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I’m tired of words and I’m too hoarse to shout. Meat Loaf, Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad
Ever feel like that? Tired of writing or tired of editing your words when they just don’t seem to flow? Meat Loaf felt your pain. As one of the most prolific and best-selling musical artists (Bat Out of Hell is the third best-selling record album of all time), he knew what it was like to be in a creative funk. In fact, he claims he couldn’t force his inspiration. In an interview in 2006, he said:
You can decide what you want to eat for dinner, you can decide to go away for the weekend, and you can decide what clothes you’re going to wear in the morning, but when it comes to artistic things, there’s never a rhyme or reason. It’s, like, they just happen. And they happen when they happen.
While I don’t entirely agree with this statement, it does have merit. Sometimes it seems like things are just not happening for us when we write. Our words feel like they’re being painfully squeezed through a too-small hole and they drip out grudgingly, line by plodding line. My advice in these situations has always been to just keep going. Write, even if the words seem forced or trite. Often that dogged persistence pays off with the building of momentum and before you know it the creative floodgates are open again and you’re in the flow. Other times, you just plod on. The key is that you have something on that page.
Okay, you say. I have something on the page–now what? Now comes the best part (and the most fun). And guess what? Ol’ Meat Loaf has got you covered here, too. The best thing you can do for your troubled writing is to:
Let me sleep on it / Baby, baby, let me sleep on it / Let me sleep on it / And I’ll give you an answer in the morning. – Meat Loaf, Paradise by the Dashboard Light
Put it aside and sleep on it. Maybe more than one night, even. I find 48 hours to be a “sweet spot” for review when it comes to my writing. Longer is even better in some cases, but I need at least two full days to make sure that all of the preconceived notions I carried about the piece are conveniently forgotten–or at least dimmed a bit.
After your ideas have had some time to incubate, you’ll find you have a new enthusiasm for your writing project and a new eye for word flow, grammar, typos, and even storyline.
So, rock on, writers — let your hair down and write!
See you on the next page!