We may write different things, but I’m betting we have something in common – a set-up process. We sit down, favorite writing tools at the ready. Maybe we light a candle, put on a soundtrack, read an inspirational message taped to the monitor or some other ritual, all because we know that certain things will put us in a better frame of mind to create.
For writers, mindset is everything. It can’t be understated – having a positive attitude and strong self-belief keeps us focused and motivated. It sustains us during the long road to a publish-ready story.
Writing is hard work, and unfortunately life doesn’t always make it easy. Hardship and strain can sap our energy, and with everything going on in the world today following on the heels of a difficult past two years, many are reaching their limits as to what they can manage.
So when our mental tank is empty, how do we get to a place where we’re excited to write?
This is where there’s good news for anyone living in the Northern Hemisphere, because spring is here, and whether we consciously think about it or not, the seasons impact our mood and mindset. We make certain associations with each season, and in spring, these associations can be leveraged to boost our energy levels, creativity, and outlook.
Using seasonal symbolism to shift your mindset
Winter acts as a long sleep, with most of us content to hibernate a bit. We slow down, hole up inside, and wait out colder temperatures with plenty of snacks, blankets, and tea. And after a long year, we’re in need of that rest. But when spring comes, it’s the wake-up hit we need, bringing an abundance of earthy smells, green shoots, and sunlight to warm our bones.
This is our cue to pull back the metaphorical blanket and look ahead with fresh eyes. We’re naturally more curious, expectant, and energized during this part of the calendar year.
Spring is a time of new perspectives, fresh starts, and blank pages
Spring brims with symbolism that represents growth, renewal, healing, and hope. It reminds us what’s possible, and ignites our excitement to discover our own potential. This can offset lower moods and help us push back negativity.
If we embrace the idea of a new beginning, our mindset recalibrates. We can view the future more clearly and think about what our creative goals are, and that motivates us to get going on them. Maybe we will decide to dive back into a WIP with renewed vigor, start something new, or even switch gears and experiment a bit.
Want to use the symbolism of spring to full advantage? Here are four tips.
1) Think about what you need right now
It’s been a challenging few years, and some of us are feeling the strain, so the first order of the day is to consider what you need, and how creativity can help strengthen you. Take some time to think about what energizes you. If it’s reading, read. If it’s writing, write. And if you need to take a break from social media, certain responsibilities, or something else, give yourself space and grace to do that. It’s okay!
2) Start small
When the calendar turns to a new page, many set big, audacious goals in hopes of it being a productive year. This works well for some, but for others it can paralyze them because here they are now, a few months in, and those goals seem too big to achieve. Spring is a great time to reassess what you want to accomplish, and possibly reset your goals to something more manageable.
And whatever those goals are, it’s important to break them down into achievable steps. Being successful in small increments is what keeps us moving forward and feeling good about our progress.
Think about what you want to accomplish with this year, and then focus on the first step. For example…
If you want to write a new story, start by getting to know the main character.
If you want to revise a novel, start with your first pages and follow a revision plan.
If you want to try a new genre, read a few books first.
If you want to query a novel, start by researching agents or learn about writing queries.
If you want to self-publish, deepen your understanding of the steps ahead.
And if you’re just trying to get comfortable with writing, read this.
3) Try something new
Spring is a great time to shake things up, and when we do, it can free up our imagination and our spirits. Stories come in different sizes and shapes, so if a break from your usual projects will help, why not fool around a bit? Step outside your genre box, or try a different type of story. If you write short stories, try a novel, or if you write novels, experiment with flash fiction, a drabble, or try fan fiction for fun.
But if you are firm on the type of length you like, there are other ways to experiment, like changing up the type of plot in your next story. If you need ideas, download this Save the Cat Plot Types List.
4) Explore what works and evolve your toolkit
The resources we keep close to hand have a big impact on our success, but as we evolve as writers, we may need to adjust our writing toolkit. We are constantly growing and evolving, and as we learn, we realize we need help in certain areas. Here are a few places to look for help.
Find other writers. We can learn a lot from others because everyone has different strengths and experiences. Getting feedback on your writing, advice on what to do, and having others to be accountable to are all great reasons to get involved in a writing community.
Expand your reading library. There are so many terrific writing guides out there, it’s hard to know where to start. Here are some of our favorite writing guides, but this list and this one are both great, too. Or browse Amazon’s bestselling list for writing guides. (Affiliate link)
Look for new tools to help you. We’re very lucky in that there are so many resources out there to help us plan, write, revise, publish, and market. No matter what you need help with, you can find tools to help you. Here are the sites I recommend the most to writers – it’s a must-bookmark!
If spring has you energized to try something new…
Now’s a good time to head over to One Stop for Writers. You can activate a free trial and use it to build a new character, plot a new story, brainstorm a new world, or use the Storyteller’s Roadmap to see what the next step is for you in writing your current novel.
Now, one last great thing about spring? Easter chocolate is on sale (you know, in case you need to replenish your stockpile of writerly rewards!)
Spring is reminding you of your potential, so go make something amazing!
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.