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How to Write When You Don’t Feel Like It

There is a writer who is furiously clacking away on her keyboard. She has a plot and a vision and characters all lined up in her head, and her fingers cannot keep up with the pace at which they come. She must work faster if she doesn’t want the next best seller to slip away.

That writer is not me.

And if you’re reading this article, it’s probably not you right now either.

But what you have experienced at some point is the euphoric high of creating something original, a marvelous idea that you managed to coax out of the hidden recesses of your brain. That’s wonderful. Just know that it won’t always be like that.

Writing is work. Hard work.

And like any other craft worth mastering, it takes discipline and the ability to withstand boredom. While it can be tempting to skip a day of writing when you don’t feel like it, you’re only putting off learning a skill that you will need to learn eventually in order to produce consistent streams of writing. Writing is an enjoyable activity, but let’s face it. It’s not only for when you feel like jotting down your innermost thoughts. You need to build your writing muscle in order to create under pressure and to meet deadlines.

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Jerry Seinfeld has employed a simple method for his success to writing jokes as a comedian. Other creatives have sworn by the technique as well, known as not breaking the chain. The idea is to visually track a daily habit and mark it on a calendar with a red X, not breaking that chain of X’s for as long as possible. Your daily habit? Writing. Get a calendar or other chart that would work well for you and place it somewhere highly visible. Once you see a small chain of X’s, you’ll feel more motivated to continue to write daily. Build in some rewards and treat yourself for hitting writing milestones.

Photo by Lukas Blazek on Unsplash

On days that I don’t feel like writing, I set a timer for 30 minutes and challenge myself to write a piece of any length, on any topic, within that time frame. I worry less about the minutiae of the piece but the goal is just to get something on paper. When the timer is up, I have to have something completed, at least in the form of a draft.

While I enjoy the textures of words and the feelings that they can evoke, I’m also a visual person. I choose a header image before I began writing this article and it gave me more inspiration than starting at a blinking cursor on a blank white screen. Is there a visual method you can use to inspire your own writing?

Happy writing!

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