|Photo credit: Nenyaki on Flickr|
Unfortunately, that’s not really the case.
While writers do love to write (otherwise we wouldn’t want the title of “writer”), it’s not necessarily a requirement to love writing every day. The fact of the matter is, every writer has ups and downs—days that the writing comes easily and we can’t get enough, and days where we’d rather do just about anything else.
The ugly truth is this: some days, we just don’t feel like writing. And you know what? That’s ok. We’re permitted to have a couple off days here and there. It’s when the off days begin to accumulate, or they come at particularly inopportune times (i.e.: right before a deadline) that we have to take action.
The thing is, there isn’t a magical spell or special technique that can immediately money-back-guarantee make us want to write again, nor is there a button we can press that’ll instantaneously fulfill our daily writing quota—it’s up to us to get our butts back in gear and pound out a new chapter or scene or page despite not wanting to. It’s our responsibility as writers to write on the good days, the slightly more difficult days, and especially on the bad days.
So what can you do to jumpstart your writing when you’d rather be doing just about anything else?
- Find inspiration. Inspiration doesn’t always just make itself known to us—sometimes we have to go after it with a pitchfork. Try reading a good book, or listening to music, or finding inspiring pictures online (Pinterest and tumblr are great for that). The key to this step however, is this: if you don’t find it, that’s not an excuse to skip writing.
- Remind yourself why you love your story. I read this guest post by Stephanie Perkins on Natalie Whipple’s blog a while back about creating a love list for each of your WIPs, and I think it’s a great idea. In short, you write a list of elements that you love about your story and add to it as you continue to work on your WIP. Looking back on or creating a list like that is a great way to spark that excitement again.
- Write anyway. Even if the above two steps don’t work for you, there comes a time when you have to sit down in that chair and write despite not wanting to. No, it probably won’t be the best thing you’ve ever written and no, it probably won’t be the most enjoyable writing sprint you’ve ever had, but that’s not the point—the point is that you get words on the page and continue to progress through the massive task of completing a novel. Don’t check Twitter or Facebook or tumblr (or whatever social media site you enjoy). Don’t watch TV or catch up on your Hulu queue (as tempting as it is). Just get your butt in that chair and write.
You’ll be glad you did.
Now it’s your turn: What tips do you have for writing when you don’t want to?