How to Keep Writing When Writing Is the Last Thing You Wanna Do

13-04-26 Lilac Garden-27

Ah, the writer’s life. We get up in the morning sunshiny and happy. We most definitely did not stay up all night writing so the intense need for coffee is just us pretending. 😉 Anyway, back to the morning routine. We get up and our children totally cooperate with us. We get them off to school, preschool, or the playroom and retreat to our beautiful offices that look just like Oprah’s and commence writing. Five thousand words later, we’ve had no interruptions and we stand up and stretch. How happy and satisfied we feel!

Unfortunately, this was a dream I had last night and not at all based in reality. Reality? Kids cough all night and get up super grouchy because they’ve had no sleep at all. School is cancelled or delayed due to extreme temperatures. There’s no milk for coffee (insert me on my knees in the kitchen, wailing) or breakfast of any sort. Kids want to watch Milo and Otis…again. The house is trashed and everyone is in a bad mood. Now, that’s more like it!

Over the past few months, I’ve had to figure out ways to get myself into the writing mood even when it’s the last thing I want to do. Here are a few of the things that have helped me.

~ Clean up your office space. My office doubles as my bedroom. After two illnesses in a row, it was trashed. Every time I walked in the room, all I could see were piles of laundry, a stack of books and papers that had been knocked over and spread all over the place by my children and a desk covered in empty cups. I’m terrible about returning things to the kitchen. Just terrible. I finally bit the bullet, ignored the rest of the messy house and cleaned my office/bedroom. I can think in there now! My word count immediately got better once I had a comfortable, distraction-free place to work.

~ Another thing I’ve found helpful is using essential oils. Though I’ve been using them for twenty years, I’d never used them to help me write. I’ve found that diffusing (my son calls it confusing) certain combinations help me tame my ADHD and get down to writing. Plus, the whole room smells amazing.

~ Music. I like to create a playlist for everything I’m working on and while I don’t always listen to that particular playlist when I write, it helps me when I’m stuck. Half of my writing friends are writing to the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack. It really is great for writing and cleaning.

~ Pinterest. I know, I know. Pinterest is a massive time suck. Luckily, I’ve developed a tiny bit of self-discipline and I can open Pinterest without falling into a wormhole. I just go straight to my inspiration board for whatever I’m writing. I do this before I start writing every day. It helps me get into the character’s headspace.

~ Sprints. Once I realized that I didn’t have to write for four hours in a row, my writing life changed. I started sprinting during April 2014’s Camp NaNo and quickly realized how well it worked for me.

~ My writing group, The 10 Minute Novelists, is undertaking a huge project this year. We are on teams aiming to write 1,000 words a day. While it’s still early in the year, being involved with this has already made huge difference for me. With one exception, I have exceeded my goal every day for 12 days. The teams are motivating and I really enjoy sprinting with my friends and teammates every night.

Those are just a few of the methods I use for getting in the writing zone. My number one tip? Butt in chair. Put your butt in the chair and sit down in front of the computer and write.

5 thoughts on “How to Keep Writing When Writing Is the Last Thing You Wanna Do

  1. The Guardians of the Galaxy music is pretty awesome. And I, too, look at my novel’s Pinterest board to get in the right frame of mind. Good tips! And I’ve managed to get quite a few words in this morning despite the big kids having a 2-hour delay!


  2. Great methods! I especially related to the one about the space — my office/bedroom/living space is all combined (I have a room in a house with other people, so my room is kind of like a very small loft, with a separate kitchen) so it get cluttered very easily. A little order can make such a HUGE difference.
    Also, just a note, I discovered that marshmallows can serve as a sort of creamer/sugar combined for coffee… in a pinch. 😉


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