By Tiffany Sun
Let’s be real.
Writing is gratifying when our thoughts gush out of our heads like cream from a cake. When we pump out a good piece by the end of the day.
Those are our BEST moments.
But every so often, we fall into a pit. Our minds blank out. We burn out. And no matter how hard we force ourselves to jump back into writing, we can’t.
There’s just no way to control a mind that’s unwilling. After all…
“What consumes your mind, controls your life.”
That’s why I’ve challenged myself to try out simple ways to get my writing groove back. Here’re the ones that got me to write at LEAST one sentence.
1. Imagine yourself writing
I know. It sounds silly.
But just picturing your fingers clanking on the keyboard or you scribbling with a pen, tricks your mind into believing that you’re actually achieving something. And it’s this feeling, alone, that can bump up your motivation faster than telling yourself to just do it.
“If you can imagine it,
you can achieve it.
If you can dream it,
you can become it.”
~William Arthur Ward
2. Remind yourself the REASON why you’re writing
Don’t write, because other people said so.
Don’t write, because you heard it’s a useful skill.
Don’t write, just because you want to say something.
Write, because you genuinely enjoy it.
Write, because you want to earn good money from it.
Write, because you have something to say.
It’s about realizing the value you get from writing. So when you finally understand the “why” behind your writing, writing won’t feel like an obstacle.
3. Commit to a daily goal
200 words. 1 paragraph. 30 minutes. 1 draft.
Whatever daily goal you set, COMMIT to it. No whining. No postponing. NO excuses.
If you’re going to make excuses, lower the numbers until you can.
4. Let yourself write horribly, just get that 1st draft out!
Look, we all face this problem — tweaking our words as we write, for the sole reason of impressing our readers.
Forget about being perfect. Just push out that 1st draft.
Doesn’t matter if it’s short, messy, missing substance. It’s easier to fix a rough draft than to create something entirely from scratch.
5. Find a quiet, clean, well-lit place to write
The less distracted you are, the better quality your stories become.
So find a place that won’t sap your energy from blocking out loud noises, gawking at messy rooms, and adjusting to poor lighting.
You’ll feel more relaxed to start writing.
6. Switch up your environment to kickstart your creativity
Having a dedicated workspace makes it easier to switch into “work” mode.
But in the long-run, it stifles your mind from whipping up cool new ideas.
If that’s the case, try switching to a new location to work at: a park, a coffeeshop, a bookstore, a library, your friend’s home (if they’re cool with you).
I guarantee you’ll have a bunch more interesting things to say. 😉
7. Look at your old comments
Remember how you felt when your story got a comment?
How excited you were to know that someone, far, far away, enjoyed your story to drop you a note?
And how eager you were to write your next piece?
Go back to these early posts and read what your readers wrote. Who knows? You might be inspired to write about something that would’ve never crossed your mind. [link to 5 ways to get fresh content]
8. Slash your to-do list in 1/2
I’m serious. Just do it.
By shedding off extra tasks, you give yourself less things to worry about, letting you focus more intently on writing.
9. Ask a good friend to critique your topic
There’s a chance your friend can inspire you with a more intriguing topic.
10. Take breaks
If you’re burnt out and have 0 motivation to write, give yourself 20 minutes. An hour. A couple days if that’s what it takes to recuperate.
Your brain will tell you when it’s ready to take on a new or old post.
11. Listen to music that fits your writing
Music kicks our mood for practically everything — from dinner dates at home to workouts. Yes, even writing.
And it’s especially effective if you’re writing an emotional piece.
Just don’t choose songs that have lyrics in your native tongue, because that’ll distract you.
12. Hang out with successful or self-driven people
As you might’ve heard, “You become like the people you spend the most time with.”
So by surrounding yourself with people who’ve accomplished, or will accomplish, great things, you’ll feel more eager to start writing.
Just so you can be great too.
As much as you might hate it, exercise cures unmotivated minds.
Because when you move your body around, you pump more oxygen to your brain, giving you that rush of insight to just give it your all.
14. Drink coffee, tea, chocolate, anything that has caffeine!
Ever wonder why people go to coffeeshops to write?
Because one cup of coffee has enough caffeine to get you focused and make you feel like you’re on top of your game.
**1 cup coffee = 95mg caffeine**
“Writing is considered by many to be an arduous and daunting task, but the energizing effects of the caffeine in coffee helps overcome at least the first of many obstacles, the blank page.”
15. Challenge yourself on your next post
Record your results from your last post — views, recommends, comments. Then put 120% effort into bumping up those numbers, whichever matters most to you.
16. Be physically comfortable
Wear cotton. Sit in a comfortable chair. Turn on the AC or heater.
Even small things like these can turn your I-don’t-feel-like-writing mood around.
17. Use tools to help you write better
I’m gonna be honest with you. Having tools to speed up your writing + make it sound better, boosts your mood to pump out more content.
18. Talk to other writers
Join a slack group for writers (I advise The Writing Cooperative). Tweet your favorite writer. Email a blogger you respect for advice.
You’re not the only one feeling stuck.
19. Write something that’s been on your mind recently
Think about the things that’ve been bugging you, how you feel about someone or something, what you wanted to do but haven’t.
It’s much easier (and more refreshing) to write about your personal thoughts.
20. Write something you can teach
Everyone has a special talent. But not everyone shares it with the world.
So tell people about your experiences, what you’ve learned, what they might not already know.
It’ll all pay off when people keep coming back to you to learn about _____ (your expertise).
21. Announce online that you’ll write everyday.
By telling the entire world what you’re about to do, it’s enough kick to get you started.
After all, failing in public is much more shameful than you breaking your own promise.
22. Turn off your monitor and just start typing
This is a trick I used to do when I started writing. Even though I felt like a complete idiot at the time, it did get me into the habit of writing.
Maybe it will for you.
23. Read a story
Whatever you read — a newsletter, a short story, a fiction book, a manga series — will help you relax, believe it or not. Simply because you let your mind work at its own pace.
Not to mention, you’ll have some pretty neat ideas for your next post.
24. Reward yourself for writing
Your mind secretly craves rewards when you do good work. Think about your paycheck. Your bonuses. Don’t you feel more motivated to work harder?
Same thing applies to writing. If you reward yourself for completing a post, or for even one sentence, you won’t hesitate to keep on writing.
25. Mix your day up
Life can feel dull at times. And this could drag your entire mood down to the point where you don’t even want to think about writing.
So mix up your day.
Instead of writing in the morning, try writing at night.
Instead of eating lunch at 12pm, eat at 2pm.
Instead of going to the gym after work, hang out with a friend for a snack.
These changes instantly excite your brain, making you feel more happy and more determined to make things right again.
26. Read inspirational quotes
Besides being an instant mood booster, inspirational quotes are a great root for an extraordinary story.
You can use it to talk about your personal life. Or you can insert it in to make your main message “pop.”
27. Get emotional
I’m not saying you should break up with your date or guzzle down a pack of beer. But when you fall into your emotions, your mind fires out all of these thoughts that cannot be contained for too long.
And when you put it on paper/the screen, you just let it all out.
28. Do something fun
Throw a potluck party. Watch some funny YouTube videos. Check out the flea market.
As long as you indulge yourself with things that entertain your mind, you’ll melt away all that stress and mental exhaustion that kept you back from writing.
29. Buy smiley stickers + calendar
Go to your local store and bag these two things.
Every time you write, doesn’t matter how long, put a sticker underneath that day. Seeing all of those achievements on your calendar will keep you going!
30. Write yourself a little note for the next day
Culled from Writing Cooperative