Okay, writing time… I’ll just make myself a green smoothie and then…oh, maybe I should put in a load of laundry…now, I’ll just sit down and…oh, wow, it looks like it might rain. I’ll just take that bike ride first… huff,puff, puff…Now I’ll just sit down to write and…oh, the phone. Better get it. It could be Oprah wondering how my book is coming along…Okay, that was a huge time waste, but now to get down to wr…Doorbell?Are you kidding me?
Much of the time, the difficulty in sitting down to write comes from the pressure we place on ourselves to write something brilliant. Just yesterday, I had set aside time to write and found myself dwindling it away. I picked raspberries, rode my bike, meditated–all productive activities, but not writing. I whined to my husband that I hadn’t written all morning. “Just sit down for 15 minutes and write a little.”
15 minutes? I could do that. I did. It turned into over an hour. When my husband came in the room to talk with me, I told him I was on a roll and could not talk!
Here are 5 tips to help you write when you’re not feeling like it:
1. Write Crummy: Commit to writing a crummy first draft, to paraphrase Anne Lamott. Take off the pressure. You can make it amazing later when you edit.
2. Make it Brief: Write for 15 minutes as my husband suggested. You can always write more if you are on a roll.
3. Remember Your Vision: I always have writers develop a vision statement for a book or project. Read it every time you sit down to write. It will put you back in touch with your passion around the subject and help you stay motivated when you remember WHY you are writing. You can read it every morning and night, too, for extra credit and extra inspiration.
4. Be Accountable: Call a friend and say you’re gong to write for the next 20 -30 minutes. Ask your friend to hold you accountable. Ideally, this would be something you would discuss with them ahead of time to make sure they are comfortable in this role. Find someone who is both firm and supportive.
5. Recharge: If you’re tired, go for a walk in nature, meditate or take a bubble bath. Do something to refresh and replenish you, so you can come to the writing with energy.
Lisa Tener is an award-winning book writing coach who assists writers in all aspects of the writing process—from writing a book proposal and getting published to finding one’s creative voice. Her clients have appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, CBS Early Show, The Montel Williams Show, CNN, Fox News, New Morning and much more. They blog on sites like The Huffington Post, Psychology Today and WebMD.
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