How to Write When You Don’t Feel Like Writing

Do you remember when Twitter was full of homemade bread and people showing off their stacks of toilet paper? It was in the early days of lockdown when lots of people suddenly found themselves working from home. Folks could attend Zoom meetings wearing pajamas, take blissful naps throughout the day, and bake sourdough bread in between. People fantasized about the stuff they could accomplish with all the time they now suddenly had. 

As a writer, you may have daydreamed about meeting your writing goals. It is even possible that you reached into the murky depths of your computer and pulled out a manuscript you abandoned eons ago, hoping to get back to work after beating off the dust and cobwebs. If you’re one of the millions of writers who ended up abandoning the project again, please try not to feel too bad about things. Here are some things to help get your head back in the game.

Give Yourself a Break

This may sound counterproductive, especially if you started the year with a writing goal you’re yet to achieve, but you really do need a break. The world is going through a major pandemic. There’s crippling fear, anxiety, and uncertainty wherever you turn. If you find yourself unable to write, don’t sweat it. Relax. Give yourself time to feel. You deserve it. 

Ask Yourself Why You Want to Write

This kind of self-reflection will either pump you full of motivation or turn you away from writing for good. Fingers crossed that you’ll end up with the latter. Motivation can help drag you to the chair, which is a good start. It might even help you conquer the blinking text cursor and the blank page. Try to remember why you started writing in the first place. Also, why do you write what you write? Hopefully, answering these questions will get you back on track.

Most Writing Happens Far Away from the Writing Chair

When most people conjure up an image of a writer, they think of some bespectacled person hunched over a huge desk, their fingers drumming up the annoying clack-clack sounds on the keyboard. As a writer, you know this is patently false. Writing can happen when you’re in line at your local grocery store. It can also happen when you’re on the bus, hanging precariously on the handrails. Writing can also happen when you’re getting a tooth extraction. Do you see where this is going? The important thing is to remember to document the ideas, words, and sentences that come to you even when you’re not officially writing. You can record this on your phone or a notebook. Hopefully, you’ll use these as prompts later. 

Make it a Date

What would you do if you were meeting someone somewhere for drinks? Show up on time. Prepare. Get in the mood. Anticipate a great time. How about making a date with writing and doing all of the above? No one knows how a date will turn out until it actually ends, so don’t be scared of not getting anything done. Show up and enjoy yourself. 

Best,

Blessing Christopher, fiction reader & editor

One thought on “How to Write When You Don’t Feel Like Writing

  1. Good ideas. I have been incorporating the last two this year and can finally say that I’m writing every day.
    Not always writing well, but writing.

    But I have a question. Under “Ask Yourself Why,” did you really mean to say “Fingers crossed that you’ll end up” being turned away from writing for good? I know there is a school of thought that holds you should write only if you absolutely cannot be deterred by any means from doing so. To me (maybe because I’m not one of those lucky ones who cannot be discouraged), that has always seemed needlessly harsh, an approach that may have lost for the world many potentially fine writers (and other artists) who might have created valuable work and been far happier themselves, had they received a little encouragement and nurturance.

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