Natalie Frank has a Ph.D. in Clinical psychology. She specializes in Pediatric Psychology and Behavioral Medicine.
Every writer struggles with a lack of motivation. We all have times we just don’t feel inspired about our writing. We want to feel exited as we create, not only to produce the best story possible but also because we feel that inspired writing leads to inspiration in others. When we feel the chill of writer's block freezing our words before we can write them, we don’t look just anywhere for something to thaw the chill. We look to those authors who have succeeded in staring writer’s block in the face and besting it. If you are ever in need of inspiration try these quotes from great authors to help you remain motivated throughout your writing life.
Many of us have ideas for stories but continue to put off writing it. There are different reasons or excuses we give for this to justify it to ourselves. Perhaps we fear the blank page staring back at us, worried that as soon as we sit down to write the story idea will flea and we’ll have nothing to say. Maybe we are telling ourselves that we aren’t writers so how can we possibly think anyone would want to read our ideas. It’s possible we are convinced that writing is something that is hard and takes advanced skill which we haven’t learned or we don’t have the proper degree that we are convinced is needed to be a writer.
Or maybe we don’t have an exact reason and see ourselves producing remarkable work which others love but just don’t know why it isn’t happening yet. One of the most common reasons we don’t write is because we are convinced that unless our muse is in attendance it’s not worth trying. The one thing those with a writer’s heart have in common is that keeping our stories bottled up causes us pain.
Don’t wait for your muse to show up, she’s fickle and would just as soon leave you as look at you. It’s time to open a journal and grab that favorite pen or turn on the computer and open a new document and release what you have inside. Aren’t you curious what will happen? It is agonizing to burn with a story you feel you have to tell but let this go unfulfilled. Don’t continue to put yourself in this kind of pain. Do something about it. Maybe you even want to use the pain in generating the story. The greatest loss we will experience in life is potential that goes unrealized.
Your story can serve as an inspiration in so many ways. Keep reminding yourself of this. Let go of the pain of convincing yourself you have writer’s block along with the resulting procrastination that may lead you to feel more blocked because of the lack of productivity. No one said you’d never feel anxious about telling your story. We need a certain amount of anxiety to keep us motivated and to keep things exciting. We only become anxious about what matters to us. Humans are hardwired to want to create, and self expression fulfills something deep inside of us. So push the pain aside, sit down and write. You need it, we need it and your story is not going to write itself so today is the day to at least make a start.
Many writers believe they should always be objective about their writing and when they seem overwhelmed by feelings it suggests they lack necessary skills. This suggests that we shouldn’t feel strong emotion that is elicited by what we write. This is unrealistic; we are the creators of the writing, it is our baby, our darling. Likewise we feel attached to the characters we create, their ups and downs, their happiness and pain. When we are moved by our writing it is likely our readers will be similarly moved.
The only way to create an authentic experience in the reader is to evoke emotion through your storytelling. When you experience the emotions yourself, you know you are on the right track. It doesn’t matter if you are a planner or if you fly by the seat of your pants when you write. Even if you are an detailed outliner you can let yourself get lost a bit in the story so the emotion washes over you despite knowing what will happen in the coming paragraphs and pages.
Similarly, even if you are a plotter, let yourself get lost a little in the work so that you are surprised by where you end up every so often. Feeling real emotion and being happily surprised by the way the way the story is developing will help you maintain your excitement about the writing. If you feel emotional and find that you are surprised about the work, chances are your readers will be as well.
In this quotation, Benjamin Franklin spoke to the goal of becoming known and being remembered as a writer and having our life’s work known and remembered. If you are going to put the time into writing make sure, if your intention is to be a well respected writer, to write what others want to read. If you have had many diverse and interesting life experiences then you should have no difficulty writing something worth reading.
If, however, you find you are blocked, take the time to go out and have new experiences. The new experiences will go on to inform your writing and you will be surprised at how much more depth there is in your work. Others observing your activities may also find what you are doing to inspire and inform their own writing.
So spend your time writing interesting work that others want to read but when you are having difficulty coming up with new things to write about go out and engage in interesting activities. That will inform your writing and the writing of others. This is how we make a lasting impression in this world.
Those who aren’t writers often look at those who are as if they are a bit crazy. Between the rather isolated, lonely lifestyle, the conversations about characters who run off and do what they want and discussions about showing not telling, it isn’t hard to see why.
Oscar Wilde would not have argued the point. His view of successful writers was that in order to create something that was interesting and unique, writers have to break the rules. Not in terms of running stop lights or failing to pay the vendor for their morning newspaper. You have to break the rules in terms of how you think about things, how you view reality. So those rules which we can’t break in real life, we can certainly break in our minds and from there it’s just a quick jump to putting this down on paper.
A great way to generate writing ideas using this view is the “what if” technique. There are different versions of this technique but basically the idea is to start with something that either is a rule of nature that can’t be broken or a situation that is bizarre or just about outside the realm of possibility and make it possible. What if there was no gravity on earth? What if aliens landed in your backyard? What if you won the biggest lottery that would ever exist?
Once you get used to throwing away assumptions and rules that govern reality you will start coming up with more and more creative ideas for writing and be able to expand them. So for the examples above perhaps you expand them into, “What if there was no gravity on earth and the protagonist has to somehow manage to re-establish it to prevent world wide destruction?” Or “What if there had never been gravity on earth and one day it suddenly exists as if someone had flipped a switch?” “What if aliens landed in your character’s back yard but had no idea they weren’t on their home planet and your character had to convince them to get them back home?” “What if your character won the lottery but if they decided to accept the biggest prize ever they’d also release a horrible monster into the world?” or “What if they won the lottery but instead of money the prize was the skill of their choice, one wish granted or a superpower?”
By letting yourself break the rules in your mind it mean your characters no longer have to do what they are supposed to do, time can exist in whatever manner you choose, and your setting can anything you want. That’s one of the joy of writing. While we are limited to operating within the rules of our day to day life, in our writing we can make anything happen, we are only as limited as our imagination and willingness to break even the most established rules. Letting our mind have the freedom to wonder about what would happen if there were no rules that couldn’t be changed and to explore all the countless possibilities that could result enables us to write things in a way that no one ever has before.
The art of writing is not an easy discipline. It takes regular practice, struggles to express what you want to communicate to the reader, numerous edits, dealing with editors and others who often have different visions of your work than you do, facing the public not all of whom are ever going to love what you write. It also takes the ability to deal with self- doubt, a life where failure becomes the norm and almost all writers must deal with rejection after rejection, and only small bursts of inspiration meaning long periods without during which you must write anyway.
Writers don’t just hurriedly write down what they want to say, satisfied as long as they’ve expressed the basic gist of things. Good writing takes enormous effort. Writers struggle for exactly the right words to not just say what they want to say but to say it in a particular manner and tone to elicit the reaction they intend.
Whereas someone who isn’t a writer can write a note in the morning and forget it before they finish the first cup of coffee, writers obsess over their work to the point they constantly analyze the written language and everything they put down, whether it is part of their work or not. It is not unusual to find a writer in the afternoon still concerned with a passage they wrote hours earlier. This means a writer’s task is more difficult than it is for others. So while it may seem that as you become a better writer, it gets easier to write many find the opposite to be true. The better they get the less satisfied they are with what they write and what would have made them content previously now seems poorly expressed. If you find writing hard, take heart in knowing that’s one of the signs of a good writer.
Writers are obviously invested in what they right. To write is to pour one’s heart, soul, blood, and sweat upon the page. Though we may publish it for the readers enjoyment we are also submitting if for the opinion of anyone who cares to offer one. This includes all the critics. A few of these may say something that is hurtful but that also has use for us in refining our work. Many, however, will seem more interested in proving how smart they are and that they know more than the authors of the various works they deign to review. Having made ourselves vulnerable by putting our work out there, writers are the first to want to see what has been written about what we’ve just published. If the review is less than stellar we often look for another to hopefully find a dissenting opinion. If the review is stellar we often look for another to hopefully find a confirming opinion.
Although once in a while we may find useful, constructive feedback, more frequently the review provides no value as far as helping us improve our writing. This means that while such criticism may negatively impact our view or ourselves as writers, it does not enhance any aspect of our work. Thus, reading such reviews may inhibit our ability to continue writing or, at a minimum, take up time we could be spending creating our next work.
So those who merely want to be writers, remain tentative, fearing the need to let their innermost self become vulnerable to those who may criticize. They seek to try to determine every reason a written work might be slighted in order to learn how to avoid this. Given that this is impossible, these people will never ultimately become writer's unless they change their mentality, hold their nose, and jump in feet first.
Reading others reviews of our work is lost time we can never get back. As writers engaged in the art of composing, we should take care to sidestep the trap of allowing others views of our work to replace our own. Instead we must simply keep fashioning that which we are driven to create, with our own vision to guide us.
And finally a quote by Neil Gaiman. It's something I often come back to when things aren't working out quite the way I want them to or when I read other's work and feel like mine will never measure up. It reminds me that while others may be more skilled than I am, only I can tell a story exactly the way I do and that's a good thing. The quote speaks for itself so I'll leave it on it's own without an explanation.
If you enjoyed this article, please see the following:
- Inspirational Quotes About Hope and Optimism
- Inspirational Quotes Motivating You to Write
- Inspirational Quotes About Making Mistakes and Moving Past Them
- Inspirational Psychology Quotes From J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Novels and Their Meaning
- Inspirational Hemingway Quotes
Questions & Answers
Question: What gives you the most inspiration when writing an article?
Answer: Trying to garner a sense of inspiration quickly I often do turn to things that my favourite authors have said whether it is through a quote, online interview or video. Finding something that one of them said about having faced a struggle but managing to overcome it often is something that will inspire me and motivate me to keep working. There are some other things that inspire and motivate me when I am writing an article.
I am usually the most inspired about an article when I am writing about something which I am very familiar with. I hate to use what may seem like a tired cliche, but when I am passionate about the topic I"m writing on, I write the article much quicker, feel that I have something to say that is unique, and the writing goes much more smoothly.
I can write on just about anything, and when I am getting paid to do so, I can do it quickly and skillfully. However, when writing about something I may not be quite as interested in, for Hubpages for example, where I get some small sum from rev share, it can seem like pulling teeth.
Despite this, there are times when I try to shake things up a bit, learn about something new or attempt to identify an area that is likely to be popular and receive a lot of organic traffic without having to worry about extensive marketing efforts. I am usually inspired to write about these topics as well, as I am hopeful they will generate continuous views and become a source of decent passive income.
Usually, the ones that actually serve this purpose are on topics that surprise me and not necessarily in my area. This means generating new ideas for articles in these areas is harder but when I identify a new idea for one of them that there seems to be a lot of basic information to go from and I have additional ideas to contribute to it to make it my own this also inspires me.
One other thing that I think as writers we often overlook when searching for inspiration is peers. Making sure I have at least one good online network that is made up of active participants so I can touch base with someone no matter when it is, I think is vital for inspiration. Hubpages is great for this and having the support of the other writers here has made a huge difference in the regularity of my publishing schedule.
I think inspiration largely comes from there being some reinforcement, which may be monetary, social, a sense of personal accomplishment, a sense of excitement about the work, and awards and recognition among other things. Having at least one thing that reinforces your writing I think is essential for maintaining a sense of inspiration, especially when writing non-fiction articles. There has to be something that encourages you for inspiration to take hold. If you receive little from your writing or have little hope of gaining something from it in the future, what that something is, there is nothing that will encourage or inspire you to continue producing similar types of work.
© 2018 Natalie Frank
Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on November 04, 2018:
That's true Glenn. It does take a different set of skills and type of creativity to do creative writing vs. article or non-fiction writing. The type of experience you use for the latter is based on skills in this type of writing as applied to a field of knowledge. With creative writing there is a lot more leeway and far fewer guidelines. The emotional aspects as they relate to character development in particular making your characters three dimensional and believable does make this type of writing is some ways more difficult but in other ways more rewarding. You just have to have a story and characters that you enjoy writing so it is fun and not tedious. I don't think there's anything more difficult for me than when I am working on a creative writing project I just can't get excited about. Thanks for stopping by and for the comment.
Glenn Stok from Long Island, NY on November 03, 2018:
You are so right with everything you’ve said in this article Natalie. I actually got something more out of this than you may have intended.
I always wanted to write a script for a screenplay, but I find it much different than writing articles. Scripts require an emotional attachment to the people in it, and you mentioned that. Once I read what you said, you helped me understand what was standing in my way.
You went on to explain that having experience helps add depth to one’s writing. Once again, you made me clearly see the issue I was having.
I realize now that I have no trouble writing articles because I apply my knowledge and experience, and that works. However, writing a screenplay requires too much creative emotional attachment to made-up characters. That requires a totally different creative side. I guess I’ll stick with writing articles. I need some other motivating factors to get that screenplay out of my head.
Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on July 16, 2018:
Peggy - yes there are quite a few book authors on Hubpages. It always gives me inspiration to learn of others. Thanks for stopping by and for commenting.
Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on July 16, 2018:
Flourish - It sounds like an amazing trip! I also love to talk with people who are different from me and who have knowledge I don't. It makes life richer as well as our writing I think. Make sure to take lots of notes so you can write them up later for all of us to read. I'm sure we'll all learn a great deal. (If you have the chance, go see the pink dolphins. If you do take some pictures! I've always wanted to see them!)
FlourishAnyway from USA on July 14, 2018:
I enjoyed these quotes. As a writer and a creative I like to do different things and talk with people that others may not always have the chance to connect to. It broadens my experience. Right now I’m in Peru, having spent several days in the Amazon jungle. One of our tour guides through the jungle was a man native to the area who described shaman practices he believed in and how he could use certain plants with assistance to talk to others with his mind. Those types of interactions definitely make writing more vivid and fun.
Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on July 14, 2018:
Miebakagh57 - Glad you found the quotes inspiring. That is a good strategy for saving your ideas so that when you do feel like writing you have plenty to go from. Thanks for the comment and for stopping by.
Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on July 14, 2018:
Glad you like them, Heidi. Thanks for stopping by.
Miebakagh57 on July 13, 2018:
Hello Natalie (Taye), many thanks for the inspiring quote. BF is my favorite. Also,I had realize that writing is not a rocket science. It is now my rule to put down ideas on paper if I am not in the state to write. But surprisedly, it later flow.
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on July 13, 2018:
Good ones! Thanks for sharing!
Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on July 12, 2018:
All of these quotes ring true. I admire people who have the discipline and motivation to author books. There are quite a few book authors that can be found right here on HubPages.
Natalie Frank (author) from Chicago, IL on July 12, 2018:
Glad you found the article encouraging Jill. I like the Franklin quote as well. Have a great weekend.
Jill Spencer from United States on July 12, 2018:
The Franklin quotation was a new one to me. Thanks for an encouraging read!