Five Tips for Writing When You Don’t Want To


I’ve been thinking about some of this stuff due to NaNoWriMo, but it’s pretty much always helpful when you want to get some writing done.

  1. Make a small goal. Yeah, 2000 words sounds really impressive. Until you don’t do it because it’s just so daunting. But one page. Most of us can hammer out a page. Or a paragraph. Or just open up the old notebook and have a look at what you wrote. Maybe that will actually be enough (and good for you if it is because it was your goal and you did it), but often–if you’ve got time–you’ll find yourself getting into the whole thing and doing more.
  2. Open up the Word Document (or whatever it is) with your story/book/article/poem and leave it sitting there. You’ll see it each time you look at your computer. And then, instead of Facebook or whatever else might catch your attention, it will. Also, it removes the, uh, work of opening that document–because honestly opening the dern thing is half the battle–it’s kind of like going to the gym. Once you’re there, well, you might as well work out. (Note: If you have small children or, say, 100 cats, this might be a bad idea because those tiny creatures might take it upon themselves to “edit” your literary work. But still keep it open, just minimize it.)
  3. Reward yourself. I mean don’t go an eat a gallon of ice cream or anything (unless you want to and then I’m not stopping you). But you can give yourself a physical reward if that’s your thing–a piece of chocolate, a movie with your spouse, time to let your brain go dead on Twitter for a few minutes. But even if you’re not into the whole reward thing, give yourself the reward of knowing that you’ve done something good and productive. I believe that this is the reward we often deprive ourselves of. Instead of thinking, “Hey, good for me” we think, “Well, I wrote, but it’s not very good” or “Well, I wrote, but it wasn’t as much as I wanted to” or “Well, I wrote, but there’s so much more that needs doing.” Write if it is your goal to do so and then pat that old back of yours and be happy.
  4. Do it first and be done. “First” is a bit relative here. It can mean the very first thing of your day, but it doesn’t have to. It can mean the first of your chores, or the first thing you do in the evening before you zone out with other things. But make it a priority, even if it only gets a few minutes of your day. And then when you’re done (because I know you have a million other things to do), don’t feel guilty about being done and moving on with those other things.
  5. Go somewhere to do it. Even if it’s in your very own house (hello, you there, hiding in the laundry room where no one will come look for you for fear that they will have to help you with laundry–bwahahah–you evil genius, you), though it could be a park or library or book store or coffee shop. But wherever you go. Leave your phone, and take your notebook. Give it 30-60 minutes. It’s totally better than the spa.


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  1. Johnny Knight-Rauch

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