We’re approaching a holiday week here in the U.S., which is going to throw a wrench into many a writing schedule.
Summertime can be a tricky time to be a writer, when BBQs and outdoor activities beckon.
So let me ask you this: How do you convince yourself to write when you really don’t feel like it?
Let me know in the comments!
Also heads-up that I’ll be taking a bit of a mini blog hiatus but will be back after the holiday week.
Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and consultations! And if you like this post, check out my guide to writing a novel.
Art: Lion by Jean-Léon Gérôme
JOHN T. SHEA says
A magic potion. I mix together as much inspiration, imagination, hope, ambition and memory as I can muster, and as little guilt and fear as possible, shake and drink. Results vary.
Janiss Garza says
If I have a deadline, I’m good. I just buckle up and do it. (Comes from being a journalist for a couple of decades.) It’s when I don’t have a deadline that there are issues.
Keith Patterson says
read an interview with an author (the Guardian is a good source of these) and shame myself to get back in the game.
Karen Frisch says
I’m facing that situation now. I’m going to try sprinting by setting the timer for 15 or 20 minutes at a time and write as quickly as possible from notes I’ve written for certain scenes. I’m hoping the process will draw me back into the story and encourage me to push forward.
Colette Auclair says
a) I go somewhere that’s more fun and less distracting (as in when I’m at home, suddenly I MUST wash the dog’s toys or reorganize the spice jars) than my dining room table. The library. Starbucks or similar. Even a quiet bar, preferably without wifi. The change of scene often helps me focus.
b) I set a timer for 30 minutes and tell myself, “Just do 30 minutes. That’s all.” Once I start, I often keep going beyond the 30.
c) I think of the quote that has been attributed to Nora Roberts: “I can’t edit a blank page.” I can write the most horrific dreck ever, and know I can revise it later.
Schedule it. Look at the week ahead of time and figure out when you might be able to write. Then schedule it in.
Nathan Bransford says
You know I’m a big fan!
Courtney Leigh says
Right now, what’s working for me is to look at my week and put a 30-minute task in my calendar every day that says “Write 250 words.” I know exactly when I’ve scheduled writing for the day, so when that time arrives, I remind myself in a very stern voice, “You want to write this book. You want to write this book.” I repeat it as many times as necessary until I get my laptop out—the doc is open from the day before—and I begin to write. So far my brainwash method is averaging about 3000 words per week.
G.B. Miller says
I have no other choice at the moment but to force myself to write. I haven’t done any original writing since last summer (almost a year ago) and after just release book #1 of my trilogy, I’m trying to finish up a 2nd round of edits with book #2 so that I can start on book #3 (I always like to have at least one book in the can, so to speak, so that I can give myself a good release pace).
Bill Camp says
Coffee in the morning, liquor at night.
Glynis Jolly says
My way of motivating myself is pretty simple. I remind myself of how much better I will feel about myself after I have spent a half hour to an hour doing nothing but writing. I know if I don’t do it, I won’t like myself. Who needs that?
Linda Sawyer Ferrara says
If I’m creatively blocked, I work on editing, reading helpful blogs (what a brown-noser!), critiquing an entry on critiquecircle, researching, prepare info for blog and social media.
I cannot write at home unless I’m alone. The library is great because I can’t get into conversations with people, drink coffee, do laundry, etc.
If I’m foggy and can’t seem to focus, Standing up, stretching, and breathing deep for a few minutes usually does it.
I’m huge on deadlines and ‘To Do’ lists. Today’s list:
1. Incorporate C2 critique suggestions.
2. Clean up C4.
3. Outline C5, 6, 7
If I go somewhere to do it–a coffee place–then I’ll really feel like I have to. Well, I’m here for this purpose, so… There are still distractions (twitter), but at least I can’t go clean my closet.
Dana Bailey says
First I have to open my computer. It’s so easy to find a chore that needs doing or the other fear…. it’s close to bedtime and I might actually get into the rhythm and then won’t be able to sleep. There are lots of excuses. I apply the gym rule. Don’t decide if you’re going to workout or not until you have your gym clothes on. In this case, don’t decide if you’re going to write or not until you turn the computer on.
Second, once the computer is on and I still don’t really feel like writing I will start to edit. If I read over the start of the work it helps me get back into the story. If its still not coming, I make myself write. I remind myself that the real magic comes in the editing stage so I allow myself to write horrible sentences just to get the story out. I allow myself the freedom to repeat myself too.
A lot of it is fear. If I address the fear then I’m usually good.
Outing with friends.
S Wolberius says
I know I’m late to the show but my two cents are as follows: firstly I try to write anything, every day again. My usual pace is 1000 words a day but that’s not set in stone (I just feel like a lazy bum if I don’t make it). If I can’t think of anything adequate I settle for less, even if it’s just one paragraph.
If I really can’t think of anything, I’ll either revise stuff that’s already there or work more on the outline, preparing future scenes, scribble down excerpts I want to use, flesh out a character’s “bio”, and so on.
In any case, I try to at least expand or enhance the coming together of the story.
As for motivation, it seems random to me. Getting enough fresh air, going for walks, etc., it’s all helpful and all. But sometimes I do all of these things and I’m still not motivated or inspired. At other times I laze around doing nothing all day long and still find plenty of inspiration to write.
David Cole says
Very often this is one of the parts of the discipline: I try to write a little but every day, when I have deadline. But it happens that motivation is not enough, and ideas don’t come. In this case, I search on AnswerShark for interesting texts and try to inspire or take ideas that can give me a push for further work and writing.