Writing Pep-Talk

Every few months I find myself in a bit of a writing rut. I may feel like I’m not making any headway on my goals or my creative development or that the inspiration just isn’t flowing. When submitting, a dry spell from any editor contact can really be a blow to the writer’s motivation. I work myself out of this rut by giving myself a pep-talk (pep-write?).

The first step is to get out of my normal writing situation. I normally write at my computer, so this means getting my notebook and pen. And I change location – sometimes it’s on the couch, sometimes at the dinner table or on the balcony, or even sitting in bed. But definitely not at my office desk. And not at my normal writing time.

And I write down all the thoughts that are plaguing me. I like to write down my negative statements in one session and then let them rest for a while – a day or so. It’s like a venting activity.

Then I will go back and ‘answer’ my statements. It’s like I’m having a conversation with myself, and the space between sessions allows me to see each side with a fresh perspective.

So here is my latest session relating to my journalism work.

My concepts aren’t interesting enough.

You found the concept interesting. Someone else will too. You have to find the right editor.

My concepts don’t suit any publications.

Traditionally, journalists will tailor their article for the publication. YOU DON’T HAVE TO. There are so many avenues to publication: mainstream, indie, online.

Or write it anyway – save it, use it another time or keep it and add it to your portfolio.

I don’t know how to pitch/who to pitch to/my pitches are no good.

It takes practice. If it takes 100 submissions per acceptance, that’s 99 opportunities you’ve been given to learn from.

I have some ideas but they are just muddled thoughts.

Think of this as a chance to learn about a topic. Do some research (do lots of research), put some notes down (write lots of notes), and turn those notes into sentences. Got it?

Everyone has written about my ideas already – and done a better job.

You will always have a slightly different view on the world than anyone else, no matter how much ‘better’ you think theirs is.

You have a different writing style to anyone else.

Obviously you have to start somewhere and guess what – those people likely felt (and some may still feel) the same way as you when they were starting out.

I don’t know what I want to write about – I feel like I have too many interests and no focus or specialty.

Which is why you chose freelance journalism; so you could write about anything that takes your fancy. You get to learn about a variety of topics.

You are a writer. Your job is not to be an expert in a subject but to research and communicate that information to others. Your job is not to answer questions but to ask them.

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