Thanks to our friends for helping us get the ball rolling on this site. It’s been a lot of fun and quite inspiring hearing positive feedback from people we know and whose opinions we trust. But now the real fun begins. Courtesy of Deeanna Danger, we have our first requested pep talk from a complete stranger, and the fact that people we’ve never met before are taking an interest in the site is the biggest “pep talk” we can think of.
Here’s Deeanna’s request: “Pep talks to help me write fiction. I like to write about anything or everything but I need the motivation to write fiction; not reviews or reports. Fiction. The kind that takes imagination and transcendence.”
So here’s our stab at it, Deeanna, and we hope readers will help you along by submitting their own pep talks for you on your very own pep talk page.
There you are, sitting comfortably at your desk, paper sprawled before you like an endless tundra waiting for you to paint life across it, pencils sharpened, pens inked. You’ve got the perfect atmosphere: cell phone off, lots of natural light, window open, a gentle breeze wafting fresh air through the room, your cat or dog asleep within reach, eager to help in exchange for a friendly pat. Now’s the time, you’ve told yourself, to write some fiction
When you sat down, you’d envisioned something awe-inspiring and mind-bending, like a Dave Mustaine solo captured in literary form, leaving readers sweating and begging for more. With each character a hammer-on and every plot twist a slide, you saw eventual readers turning the pages with a feverish energy akin to scouring the internet for a note-by-note Mustaine transcription. Ultimately your twistedly perfect piece of fiction would leave readers with only the breath to faintly utter “Where did that even come from?”
But no. You have writer’s block. Dense, impenetrable writer’s block has set across your brain, stopping your train of thought like Lars Ulrich stopped Napster, that bastard!
So what’s the deal? Are you going to let Lars Ulrich win? Are you going to sit idly while he stops the free exchange of creativity in the name of selling a few more copies of that crappy “No Leaf Clover” single?
I didn’t think so.
So do this: Grab a pen and write something, anything, gibberish even. Pour random syllables across that page and get the muscle memory of pen to paper deeply ingrained. There’s 10,000 bad sentences inside all of us, and the sooner we get them out, the sooner we can sit down to really write.
Did Mustaine just pour out face-melting awesomeness by merely touching the guitar?
No. He practiced, moved notes around, experimented, and ultimately crumpled up tons of proverbial paper and threw it across the room into an over-flowing metaphorical trash can.
Did Abraham Lincoln just get up on stage and wing the Gettysburg Address?
Of course not. He assessed the world around him, drawing influence from his surroundings, however bleak they were, crafting each word in memory of a fallen hero or in honor of a world-changing victory.
Did Charles Ludwidge Dodgson just do ‘shrooms and spit out “Alice in Wonderland”
Maybe? OK, bad example.
But still, they all found influence from the world around them.
Go outside. Find your protagonist.
It could be that guy waiting for the bus. It could be that lady in the rust-bucket Geo Prizm with the door practically flapping as she putters down the road. It could be the grocery clerk, the taxi driver, the squirrel running from your neighbor’s loose pit bull.
You’re creative, you’re open minded, you’re observant. Put those tools to the test because if you don’t, who’s going to write these folks’ stories for them? Surely they won’t because, let’s face it, they don’t even know they’re in them, and they’re definitely not as smart as you. No one who’s smart ever bought a Geo Prizm. No, really! Smart people would have noticed it’s spelled wrong.
Wait, loose pit bull?!? Get back inside now, those things don’t have a reputation for brutality for no reason, and that story isn’t writing itself. It needs you.
Still nothing? Look within.
What was the last good dream you had? Your subconscious can throw out twists, turns, and symbolism that would make “Signs” era M. Night Shamalayan drop a bucket.
What was the last cryptic song you heard? Between riffs, lyrics, and drum fills, there’s a narrative going on, just waiting to be fleshed out.
What’s the last argument you had? Write some characters with the very viewpoint you argued against, then find a way to crush them. Victory through writing!
Change your mindset. A “lack of inspiration” is anything but. If anything, there’s too many things for you to write about, so just focus on developing one or two. Flesh out ideas. Add notes. Throw in a bend here, a pull-off there. Break theory a little bit. Now you’re really shredding! See, Writer’s block is far more porous than you think, and it’s nowhere near strong enough to actually wall off your creativity.