I love writing, I do, but some days, for whatever reason, I just don’t want to.
Some days the idea of writing is hard, I don’t fancy it. Can’t bring myself to the keyboard, especially if there’s a niggly plot hole I’m working on, or if the story isn’t going how I’d like.
Those days I need something to tempt me back to my work, and over the years, I’ve got a few things I do to get me writing.
Here’s what they are:
I don’t set a writing word count
Or if I do, I set a really low one.
Like one hundred words. Sometimes a high word count can be daunting. The mere thought of having to write one or two thousand words is enough to set my procrastination off to an all-time high. I’ll clean out the bathroom drains before sitting at the desk to get even one of those words down. However, if I only have to write one hundred words and that’s it, well, I can do that in five minutes. That’s not too bad, and chances are when I start to write I’ll go way over that low word count.
I set a timer
This trick works on the same principle as having a low word count. I set a timer for ten or fifteen minutes and know that when the timer goes off, that’s it. I’m done.
No sitting staring at the blank page, I just write whatever for the time allocated and that’s it. It’s a brilliant way to get started and then, just like with a low word count, I usually type for much longer after the alarm has gone off.
I try to always finish in the middle of a scene
I find it’s so much easier to start writing action. If I can read over the opening paragraph where the setup is already done, knowing that I’m going to start where the juicy bits take place, then it does wonders for my motivation. And if I leave my desk itching to write the rest of the scene, I know I’ll be desperate to get back to my work the next day, and the day after that, and the day after that and so on.
I try to be kind to my writing self
Allow the critical voice in your head to have some time off, leave it away from the keyboard. Don’t judge your work whilst you’re creating, that’s for your internal editor, not your internal creative writer. Know that what you produce whilst your writing is without judgement and that you can tell whatever story you like. This is what I’m trying to do, it’s a constant battle to hush the voices though.
I set my writing space out
If I can, I make sure my writing space is a kind of haven. I make sure the chair is comfortable, and that I have a drink to hand. I always check before beginning, am I warm enough? Have I got snacks handy? Maybe I’ll light a candle and put on a writing soundtrack. Granted, sometimes this isn’t always possible, but knowing that I’m going to be writing somewhere that I want to be can make all the difference.
That’s my top five, I do have other tips and tricks to cajole myself into writing on particularly bad days, but this is what I mostly rely on when the words don’t come easily.
I hope they work for you and let you write when you don’t want to.