I don’t love ice fishing. I mean really who intentionally sticks themselves in nature’s freezer and taints their fingernails to garlic infested fish bait and burley earthworms and the inappropriately called “meal” worms… not to mention the creepy factor of these fish food dudes? Bleh. (I’m holding down the gag reflex.)
And quite frankly, the hours on end on a frozen lake with no bites… well, that’s just insane.
I would never intentionally plan an ice fishing trip. But, my genetic counterparts would. So, we go despite my love for the sport.
And how does this apply to writing you ask?
Here’s how. If you are a writer you love to write. That’s obvious. But, if you are a writer and you consistently work hard at your work you will find times when you tell yourself this: I’m passionate about writing but right now I just don’t love it.
Congrats! You’ve made a true stride in your writing if you’ve found yourself in a writing slump.
You intentionally stick yourself in a situation that is not producing any warm fuzzies (at the moment) and it appears that your fingers are tainted from writing sprints (uh, yeah… it’s my fingers that are all gooey ewe from writing). You use all of the writing baits out there but some days it just seems useless because you don’t get any bites. “Am I insane?” you ask.
But, we love the sport. So, we go for it despite the lack of love that we feel in the moment.
The trick is to keep going. Here’s a few tips that work with ice fishing and writing. Whether you love it or you hate it at the moment these are tips and tricks that work. Find one that’s the right bait for you and maybe you’ll just get that bite and thrill of writing will all come back to you.
Fish At the Right Time.
Ok, ok. So most ice fishing goers typically like the crack of dawn. I think that’s just plain stupid. It’s because shaved legs don’t last at 6 am in that kind of weather. So last time we went at 2 p.m. The weather was perfect and though the fish weren’t super munchie but we did get a few. I checked it off as the perfect fishing trip.
Timing is everything. You pick the time that makes you most happy to write. Maybe switch it up and you will find something that works a little better for you. I have always preferred afternoon or evening writing. But, most writers I know love writing in the morning. You pick and don’t worry about what anyone else thinks is your “perfect writing time.”
When You Walk Away From Your Pole You’ll Get a Bite.
I’m not exactly sure how this works but it’s proven itself true over and over and over. My little guy gave up the biggest fish in the lake while checking out the forest. His buddy caught it on his pole.
Be careful not to walk away from your writing. I believe that the when you are most likely to give it up is when you are on the brink of success. I have found it in my own writing. When you are most tempted to walk away… just stick with it a little longer. There’s a big one waiting for you. Persevering is the biggest challenge for writers. You’ve got this. Watch the words fill up a page and take necessary breaks but never go wandering through the forest. Stick with it. Give yourself a set amount of time you have to meet each week then tend to your keyboard.
(But maybe someone else’s bite becomes your bait to stick with it. Hmmm??? And that’s okay too as long as you come back.)
Put a Prize In Front of the Fishing Trip.
So I wasn’t planning on fishing until my husband suggested prizes. That perked me up. Who cares about fish… but when you could get $5? Weird how cash from my own pocket changes my motivation to fish. So what was going to be a reading and relaxing moment in the freezing sun bath became a meaningful war path. Fishing suddenly turned from hum-drum to fun.
(Even though I got skunked.)
Writing needs perks too. Find a reward system (even if it comes from your own pocket). Your motivation will change if you just give yourself personal landmarks and rewards. Find treats you love, movies, girls nights out, permission to buy that decoration off the internet shop, racquetball with the buddies, whatever. It doesn’t even have to involve money. I sometimes set up simple rewards of reading or window shopping if I meet my agenda. Set it up today and keep yourself writing. Make sure you are rewarding yourself often.
Bring an Ice Fishing Tent.
I hate being cold, almost as much as I hate spiders. Everyone needs some kind of insurance. I need my back-up plan if things go south. There’s a sense of comfort knowing that we packed the ice fishing tent… it gets me in the Tahoe. Though we haven’t had to use it I know that it is there and that makes ice fishing so much more enjoyable.
Writers need writing insurance also. They need to know that when the wind picks up and their blood is freezing solid that there is something that will keep them warm. They need a back-up plan. You have to keep up your “other passions” so when writing gets too cold for you that you will have a fall back. Now, you don’t give up writing (no way) but it keeps you balanced and happy. It is necessary to always keep just one ice fishing tent in the back of the truck. Maybe it’s cooking, basketball, or organizing social events. Maybe it’s or building things or jumping on the trampoline. I don’t know what your ice fishing tent is but I’m sure you do. Don’t neglect it. It adds an extra layer of happiness. So if you don’t know what it is… figure it out.
Surround Yourself With People Who Are Excited About Fishing.
Wow. Ok, this is probably the most fun thing about ice fishing. Though I was not particularly in the groove with the ice fishing move I was having such a great time watching my little pals fish. My six year old was so excited to be there and kept telling me how much fun he was having. Every time a fish was caught there were smiles and a rush feet. So sweet. I realized that that was the number one thing that kept the fishing trip alive. Enthusiasm is catchy… even if you’re not catching anything.
I believe that surrounding yourself with people who love to write is number one thing you can do to keep you writing. The truth of the matter is we are not all passionate about our writing at the same time but I’ve noticed someone always is. I had a friend call me recently who was on fire with her writing. And since I was in a slump I was reignited by her enthusiasm. Find blogs, like this one, join an online writing community, talk to other writers regularly, and feel and feed off their enthusiasm. You will find that though you may not be catching anything you will be having a wonderful time and soaking up their love of writing. And though you may not love writing right now… you soon will again.
Which ice fishing tip do you need to incorporate to keep you writing? You’ve got this. Keep thinking through your fingers.
Christie Perkins is a survivor of boy humor, chemo,
and faulty recipes. She loves freelance writing and is a nonfiction junkie. A couple of national magazines have paid her for her work but her biggest paycheck is her incredible family. Christie hates spiders, the dark, and
Shepherd’s Pie. Bleh. Mood boosters: white daisies, playing basketball, and peanut butter M&M’s. You can find out more about her at howperkyworks.com.