By Megan Malone
I’m willing to bet that every person that writes has had this feeling. You sit at your notebook, laptop, or typewriter and have a staring contest with your blank page. (It always seems to win). Whether it's for work, school, or fun, you think: this is the last thing I want to do right now.
If you are struggling, check all the aspects of WORD to get your groove back!
Why do you write?
It’s a big question, but nailing down your why can give you an excellent boost. This doesn’t have to be an earth-shattering reason. Something as simple as “writing is fun” or “the more I write, the more I’ll improve my craft” will do! Whatever the answer, hold it close and think of it whenever your writing feels lackluster.
What are you obsessed with?
History, animals, sports? Make sure you incorporate that into your writing! Writing about something you enjoy can make all the difference. For example, I am obsessed with wolves and dogs. Thus, I include them whenever possible (adding them into my short stories, writing informational essays about them for school). You can't always apply this strategy in the case of work, but it can help to do a short writing warm-up on your favorite topic to get started before the job at hand. No matter what your obsession is, find ways to pair it with writing!
Take a look at your writing schedule. Is it rigid and unforgiving? Or, perhaps you don’t have one. Both are valid options depending on several variables.
If your writing schedule puts unnecessary stress on your shoulders, try loosening it up and see if that helps. Allow yourself breaks to keep burnout at bay.
On the other hand, if you have no writing routine, sketch out an idea of what you want to get done and when. Deadlines can do miracles for some people (myself included)!
Additionally, are you growing bored with your writing? That might be a sign you need to freshen your routine! Give yourself room to explore and try something new, or let that massive project rest for a few days.
Discipline: the easiest, hardest, and most vital step. The truth is, you can’t wait to be motivated. You write anyway. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best writer in the world if you can’t get things done. Push through the discomfort and aim for progress. If you can do that, you’ll go far!
1. Remember that it’s normal to have ups and downs. Don’t get discouraged, and be easy on yourself! Slumps always pass.
2. The beginning is a massive hurdle for many people, so make it the easiest part. You can do this by setting goals. Easy ones. If you make a deal with yourself- “I’ll write 100 words today and be done”- then you start the snowball rolling. Taking a baby step is more obtainable than an overwhelming target. But, once you’ve sat down and begun, 100 words might grow into 200, then 300, and beyond!
3. Give yourself a carrot.
Metaphorically- I doubt the promise of a real carrot would be motivating.
Reward yourself for your work. If you write that page, you can watch an episode of your favorite show. If you write a bulk of your goal, you can take yourself out for ice cream. For every 10000 words you finish, you’ll buy yourself something you want. Simply putting a sticker on the calendar can help!
4. Get your blood flowing to get your brain flowing! Whether it’s yoga, a walk, or a 5-minute stretch break, being active can boost your serotonin levels and help you think more clearly.
When your pencil lays idle in your hands, your fingers hover over the keys, and writing feels like trudging through drying concrete- take a look at WORD. Why do you want to write? Can you add your obsession to fuel your inspiration? Is your routine working? And, finally, write despite the discomfort! You got this!