What to Do When You Don’t Feel Like Writing

Yesterday, I felt really slow of mind. I was tired after being woken in the middle of the night by an incredible thunderstorm. The day was very hot and sticky and I really wanted to be outside. My RSI was playing up. There were men working with loud power tools in my building. I did not feel inspired in the slightest. I did not want to write. I found myself planning a blog post about it then I thought this is stupid and I went and did some writing.

What is my secret technique for doing this?

I opened up my word-processor, looked at what I had written the day before and began to edit it. Once I had finished doing that, I kept typing a new scene. I didn’t stop to wonder whether it was any good. I just wrote it. Once I had finished I went back and read it again and edited it. Those of you who remember some of my previous posts will notice that this bears a suspicious resemblance to what I would normally do on a working day.

The secret of getting writing done is that there is no secret. You don’t think about it. You don’t go on Facebook and tell everyone you don’t feel like writing today. You don’t wait for inspiration to strike. You just write. As with a lot of things you need to get into motion. You need to sit down and start. As Steven King says, it’s about application; applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair.

There are people who will tell you they can only write when they are inspired. Good for them! There are days when I am inspired too. You want to know the strange thing? Six months or ten years from now, if I read the piece I wrote yesterday, I will not be able to tell whether I was inspired or not.

How do I know this? Some of my books have been in print for over a decade now. I sometimes read them and I have no idea how I felt on the days when I wrote the individual pages.

I do know that I wrote them. If I had not, they would not be there for me to read.  Yep– simple stuff — but sometimes life is just simple.

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Comments

  1. I have to say, Bill, that I’ve been reading through a lot of your posts lately and finding a lot of timely wisdom here that should be obvious, but somehow a lot of us miss it. I learned the hard way that writing is, in great part, about sitting down and simply putting the hours in.
    I think setting weekly goals helps a lot, too. For me, ten-thousand words a week is a fair goal. If I go over, great, but I try not to go under (though, right now, I’m still way behind schedule).
    Anyway, keep up the great work.

    • Thanks, Steve. I agree about goals. I tend to set them for just about everything. It’s a way of letting myself know how well I am doing or how much I am failing by!

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