It’s not your fault.
There are days where you’ll want to just watch cat videos and Netflix instead of writing.
Feeling this way is completely normal.
Every single writer on the planet feels like this at times.
So what can you do about it? (I highly recommend not throwing your computer, even if you want to.)
1. Talk it out.
There are many voice dictation software apps you can use. One of the best is Dragon Dictation (free for iOS and Android). Is it perfect? No, it’s not. But it can be handy. I wrote a good portion of this book using this approach. It definitely works. So if you’ve got a commute, instead of listening to music, now you can listen to the sound of your own sweet voice fill the page.
If you have a Mac, there is a built-in voice to text feature.
Just go to System Preferences and click the Dictation & Speech option. (The OS here is El Capitan)
Then make sure it is set up like this.
Next, open your word processor and hit the Fn key twice. A little microphone should pop up and then…
Pretty awesome, right? To insert a period, just say, “period.” Give it a shot.
2. Hit the road.
A change of scenery can do wonders. Instead of working at your desk, go to the coffee shop. Go to the library. If the weather is nice, write outdoors. You need that vitamin D! This will also give you a mental energy boost. And it’s better for you than that 10th cup of coffee.
Writers–myself included–often spend too much time alone. You have to interact with other people in REAL life, not just the ones in your head.
If you’d like you can consider this permission to listen in to any conversations you hear. This is a great way to become better at writing dialogue.
3. Write anyways.
This is what separates the real writers from the amateurs. Maybe you feel you have nothing to say. In most of those cases, it is really just fear and you need to get your thoughts down on paper. Have an “inspiration file” or Spark File filled with prompts and ideas. Copy out a chapter or two of a book that you admire. There are a million ways to get the creative ball rolling.
Even just a few words on the page is better than nothing. Morning pages by Julia Cameron is a great way to get into the “write anyways” habit.
4. Watch a movie.
You have to be careful with this one, or you’ll find yourself spending hours on Netflix. Some writers are more visual, so watching a movie can be a good way to get the creative juices flowing. Here’s the catch: If you’re going to do this, you’ve GOT TO TAKE NOTES.
No mindless vegging on the couch. You must stay engaged and keep your mind moving, okay?
5. Listen to music.
There’s something incredible about music that can move you in ways that even words can’t express. Since creativity often leads to more creativity, why not give your favorite record a spin? It’s a simple way to find some inspiration.
But here’s the VERY BEST way…
In my experience, the BEST way to write when you don’t feel like it is to have some accountability.
Let’s face it–when you set a deadline, and there is no consequence for breaking it, you are much more likely to let the deadline slip.
This nasty habit completely destroys your confidence.
Soon you start to wonder if you can ever finish anything.
When you have rock-solid support and accountability, you suddenly have extra momentum around your writing.
To help with this, I offer my coaching services. But what is coaching, really? Is there a secret cheer, chant or handshake? Nope. None of those. I simply give you insight, feedback and steps you can take to keep moving forward. For example, I’ve been sending 5-minute writing assignments to one client and the results have been fantastic. Five minutes of writing is much, much better than zero minutes!
My coaching has one goal: to help you get words on the page so you can finish your writing project(s).
Do you have any tips for what you do when you don’t feel like writing? I’d love to hear them. Please share in the comments below.