Pick up Your Pen and Write

Published June 20, 2016 by nruhwald


Sometimes I don’t feel like it.

I have a headache.

I’m not feeling well.

I don’t know, I’m just in a slump.

I just don’t feel as wonderfully creative as I did yesterday when I wrote practically all day and cranked out over 2000 words.

So do it anyway. Because, just do it.

One might say this is part two of an earlier post I wrote entitled Why I Don’t Want to be a Serious Writer. I still feel the same way, I think.

I don’t want try to be someone I can’t be yet. I just want to be…a novelist.

I like that word, okay?

Since then, I haven’t changed much. Mainly I think I just obsess less about the things I should be doing that I can’t do.

Even so, never let that be an excuse to “not feel like it.” That applies to blog writing (etc) as much as it does to my other work. Sometimes I don’t feel like putting in the two posts a week, or trying to connect with a million strangers in the hopes that someone will care when I am eventually able to self-pub my debut novel.

Sometimes…I just have to suck it up and use it as inspiration for the blog post I was supposed to write yesterday.

Get Past It

We all struggle with motivation from time to time, so in the second half of this post, let me share with you how I escape the doldrums and move back into the trade winds of productivity.

First of all, you won’t always “feel like it.” At least not until you start doing it. I often find I get into a mini-slump after a really, really good day of writing. That’s because I contrast how creative I felt at the time with how I feel after a relatively long break (a night’s sleep, lets say).

But I didn’t start that creative day feeling like that. I still had to get into it, and then yes, the creative juices got going and practically nothing could knock me out of it.

Don’t tell my profs, but I’ve written straight through some classes riding a creative high. Sometimes I wonder, though. I’m not really a note-taker, and then they see me studiously writing away. And what about the quotation marks and the big paragraphs and the lack of bullet points? Can they see that? Do they know? But I digress.

To get into the creative mindset, I usually start by thinking about what it is I have to do while doing something else. I may type up what I last wrote, or do some light editing. Or read what I wrote last and then go play some computer games, so I can think about it for a bit.

Sometimes this works, and sometimes I get tired afterwards and just go to sleep. Usually this just means I have to stop watching TV and go write earlier, but sometimes I means I gave up. Don’t give up. Just do it.

That sentence. In your head. Write it down. Even if you’re not feeling it. Pick up your pen, and write it down. Even if you don’t have a sentence in your head. Pick up the pen. A sentence will come to you if you stare at the page long enough.

It’s taken me as long as half an hour. Or more, I don’t really pay attention. But I find typing up or reading what I wrote last can shorten this time. It gets my head into my story.

How do you stay motivated?


7 comments on “Pick up Your Pen and Write

  • Sometimes I get really excited to write and almost nothing can hold me back. Then there are times where I literally have to do ALL OF THE THINGS other than write. I mostly guilt myself into writing when I don’t feel like it. I tell myself, “You should be writing.” I’m really good at annoying myself. I enjoyed your post.

    Liked by 2 people

  • Sometimes it is so incredibly tough to stay motivated. Usually when that happens, I try to take a break from writing, and spend a day doing other things so I can recharge my “creative” batteries. Other times, I push through it and force myself to write anyway — even if it’s crappy, I can edit another time. Sometimes, though, it’s hard to know which approach is the right one for any given day!

    Hang in there. Great post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  • I’m pretty lucky because my motivation comes from the world around me. I hear or read something about, say, how North Koreans in the past were obligated to attend weekly “self-critique sessions” (which were really overdramatic and very theatrical) and I want to write about it. I read something on BBC or Times about the crazy stuff going down in the South China Sea and inspiration hits me. It’s this burning desire–or, need?–to share what I learn that motivates me to write when I’m inspired.

    Liked by 1 person

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