it’s diabolical.

    Do you feel you work best when you work in a systematic manner, perhaps with an outline and a fixed number of words you’re trying to reach? Then you are probably a linear thinker. This isn’t a bad thing, it’s actually a very good thing and has allowed our world to advance the way it has with production plants, assembly lines, the mass production of books, and standards in nearly every industry.

    Linear advice is not bad advice. Unless you’re non-linear thinker, then it could prove to be detrimental if you can’t conform and use it. Non-linear thinkers do things differently. Steve Jobs was a non-linear thinker.

    If you’re a non-linear thinker and you take advice from a linear thinker you’re going to end up disappointed and disillusioned. The non-linear mind cannot entirely conform to linear thinking, at least, not without medication it seems. If linear tips and ideas sound great, but you’ve never been able to stick to them for more than a couple days, you could be a non-linear thinker.

    You’re not defective if you’re a non-linear thinker.

    You’re okay. You could very well be a creative genius. I don’t know, and we’ll only find out if you find a way to create your art YOUR WAY.

    If cookie cutter rules don’t work for your creative talents, then don’t sabotage yourself by trying in vain to follow them. On the other hand, if you’re a linear thinker then, by all means, do things the way that works best for you. Each has its benefits, but fitting circles into square holes has never worked, at least not without breaking something, such as passion and enthusiasm.

    When it comes to creating art, any kind of art, it’s not about conforming and doing what everyone else is doing.

    The essence of art is to be unique.

    How are you going to be unique, much less different, by conforming to what works for someone else?

    How about becoming an inspired writer

    • Listen to your intuition. We all inherently know how we work best. When we search for tips and ideas it’s often because we have lost touch with the way we do things. Maybe someone said you’re unorganized or you procrastinate too much so it threw you off. That’s okay, it happens to the best of us. Procrastination is often a sign you’re overwhelmed so take a look at how much you’re trying to do or how hard you’re trying to change and adjust accordingly by listening to your intuition.
    • Be yourself. Everyone’s different, even linear and non-linear thinkers are different from each other within their own groups. We categorize each other too much and it all too often leads to personal and creative struggle, so get back to who you are and be yourself.
    • Be awesome! Step 3 is a natural result of the power of step one and two. If you listen to your intuition you’ll get back to being yourself and that will lead to your creative awesomeness.

    We’ve got enough carbon copies, so please, embrace your own way of creating and I know you’ll get your enthusiasm back!

    About the author

      Bryan Hutchinson

      Bryan Hutchinson is the founder of WritetoDone's award-winning blog Positive Writer, and author of the book, Writer’s Doubt: The #1 Enemy Of Writing (And What You Can Do About It).

    • Hey Bryan,
      Thanks for this useful, creative and informative post, Every writer deserves cool and great environment to grow his creative writing skills and his creative mind.

      Inspirations are the key to boost a creative mind of a writer!

      Regards,
      ~ Vijay

    • Great post Bryan! Just what I needed to break me out of the idea that I need to be exactly like other successful writers to be successful.

      Thanks!

    • Sharon says:

      Bryan, Thanks for this post. This is a topic I think about a lot, mostly because I’m a nonlinear thinker in a linear thinking family. (Love that line, “not without medication”!) I hadn’t put it together about Ford and how we now apply assembly line logic to everything from business to education. I’m glad to now have a “term” to apply to my need for unstructured time. Writing can be incredibly nonlinear, especially in the composition stage, so my cure for a lack of motivation is to set aside time that allows my mind to rest. It’s structured in that I know I’m there to rejuvenate my creativity, but I’m allowing myself to engage in activities that actually feed my writing. With my current work in progress in mind, I looking up images that relate to it, or listen to music that might have been played during that time period. I get out a set of kid’s watercolors and allow myself to paint colors that might relate to the scene I’m writing or the character’s feelings in that scene. I get on Instagram or Pinterest and look for photos that motivate my interest in the project, or I simply read a few pages of a book on writing. Page After Page or Chapter After Chapter, both by Heather Sellers, are my favorites. And if none of that works, I recognize that what I really need is a nap. 🙂 Trust the process! Thanks again for putting a name to all this! I’ll be thinking about Henry Ford for a couple of months now!

    • hiba says:

      The writing is best creativity ever. The homework help services is also for those students who always in need of help so now their problem has been solved.

    • Bernardette says:

      Thanks for this post, Bryan. It’s comforting advice for us non-linears. As you say so well in your Inspired Writer book, we are not robots!

    • Nice read, thank you. I seem to be a bit of both. Some linear, some non-linear. It makes life interesting. I find it especially important to be aware of, for me, that resting or taking a break is a good thing. It ultimately makes me more creative when returning to the pen. It is helpful to have a plan or strategy for writing every morning that I can return to when it feels ‘write’.

      • I agree, Shawn. I can be a bit of both at times, here and there, and when it all becomes overwhelming I try to take a break. Breaks are good.

    • Meiji says:

      If there is one advice that would be good for both linear and non-linear thinkers who are also writers, it would be this: always look for inspiration. It’s not that standard because inspiration is something free after all. And when it comes to writers’ block, its inspiration that could be strong enough to let you hit the keys.

      • Yes! Inspiration is more powerful than we give credit. Through systems and formulas we’ve forgotten how much inspiration matters.

    • Laura says:

      Thank you for leading me to take a clear and honest look at the kind of thinker I am. I’m working on playing to my non-linear strengths topped off with with some of the consistency and discipline that linear thinkers might recognize as more natural tendencies. 5am writing is becoming my happy place…slowly, gradually, almost unfailingly.

    • Carol Fillmore says:

      This is just a wonderful article! I have tried and tried to write the linear way (only i didn’t realize it was called linear lol)and have felt very flawed because I could not just follow the robotic like method for more than a few days at time. Much of the linear writing advice feels very shaming as it gives a subtle message to the aspiring non-linear writer that there must be something wrong with you or you’re just lazy or you’re this or that…you’ll never succeed. That gets into the head and it creates more fodder for the inner critic;)

    • Amar kumar says:

      Hey Mary,

      We need to be true to ourself when it comes to accepting our real passion. If we are born to be a writer, there is no such thing as an elite writing passion whether we love to write about the stock market and multimillionaires lifestyle or about cleaning and organizing our space, our writing will shine the same.

      We shouldn’t judge whether it is worthwhile writing on a topic which we are passionate about. Such thoughts will replace our eagerness and the zest with self-doubt, disappointment, stress. Once we have identified what we are passionate about, just need to take the ride to where it leads we to. We cannot know where it ends until our get there. Passion is born from what matters most to us.

      The more fun we have writing and the less we care about money and fame, the deeper the roots of our passion go. Collaborative work and need to joint projects could build, maintain or intensify passion for writing. Nothing great has ever been achieved without passion. We writers have to know how to explore it, cultivate it, maintain it and reinforce it. Passion is fragile and it may suddenly disappear as well. So, we also need to know how to mend it and reconnect to it. Eventually, thanks for sharing your worthy thought with us.

      With best regards,

      Amar kumar

      • I agree! If money and fame come, well, that’s great too! But that shouldn’t be the primary reason to write.

    • Fiction writers write from our imaginations, when our stories are there we write and write while our imagination is fresh in our minds, we don’t stop thinking and ploting inventing. While our minds are in the world of imagining we don’t stop, we only stop so that our minds can rest so we can beging to imagine, fantasize, dream and continue crafting our stories. Because that is our passion our stories our world, they belong to us we follow no one like the old writers, they had no schools, they didn’t follow anyone, they followed their hearts, I guess they were non linear. It was all their mind, their hearts and their imaginations. Because when we write its because we love to write, we don’t follow no rules, we follow our hearts and our imagination.and we fly through our world until we reach the end of our story, wich makes us feel great about ourseves and our work. By the way I am non linear, I am me I am not someone else.Dont take me wrong I love many writers, but we all have to be ourselves. .THE TELLER OF TALES NICOLAS

    • Hi Mary, i am a non linear thinker and the above post did not motivate me at all.

      Your posts where you give linear advice are longer and i expected this to be longer too but i am discouraged even more.

      I agree that a non linear person will get frustrated by trying to follow the advice of writing daily, writing everytime you think of something you wont forget.. all this is true for me.. but plz post something more on what we non-linear thinkers can do more..

      P.S. i dint mean to offend you but i really need a lot of encouragement cuz i am at a point where i am reconsidering my career options and writing doesnt seem to be a part of these options and that is even more discouraging..

      Thanks and sorry

      • Kalyani, sorry to hear you’re in such a situation at the moment. Sometimes when I get stuck and nothing seems to help I usually find myself getting more frustrated and it becomes a vicious cycle. At that point, the only thing that helps is taking a complete break from writing. Get your mind off of it and do something else for a few weeks. When you come back you’ll have fresh eyes and hopefully missed the experience of writing, but that’s also a good way to know if writing is for you because if you don’t miss it and you still do not have any ideas, then maybe something else is of more interest to you. Good luck!

        • Hey Bryan,

          Guess what, that article of yours which has a tag line “create for the sake of creating” is doing something inside me. This something is good. Its like “yeah, movies portray overnight millionaire-ship but in reality i fail and have failed”

          Continuing with this article now.. thanks buddy.. you’re my man!! *giggling face*

    • Ted Alby says:

      Thank you. This actually helps a lot. I tend to be a sickeningly linear thinker in some endeavors, and not so much in others. In my career as a research scientist, it was easy to make the necessary transition from concrete-sequential to more random tthought. Less identifiable (for me) in fiction writing. Something I that bears more thought.

    • Mark Tong says:

      Hey Bryan

      I’m am such a non-linear thinker and writer that I’m practically circular – or rhomboid, I’m not sure. Thanks for the inspiration to try the non-linear apporach.

      • lol Mark, you made me laugh so hard I almost had a hernia! Nothing wrong with circular.

    • Anita k says:

      Hi Bryan,

      Thanks for this great article…I just realised that my frustration stems from trying to be linear when actually I may be a mix…of some days a linear and some days a non linear writer. The days I had a non linear attitude.. I used to feel guilty..frustrated etc..ending up wasting even more time….now I know..it OK..to not follow the one rule advice….cheers

    • The good news, Debra, is that you know you are a visual person. That’s so important.

    • Debra says:

      I am soooooooooo not a linear person. While I do like order so I’m able to find what I need, I am not that way when it comes to being creative. I learned in a class I took I am visual. I need to see examples of everything asked of me ( in most cases any way). There are just things you do by using your imagination.

      When writing I have a mind map of characters and what I want them to do, a brief outline so I don’t forget things, but following abc does not work for me. Unfortunately I have moved and had to leave al of my write boards and markers behind, so I need to get more at a later date.. No funds for the extra stuff yet….

    • Judy says:

      I just breathed a huge sigh of relief reading your post, Bryan. This was great. I’ve been trying to be linear and I’m not so much, though at times I am. Such a breath of fresh air. Thank you and thank you for your blog and newest book which I’m reading and enjoying so much. 🙂
      Judy

    • Good for you, Shivesh!

    • Hi,

      I have been into disillusioned or disappointed zone by not knowing how to keep up with everyday writing practice. Yes, I know about my mind as non-linear. By this time, I was fed up with linear advice and started writing at my own without blaming myself too much. Happily, this post confirms my discipline and practice of writing.

      Thank for sharing this!

    • Anh Nguyen says:

      Bryan,

      Most of the tips I read are from awesome folks who ended up saying “this is the way that works for me, but it can be different for you”. So I wonder where you read these tips, they sound like the self-help books I used to read when I was younger.

      I am a firm believer that emotion is a big part of motivation for creative workers, so it’s important to focus on you and what you want, take all other advice with a grain of salt.

      Thanks for sharing!

      Cheers,
      Anh

    • A writer needs an inspiration and if that’s lost, he/she won’t able to continue. It’s always good to pursue something remarkable.

      An undoubted path will guide a writer to the destination. A writer should try to craft a page with the best writing skills daily.

      It doesn’t matter what you write, just be yourself and show what you got in your crazy mind.

      ~Ravi


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