Friday, January 16, 2015


In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow
In the bleak midwinter, long, long ago


It's January. All the holiday decorations have been boxed up and put back in the attic.  Any venture out of doors requires 14 layers of silk, wool and Gortex (or the microfiber equivalents) and any latitude north of the Mason-Dixon line also requires snowshoes.

Like any self-respecting bear, all I want to do is sleep.  Winter is for hibernating.  Spring is ten long weeks away.  But this year, none of us here at Spacefreighters Lounge can afford to take any long winter naps.  We have books to launch!  Promo engines to start up!  And many miles to go before we sleep!

So where do we get the inspiration we need to carry on through the winter doldrums?  Well, for those of us with books coming out, it's a little easier.  The sheer excitement (and terror) of the moment is enough to get us up and at the keyboard most mornings.  The biggest problem I have is not finding inspiration so much as finding time to actually work on my latest manuscript, when the need for promo and editing on older manuscripts demand my attention.

Still, not everyone has the luxury of that particular problem.  And there are still days when I'd rather curl up by the fireplace with a book than even approach my desk.  At those times, you have to seek help from the gods--the gods of the written word, that is.

Over my desk I keep this quote:

Write even when you don’t want to,

don’t much like what you’re writing,

and aren’t writing particularly well.

                     --Agatha Christie

That piece of advice is particularly helpful when I’m struggling along at a glacial pace in my writing.  I figure if Agatha could do it, so can I, and I just keep on writing.

When I’m feeling especially lazy I remind myself that Stephen King works 363 days out of every year, taking off only on his birthday and the Fourth of July.  And I’m not talking an hour or two those days.  He works at least eight hours.  Every. Freaking. Day. I’m not sure if that’s inspirational or just plain crazy, but you can’t argue with success.

When all else fails you can take The Great Nora’s advice and simply place butt in chair (BIC) for as long as it takes.

The winter weather makes it hard to get out and take a walking break, something that does a lot to help me bust through a mental logjam.  But you can crank up the stereo (yeah, I’m talking about the big sound machine you use for the house, not your little iPod earbuds) and dance.  You can do some tai chi or chi gung or yoga.  And when you get back to your computer, you’ll have some energy flowing through your body and a fresh perspective on your work.

Still stuck?  I like movies, and I prefer to watch them in the theater, with popcorn in hand.  That can take you out of your rut for a couple of hours, but be careful it doesn’t take you too far from your goals.  It’s easy to let the whole day slip when the movie becomes a shopping trip and dinner, too.  Maybe it would just be better to stay home and take a long, relaxing bath.

I just had a great idea!
One thing I don’t find particularly helpful is group efforts like NaNoWriMo, for the same reason I don’t generally do fitness classes.  I’m a bit of a lone wolf about some things, so the group energy isn’t so uplifting for me.  But it does work wonders for those who might need a little encouragement along the way.  Writing can be a lonely activity, and a sense of having the support of others make all the difference.  If you feel like you’re on a months-long voyage to the Outer Rim in a one-person starship, writing as part of a group challenge might help.

So, what do YOU do for inspiration?  Do you use favorite quotes or role models, or do you just hit the gym for an hour?  However you do it, find some light for this “bleak midwinter” until spring liberates us again.

Cheers, Donna


  1. For me, reading always seems to fire up my muse. Something about the process of turning words into visual scenes in my head gets my creative juices flowing. All sorts of ideas start popping around in my mind, and pretty soon I have to close the story I'm trying to read in favor of getting to work on one of my own.

    And I have the same affliction that most writers do...some of the BEST IDEAS EVER come to me out of the blue when I'm in the worst possible place to try to capture them in notes--like, in the shower!

  2. I haven't written anything but blog posts since July, with all the edits, tours and releases. January is my only month I don't have a tour and/or release (though I have two sets of edits on the go), before another six months of the same. The temptation to just curl up and hibernate is hard to resist! But I can't afford it.
    So, I have a daily target of 250 words just to get me writing SOMETHING. I'm trying to catch up on my reading, looking into marketing because I can't keep saying I suck at it as an excuse, and I signed up to a book launch workshop. Since I had to pay out actual cash for that last, I can't slack off. I can't waste the money. Of course, that meant muse threw THREE different story ideas at me, and I want to write and publish ALL THE THINGS! I need clones. >.<

  3. Pippa said: "I need clones."

    LOL Clones can have a mind of their own. *big grin*

  4. Daily word targets are great motivational tools. I'm hopeless at it, though, mostly because I don't have any real routine. My work schedule is a jigsaw puzzle of classes at different times of day, so I squeeze in a couple of hours where I can.
    LOL, Laurie, about the shower. My AHA moments are always as I'm falling asleep--if I leap up to write something down, there goes my nighty-night. Reading is good for showing me what to do (or what not to do) in terms of writing style or technique, but the idea machine usually goes on idle while I'm reading.


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