Friday, July 22, 2016

How to Write Even When You Don't Feel Like It

Writing is hard. Sometimes you just don't want to do it. You stare at your project and think, "Ah man. I really don't feel like doing that right now. Or anytime soon, honestly."

I get it. I really do. And, because I get it, I can say this: 

Stop your whining!! Why are you not writing right now? What's wrong with you?! You've been putting off that story of yours for far too long. So get off the internet and start writing!

Easier said than done, you say. Or is it? 

Here are 7 ways to get your writer on even when you really, really don't feel like it:
1. Identify the problem. So what is it that's bothering you? Maybe you're scared of writing complete junk. Maybe you think you don't have enough time. Maybe you don't feel inspired. Maybe your favorite kind of tea is no longer available. Find out what it is that's making it difficult to write. Can't place your finger on it? That's okay. Why? Because...

Quote from Make Good Art by Neil Gaiman
2. Recognize that this problem doesn't matter. But Hannah, you say, yes, it does matter. That's why it's called a problem. Pffft. That's completely mental. The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. There is absolutely nothing standing in your way that you cannot overcome. Don't believe me? I have Lyme disease, meaning my hands hurt all of the time, especially when I'm writing. And yet, I'm able to get one to two blog posts out each week, write a bit of my novel almost every day, while also working part time and being a part time college student. Now look me (or, you know, my profile picture) in the eye and tell me about how you can't write through your problem....Yeah. That's what I thought. You feel dumb, don't you? And not only because you just talked to a picture on your computer screen. 

3. Remove your so-called obstacles. Schedule a time you want to write. Think of all of the things that are going to get in your way during this time. Now, go about and systematically eliminate these obstacles. Unless they're people...that's murder, one of the worst crimes, so, yeah. Illegal. Don't do it. Social media distracting you? Don't open up those tabs in your internet. Afraid that you won't be able to write anything good? That's okay. No pressure. If you don't like what you write, you can always learn from it and then delete it. Your kids won't give you any peace? Lock them in a closet. Wait, no, that's probably considered child abuse. Lock yourself in a closet. Okay, so maybe your problem isn't so much lack of time, but a lack of motivation or inspiration. In which case:

4. Remember that you don't need inspiration or motivation to write. Ever. I think a lot of writers sit down at their computers, can't immediately think of some beautiful paragraph to write, and decide that the stars are not in position for this task.
Seriously? No. This is unacceptable. You sit down and write even if you don't feel like it...even if you have no ideas whatsoever. If you're waiting for inspiration to hit, your writing project will take forever. So grit your teeth, force yourself to write even when you have absolutely no desire to do so. Fun? No. But writing isn't always unicorns and sparkles. Anyone who says differently is selling something. 

5. Don't be afraid of writing garbage. Even if you start writing and ever single word that you put down is something that you'll have to delete later, keep going. You're just finding all of the ways that your book should not be written. Just this morning I had to go back and delete two pages that I wrote the night before. I spent an hour on those two pages and there was no way to salvage them. I knew they would need to be deleted even as I was writing them, but I kept going. Why? Because I knew that if I threw my hands up in disgust and stopped writing last night, I would end up dreading picking it up again tonight. So I thought, "Well, get all the garbage out tonight so maybe you'll have a chance at writing something good tomorrow." Now I'm looking forward to writing again tonight because I know what I did wrong and I would like a shot at fixing it. So yes, maybe you're going to write garbage today. But that means nothing in the grand scheme of things. Tomorrow you might write something wonderful. That's the beauty of writing. 

6. Recognize your worth as a writer. You are the only person in this universe, past, present, or future, who is capable of writing this story. There are unique thoughts, feelings, memories, writing styles, and ideas all converging at a single point: You. The task of writing this story was appointed to you, and if you do not find a way, no one will. That is a very, very big deal. So why are you putting it off? Because you think you won't get it right? Because you're afraid? Because you simply don't feel like it? Please. You are the only one who can do this. You are unique. You have a talent. Use it.

7. Know that you will be glad that you wrote. It is normal to not want to write. Don't feel bad about  it. Just remember: You like writing. You may not feel like it right now, but you really do. Once you actually sit down and start writing, you're going to be glad for it. The only way you won't be glad about it is if you get down on yourself for writing garbage. And, as we already discussed, garbage is fine. 

And that's all I have to say on the subject. To sum up: If you're struggling with not wanting to work on your writing, remember these three things: 1) The longer you stay way from writing, the harder it will be to get back into it and the worse you will feel about yourself. 2) You are actually going to be happy to get back into writing. 3) The garbage will do.

Have any tips or tricks you'd like to share? Please leave them below! And don't forget to tell me about you current writing troubles and your plan to fix them. I know you can do it.

Related articles:
What To Do When Your Story Bogs Down
Controlling Your Plot Bunnies: How to Write A Novel From Start to Finish Without Getting Distracted
10 Way to Make Your Writing Time More ProductiveSaveSaveSaveSave

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27 comments:

  1. All the references. ALL THE REFERENCES I can't. You're awesome and I'm glad I followed you. *also really needed to hear this* xD

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    1. Ha! I put those in just for people like you....And, of course, my own entertainment. =) Happy that you noticed them and found the post helpful!

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  2. I love writing, but I am such a procrastinator. I sometimes make myself write when I don't want to, but I always end up writing crap. Your words have helped me realize that doesn't matter. Thanks for these inspiring words. I especially like #6.

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    1. Yes, don't worry about writing crap. It's always 100% better than writing nothing. I'm glad this post was able to help you. Best of luck with your writing!

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  3. I got to the end of this thinking "This is amazing, but I can't believe she didn't say 'The garbage will do!'"
    You said it.
    YOU SAID IT.
    You are indeed amazing. :)

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    1. Lol! *bows* I put it at the very end just to mess with all the Start Wars nerds. =D

      So glad you liked it!

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  4. Oh, my goodness, Hannah! Haven't read a blog post or written in what seems like a million years and I'm SO happy I read this one! Awesome work. And the El Dorado reference... My brother was watching that movie tonight and I about cried. That movie was a HUGE part of my childhood. Disney is the crowning glory, but Dream Works never got the credit it was due. :)

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    1. Glad you liked the El Dorado reference. That movie has so many good lines. =) Dream Works is amazing.

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  5. Hi Hannah! I've been reading for a while, and I guess today's the day I stop lurking! Great post. :) I especially like the "writing garbage" tip. Frantic college essays at 1 AM have shown me how powerful this is!

    Also, was "selling something" a Princess Bride reference?

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    1. Hi Anna! Thank you for coming out of the shadows. =) So glad to meet you! I'm happy to hear that this post was good enough to get you to leave a comment. =)

      And yes, "selling something" was most definitely a Princess Bride reference. I love that movie (and book).

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  6. I just discovered your blog recently.. I´m not a writter ( I don´t even want to be one, the last time I wrote something was like 8 years ago) but I can draw. And my dream is to do a webcomic someday, soo I need a plot. wich means write (screams internally) and I just got overwhelming by all the facts I have to consider to make a "good plot". bc it really bothers me that I´m afraid of not being able to create something that I like. I just want to say your blog is reallyyyy helpful to me right now. I like your dynamic to explain and express your opinions, and the topics are so good! It´s too much easier for me to learn from your explanations. so yay a new fan is here :)

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    1. This is such a neat goal, Cielo! I love reading webcomics, comic books, etc. I'm sure if you have the imagination to draw, then you have the imagination to write. =)

      I so happy this post helped you out! I'm cheering you and your artistic efforts on! You got this.

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  7. Thanks for this kick in the pants Hannah. I really needed it. LOVE the references! El Dorado, Princess Bride, Star Wars...where have you been hiding? So glad to find a fellow writer that "speaks" movies. *Immediately follows on Twitter* :D

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    1. I love meeting fellow nerds! *gives high five* Thanks for the Twitter follow! May the force be with you!

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  8. Great pep talk, Hannah! I believe in the tough love approach myself :) I think excuses are easy, and we shouldn't take advantage of that. Beautiful post!

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    1. *sighs* Excuses are SO easy. They're the bane of my existence. I hope one day to be free of them, but, until then, I'll just have to keep kicking myself in the pants. It's worked so far, so I'm glad you like the advice, too! =)

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  9. I'm so happy I stumbled across this post! I can't even remember how I got here... A friend, of a friend, shared a pin... Something like that... Anyway, I'm viewing this on my phone and can't find a link to follow or subscribe and I don't want to miss out on your blog. Do you have an email list you can add me to?

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    1. Nevermind, I found the buttons :)

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    2. I'm so glad you're enjoying my blog, Heather! Thank you for subscribing. You have awesome taste. =) Looking forward to hearing from you again!

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  10. Hi Hannah! I loved this post. I realised it's been a long time since I read something that gave really good, sound advice, and made me laugh all the way through as well. Thank you. :)

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    1. This comment put a huge smile on my face, Marisa. Thank you! My goal is to be helpful while also making people grin, so I'm excited to hear that this post did it for you. =) Happy writing!

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  11. I love the no-nonsense nature of this blog post. Straight to the point! "Get it together, writers!" *high-fives you* ;)

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    1. Thank you! Sometimes I just have to slap myself and yell "Keep it together, man!" So I assumed that other writers need that, too. =)

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  12. Your post was sooo helpful!!! Thanks so much, I sometimes lack inspiration and it's SOOOOO ANNOYING!!! This post helped me a lot.

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    1. I'm so glad this helped you! It's a very frustrating feeling, so I'm always having to come up with ways to combat it.

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  13. "I knew they would need to be deleted even as I was writing them, but I kept going. Why? Because I knew that if I threw my hands up in disgust and stopped writing last night, I would end up dreading picking it up again tonight. So I thought, "Well, get all the garbage out."

    This has helped me so much - thank you! I've been terrified of writing the last quarter of my novel because it's so hard and there are so many loose ends to tie up: are the character arcs right? Is there enough conflict? Too much? So I just haven't worked on it - for months. Reading this post really picked me up - thank you xxx

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