Now, I know. I’m one of the biggest advocates for mental health day, take it. Take care of you so that you can take care of everything else, but there comes a point when one can take too many “mental health days.”
It’s really not that hard to do. You sit down, look at your WIP, blog…whatever…and think. I’m not feeling it today. I’m just going to sit and watch some television, or something. Next thing you know it’s a week later and you’ve managed to plow through all twenty some odd episodes of the newest season of Supernatural and have maybe written one word in your
Yeah, been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt.
I’m the queen of procrastination at this point and there’s no denying it. So, that’s why I’m thinking that it’s high time to get my ass in the chair and sit down and write.
This WIP isn’t going to publish itself and it sure as hell ain’t gonna hit book shelves by collecting dust on my hard drive. Not to mention, I really want this book to be published. So, without further ado, here’s a couple of tried and true methods that have gotten me to get that writing done is May.
1. Stick to a Schedule
It’s been said before, and it’ll be said again. If you stick to a schedule, your mind and body will eventually get used to doing whatever it is that’s supposed to be done, pretty much on autopilot. It’s like going to your regular 9-5, you clock in and you automatically get to work. You may stare at the building for a couple of minutes and wish it was on fire, kind of, not really, but eventually you do get to work. It’s all automated responses with what you do and how you do it and sometimes, if your lucky to have that sort of job, it’s just routine. You know what to expect at what time of day. Getting yourself into writing is no different. If you do it regularly enough your mind and body eventually turns to autopilot and there’s nothing else to it.
2. Writing Rituals:
The same with a routine, having certain rituals that you do right before a tasks usually helps trigger your mind and your attention and cues it in on what is to happen next. Mine at the moment is waiting until near 8 o’clock at night and making myself a hot cup of coffee, pull out my writing notepad and bringing up some video game play through on youtube. I’m not arguing with whatever happens to get the creative juices flowing, and it’s working for now.
Yours could be putting on some kind of background noise, cozying up in a special spot, and tapping out those words, or maybe you need to be at a coffee shop with all the people making noise. It don’t matter, figure out what works for you and stick to it.
3. Plan out the words
Maybe part of the problem is you don’t know what to write. You’re staring at that page and wondering and coming up blank on what to do next. Try outlining a little in advance. I hear some of you pantsers out there groaning at the moment, but it helps. Really.
Not saying you have to outline the entire book, maybe just a scene or two. Maybe just this particular chapter, and next thing you know you’re pushing out the next chapter and the next. Sometimes you just need to brainstorm ideas and get an idea of where the story is going before the words will come.
4. Tap it out for 10-minutes
So you’ve got your schedule. You’ve followed your rituals that get you into the mood of writing, and you’ve got something of an outline and….you’re still staring at the screen not feeling up to writing even a word. Okay, that’s fine. It happens. Maybe you’ve got twenty other things demanding your attention. School, kids, words, etc.
We’ve all got responsibilities. We all have days where we really just want to throw in the towel and watch that next Supernatural episode. It’s to be expected in this day and age and that’s fine, but you still got to stick to that writing schedule. I mean, you’ve planned it, right? You’re in front of the computer staring at the screen anyways, right? So why not just tap out ten minutes of words. That’s it. Anyone can spare ten minutes, and if you’re still not feeling after ten minutes that’s fine. You’ve written a hundred some odd words and made some form of progress on your WIP. Now you can carry on with your day and not feel guilty about not writing a word.
5. Join writing sprints
This is one of those where you kinda have to put yourself out there and actually talk to people. Joining other writers in writing sprints, even if it’s just through Twitter or Facebook is some how inspiring in that you know there are others pushing through this writing journey with you. Having a sense of community can go along way in inspiring someone into writing out those words. Sometimes that includes screaming into the void that you are doing writing springs, and hoping for the best. Other times you happen across them on social media and get this tiny thrill when you find that they are timed. Best place I’ve found is on twitter. Just type in the #writingsprints and see what comes up.
6. Seek out motivation
This one sounds a bit counter productive and can go really bad, but it’s worked for me on occasion so it’s worth a mention. Try seeking out other writer’s journey, vlogs, blogs. Whatever suits your mood. For whatever reason whenever I watch other writers get excited about their progress makes me really want to work on my on WIP and hit those mile stones. Like I said, this can go bad in that you could find yourself down the youtube rabbit hole of youtube videos and it’s suddenly two in the afternoon and you’ve written nothing. So, set a timer. Give yourself a cut off time to watch a couple of videos and then get back to your own work. Remember, you’re supposed to be achieving your own goals, not watching others live the life.
7. Hold yourself accountable
This is a big one. Especially for those of us who don’t have editors, or agents expecting something back in a certain amount of time and so can diddle-daddle until the end of time and it wouldn’t hurt anyone but yourself.
Make up your own deadlines and hold yourself to them. Best way you can do this is by finding a writing buddy that you can check in with daily, or once a week. Whatever works for you. Just find someone that won’t have a problem breathing down your neck and demand that you get those words in and vise versa. These writing friendships are a two way street and you need to hold your buddy accountable as well. If you can’t find someone then maybe you could start up a blog, or vlog, much like what I’ve done and keep up with weekly posts on what you’ve achieved,or haven’t achieved. Somtimes just admitting to yourself that you’ve failed to meet your own goals can get you moving to try harder next week. Remember, we’re our own worse critics.
So there you have it. Seven whole tips on how to get your ass in that chair to write. They’ve helped me make progress in my WIP and I hope they help you as well.
Until next time!