What do you do when it’s time to write and you just don’t feel like it? For those moments when you just aren’t feeling motivated, we offer seven remedies for writer’s apathy.
Writer’s apathy – it can happen to anyone, even the best writers in the world. It’s those times when you know you should be writing your book or your blog, but you just can’t get yourself motivated.
You just don’t feel like it. Cleaning the toilet or mowing the lawn seem like more attractive uses of your time. Come to think about it, my lawn is looking a bit unkempt at the moment…
First thing: don’t panic. Writer’s apathy is completely normal. You’re not alone and you’re in very successful company. But you don’t want this to carry on forever, otherwise, nothing ever gets written, does it?
So what do you do? Here are some quick and easy ways to get going.
Just do a little
Time yourself to write for just 30 minutes. By committing only to a little bit, it’s less daunting. When the time is up, give yourself full permission to walk away from the keyboard. On the other hand, if you’re in full flow, carry on. It’s amazing how often that happens.
Here’s my 15 minute timer, it’s flowing as we speak!
Don’t break the chain
Many years ago, the famous comedian Jerry Seinfeld created a writing system for himself which he called “Don’t Break the Chain.” It was very simple. In January each year, he would stick a huge year planner on his office wall, and each day he wrote new material, he would mark a big, fat, rewarding “X” on the calendar. After a series of consecutive days’ writing, the Xs ran into a chain. He made it his goal never to break the chain.
You’d think as a world-famous comedian, Seinfeld could afford to take the odd day off. But he kept going every day, because when he saw a day without an “X,” it wasn’t a good day.
Maybe a change of scene would do you some good. A local coffee shop could be a comfortable setting to write in and provides a different atmosphere. Or how about taking your laptop out into the garden, or your living room? Being outside may also have the added advantage having no WiFi to distract you (there’s also the option of disconnecting – wherever you are).
Creative juices can be tricky to turn on and off at will, and doing some creative writing exercises will improve your writing, whether you’re motivated or not. See this article from Author Unlimited for some practical creative prompts for nonfiction writing.
Remember the times when your writing flowed
This is a nice little self indulgent exercise. Flip back to the blog posts which got you lots of interested comments (whether in the blog itself or on your social media platforms), and think back on the times when you’ve really enjoyed your writing. Underlying a lot of worries about writing is doubt: not being sure you can do it, or if you’re any good. You’ve done it before, so you can do it again.
Dream of your goals
What’s your book going to do for you? Skyrocket your sales, help more people, bring you more speaking gigs, elevate you to the position of go-to expert in your niche? That won’t happen if you don’t write it, so let that dream motivate you to get going.
Do it anyway
My favorite. If we waited until we were in the right mood before we did anything, how slowly would our lives progress? What would we achieve? There will be countless times when you will have just got on and “done it” even though you didn’t feel in the mood, so why would writing be any different?
Sure, it’s lovely to think of writing as simply typing away, perpetually happy and inspired, but we all know that life isn’t always like that – in fact we’re lucky to get the odd moment!
And did I say just get on with it? I did? OK I’d better follow my own advice and start ghostwriting the next chapter of my client’s book.
What works for you when you’re not in the mood for writing? Do share so we can all learn from you.
Speed Up! How To Make Better Use Of The Time At Your Keyboard.
7 Guidelines For Writing A Nonfiction Book
10 Blog Content Ideas For Authors To Keep Your Loyal Readers Happy
Overcome Your Inner Critic
Have You Considered Entering A Writing Contest?