Writing Vigor 1 comment


one red apple among apples in black and white

I have enough vigor and stamina these days to write poems, for which I am very thankful. It takes quite a lot of vigor and stamina to write a story, and a huge amount to write a novel. I don’t have those any more, and I miss writing fiction.

— Ursula K. Le Guin, in Navigating The Ocean of Story

I was heartened to read this confession from Ursula K. Le Guin–whose writing I’ve read and admired all my life–because my experience has been exactly the same: different kinds of writing take different amounts of vigor and stamina. Hearing that a writer I look up to feels the same way is incredibly vindicating.

Two Strategies for Addressing Low Writing Vigor

1. When my vigor and stamina are low, and I find I can’t work on “big” projects, I can often fall back to projects of a smaller scale and still get writing done–just as Le Guin describes. If you find you’re stalled on your novel or screenplay because you don’t have enough spark, but you still want to be writing, you might try writing stories, or flash fiction, or poems, or silly writing games.

2. When I’m stalled on a larger-scale project, the solution is almost always to look to the physical, mental and emotional health that supplies the stamina and vigor to write. Am I eating well? Am I sleeping enough? (Do I need a nap?) Are there difficult things going on in my life that are robbing my writing energy?–Can I attend to them to get my spark back?

In other words, I choose my projects based on my available writing resources, and at the same time, I optimize my writing resources to make big projects possible.

How about you? What do you do when your writing spark is low? What do you do to build up and support your writing vigor?


One thought on “Writing Vigor

  • Mark Walker

    I often find that catching up on my blog, or others’; exploring websites and social media relating to writing can often be a good way to restore my vigor. Reading about writing, or just plain, old-fashioned reading for pleasure are also helpful and, even when not directly related to writing, can provide escape and inspiration for when you do get back into it. Although it isn’t “writing” per se, it is still part of that mindset and can help get me back into the swing of things and build me up to writing the big stuff again. To hear about the great things other people are up to is always fantastic inspiration and kick in the pants!

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