Sometimes motivating to write a one-person show is challenging. There’s no one waiting, no necessary deadline. It’s just you, on your own, accountable to no one. That may cause your writing motivation to sag, it’s understandable and common! Happens to me all the time! Here’s are some ways I’ve found to juice myself.
You know the idea that ‘work begets work’? That if you’re in action, you’re doing work, then somehow more work comes your way? Well I’ve found that, similarly, writing begets writing. If I’m feeling saggy, stuck, or unmotivated to work on my creative writing, here’s what I do: start with something very low stakes – a letter or a random-thought diary entry. Or offer to do some writing for someone else, thus imposing a deadline and becoming accountable to someone. I find that the work of writing – Something, Anything – can rev your writing engines and spark your energy to write for yourself.
Anne Lamott talks about Sh***y First Drafts. I agree. An easy way to work is to just barf out a first draft. Let it be really bad, no worries. If you’re feeling stuck, here’s a prompt idea: imagine you are trying to explain something to a friend and you’re a little tongue tied, and finally your friend says, “Just spit it out!” So you do, you just spit it out, fast and plain.
Another prompt I use is to ‘fool’ myself. I say, “OK, I feel stuck so I’m not going to write this passage. But if I WERE gonna write it, I would just say…” (and then I barf out the passage). By letting it come out in ungainly, plain language, you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to fancy it up later, put in specifics, nuance, etc. You can even put place holders in your writing – wherever the word or phrase isn’t coming. I’ll often write, “(word that means ‘late’)” or “(example of type of canoe),” knowing that I can come back and fill it in later.
And finally, when things are really stuck, I’ll write: “I don’t know what to write, I don’t know what to write” over and over, just to keep the pen moving across the page (or the cursor moving across the screen). Then I’ll transition to: “But if I did know what to write, it’d be something like ….” – and out comes some sh***y first draft, some awkward language, which I can then jazz up later.
With great love,