Dragging Yourself to Pen & Paper When You Don't Feel Like Writing
Making ourselves sit down to write can be a bit of a chore, especially when we have a history of not knowing what to write. And it’s easy for our enthusiasm for writing to falter.
When words don’t flow right, when we try and try to come up with a good enough plot, one that’s complex and unique enough, but nothing good really comes out, we start to think: what’s the point? Every time we sit down to write, we barely make progress. Why do we keep putting ourselves through the torture?
But—and this is huge—there’s an important element to the word “barely”. It means that we ARE making progress.
Every time we sit down to write and get some words on the page, we’re making progress. We’re getting somewhere. If we keep at it, we’ll get to where we want to go.
Each baby step we take gets us that much closer to achieving our writing goals and the writing success we want. It may not look like a lot when we write a few hundred words per day, but over a year, even a month, that adds up to a lot.
There’s no excuse for not getting at least one book written this year. Thousands of writers write 50,000 words (and more!) in one single month every year. Of course that doesn’t always mean those are 50,000 good words, but who cares? Aren’t 50,000 mediocre words better than no words at all because you’re too overwhelmed by the task of writing a novel? Just edit it into a polished manuscript and you’re good to go.
We have to stop looking at each individual word and start seeing the outcome over a span of time if we keep getting those words on the page.
We also need to be clear about why we want to write. Feeling that urge to write just isn't motivating enough for most writers. Does it motivate you?
We need a bit more to work with. Why do you want to write? What do you want to accomplish? What are the benefits you want to achieve?
Take, for instance, a fitness program. My husband and I committed to doing P90X. We don't have any weight to lose, but we both have some flab and I want some muscle strength. I'm not doing it because I enjoy the workout. I'm doing it because of the results I want. It takes both of us to motivate the other and to keep our end goals in mind.
Working out is a nuisance. It cuts into my writing time. But I'm doing it because of the results I want at the end of the 90 days. (By the way, if you're thinking about starting P90X, it definitely works!)
If we are to write, we must take a similar approach. Focus on your goals. What do you refuse to lose?
Dwelling about how little time we have to write won’t get us any farther along down the road to writing success. Nothing good ever comes from dwelling. It just holds us back from being the great writers we are.
So, learning to drag yourself to pen and paper, even when you don’t feel like it, will have exponential benefits.
Make it a habit by being consistent for a minimum of three weeks. Even when those three weeks are over, keep dragging yourself to the chair, keeping showing up. Just get it done.
The beauty of a first draft is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. When you’re writing your novel, writing down the bones, getting your words down, you don’t have to get it right. You can just focus on getting the words on the page.