I frequent a variety of writing groups in my quest to improve and better understand the writing community. The most common question I see popping up from time to time is: How do I write when I don’t feel inspired/motivated?
The answer isn’t as simple as people might think.
As humans, our brains are each unique. What works best for one person, may not work for another, and that’s okay. Too often when I’m reading advice columns I see people giving concrete advice, as if each writer is a carbon copy of another and there can be no variation but that’s disingenuous at best and demotivating at worst for those writers who may be outside the mold.
So, as I answer the question, please know that this is what works for me. Give it a try, if it doesn’t work for you, you might need to find another way.
- Make writing a habit. Do it EVERY day. No matter what. Sometimes this will mean staring at an empty screen for thirty minutes and only writing ten words but it WILL get easier. Eventually your brain will learn.
- Try to always write in the same place. For me this helps because this space has become my ‘writing’ space and my brain associates it with writing. As time went on, it became easier and easier to write in that space, even when I wasn’t feeling like it.
- Don’t wait for inspiration. Inspiration, to me, isn’t a real thing. Inspiration can sometimes trigger the first idea that starts a project but once you’re writing a story, inspiration wanes. During the nitty gritty aspect of writing a story, there will be ‘boring’ spots, challenging spots, bits that make you groan because you’d rather be writing about explosions and excitement but those ‘quiet’ bits are equally important to a story and it’s OK to be bored by them. But you can’t let that feeling stop you from working. Inspiration has its place but it shouldn’t make or break your writing.
- Don’t wait for passive motivation. YOU can motivate YOURSELF. Motivation isn’t something that just happens, it’s something you have to create. Make the decision to write. Make the choice to write often.
If the above really doesn’t work for you, then maybe you’ll need another method but I know it worked for me, so give it a try.