Be Inspired By James Chartrand Note: This is a guest post from James Chartrand of Men with Pens, known for her sharp-shooting advice to writers. It’s all been said. It’s been written before. We feel like we’re just rehashing the same old story everyone else has written. And inspiration dies like leaves falling from trees in autumn. There are ways to find inspiration again. Most suggest taking a break, setting down the pen and paper to do other activities for a while. Reading a book is a good way to give our brains a rest. Going for a walk is another; any physical activity boosts creativity. What if inspiration still doesn’t come? What if you take a break, read a book, get active and still come up blank when you sit down to write? In most cases, all you have to do is look within to find the inspiration you need. Easy? No. Necessary? Yes. Our mind plays tricks on us all the time. The events we’ve lived and the experiences we’ve had create perception issues. We filter our world through fears and self-set messages that fool us into believing lies we find comfortable. “They’ll think this is silly… No one will want to read this. It’s not interesting enough, not different enough. I’m boring. I’m not a good writer. I shouldn’t be doing this… I’ll never finish. I never finish anything. I’m wasting my life. Why can’t I come up with something good for once?” Many of you may recognize some of your fears in these phrases. They’re common ones, thoughts that even the best writers get from time to time. We could even say that they’re inspired thoughts, negative messages fed by fears that get the best of us. So what do you do? How do you break through the mental barriers that hold you back to release the words you once loved? Simulate a scenario Think of all the possible outcomes and look at the worst-case scenarios. If you write something and no one likes it, what do you feel might happen? What is the worst consequence you can think of? What is the best consequence, too? What would you do if these consequences occurred? Consider the likelihood of each outcome as well and weigh the chances of you taking a risk. You may see that by objective thought, your fears aren’t really founded in reality – then take that risk and give it a try. Make it an experiment and analyze the results. Learn from the outcome you achieve. Did you have a negative outcome? If so, why? What will you do better next time? Did you have a positive result? How does that contradict what you believed? How does it make you feel? Validate your feelings We all tend to avoid feelings that make us uncomfortable. We don’t particularly enjoy thinking about what scares us or makes us sad, and we avoid considering why we feel that way. Who knows what we might uncover? Well, that’s the point right there – who knows what you might discover if you look your fears in the eye and say to yourself, “Okay, I’m terrified of rejection.” It’s part of you, so accept that you have this fear. Then befriend the fear and treat it like a person that needs you to overcome this obstacle. By taking the focus off you and placing it in a third-party perspective, you’ll often find the courage you need to break through. Confirm your reality Most of our perceptions of the world aren’t accurate and we make huge assumptions about what people think of us (and what they aren’t telling us). But the truth is that these assumptions are, in most cases, completely false. A good way to realign our thoughts with a more realistic view is to use confirmation as a fantastic tool. Do you think your work is boring or not good at all? The minute you have that thought, be accountable for taking action. Find an objective person you trust to immediately to tell you the truth. Don’t make assumptions on what other people think. The minute you start to imagine what others believe, seize the moment and ask a trusted person to tell you the truth. Confirm reality and remind yourself of this reality every time the whispered messages start. You’ll soon begin to eliminate them and feel confident about the truth. Smash Through Your Mental Barriers These three tips may seem like a bunch of psychological mumbo-jumbo, but they’re actually good ways to break out of negative self-talk that holds you back. That’s key to finding inspiration for writing, because only confidence and freedom lets us truly release our minds go to explore what we can create. And when you do that, you’ll find inspiration – and you’ll also have the confidence to write. About the Author: Need more inspiration to break free and become a better writer? James Chartrand can help. Visit her blog at Men with Pens for great advice on writing with confidence.