As if thinking about things worthy enough to “put down on paper” wasn’t hard enough, simply getting into the mood to conjure up and write those things is a difficult task.
Like all things, the mood to write comes and goes, and can be strong at times and a non-existent struggle at others.
How to Get Into the Writing Mood
All of that said, there are a few tips and tricks that are helpful in setting a writing mindset.
1. Just start writing
One of the best writing mood boosters is to just start doing it.
Writing is like exercising in that regard—many people aren’t ever really in the mood to exercise, but they push themselves to do it every day because they know they have to, or because it’s a goal they’ve set for themselves.
Then, once those first few steps on the treadmill are taken, or the first few reps with that weight are curled, mood changes, you settle in, and the rest is history.
With writing, it’s much of the same. Especially for those of us who write in “off hours” – whether it’s on a lunch break, or late at night or early in the morning – you’re rarely going to be in the mood to write because you’d rather be doing other things like eating or sleeping. But, once you get going, the sense of accomplishment takes over.
2. Review your wins
If you aren’t in the mood to write, take a minute to look at and review your wins. If you’re a blogger, perhaps that’s your site’s analytics and seeing how much traffic your last few blogs produced, and if you’re an author, it could be a positive review you received on your last title.
It really depends on your motivations. If you’re financially motivated, perhaps it’s seeing how much money your last piece of writing generated, or the thinking that, if you can just get this done, you’ll have x amount of dollars waiting for you at the end or soon.
Either way, the trick is to exchange the thought of “Ugh, I really don’t want to write right now” with if I can do this, I’ll be rewarded.
3. Review your losses
Again, each of these tips will speak louder to some than others, and not all are meant to be consumed and acted on at the same time. One day you might be motivated by one type of mood booster, and the next day that same motivator falls flat.
So, to go with the above, perhaps today it’s reviewing your losses or failures, and sparking the competitive nature that “hey, I can do better than this” is what you need to get back into writing.
4. Don’t over plan/think
If you’re not in the mood to write, then you’re probably not going to be in much of a mood to plan to write either.
Meaning, if you need to write a blog post and you aren’t in the mood to do so, researching a topic is the worst. Or maybe it’s the thought that it’s not only the writing that needs to be done but the formatting, finding the images, linking, etc. that is getting you down.
So again, just start a brain dump, and let your words and thoughts about those words guide the exercise, and try to not be steered in the wrong direction by the many other thoughts that can get in the way.
5. Don’t exhaust your ideas and words
You’ve probably heard a version of this elsewhere and in other scenarios, but one good way to get in the mood to write is to be able to seamlessly pick up where you left off versus having to start from scratch every session.
So, that could mean writing half of a blog post, and even though you could push yourself to finish it in that sitting, stopping and then letting yourself pick it up the next time around.
It really comes down to personal workflow and circumstance. If you need to finish a project because of a deadline, then obviously this tip won’t do much for you. But, if you can take a break from the actual writing and then shift your time and focus to another aspect, like research or illustrations, or finding imagery instead, then give it a shot.
6. Schedule a designated writing time
Many writers are “on the side” writers, meaning they write then they have time, which leads to sporadic sessions here and there.
Speaking from experience, this is tough because after a long day of work or school, free time comes at a premium, and sometimes you want to do nothing more than just relax and turn your brain off.
What helps, though, is scheduling a designated writing time. It could be when you first wake up or last thing you do before you go to bed; or on a lunch break, etc.
Scheduling a time ensures you find the time to write, and forces you to get in the mood of doing so, but just as important, it allows you to not feel like you have to use every minute of free time to write. It’s a feeling you can easily fall victim to if you’re wedging in writing time and spinning your wheels, and then feeling like you need to wedge in more time later because you weren’t productive the first time around.
7. Work on multiple projects at once
This goes a bit with the above regarding not exhausting yourself in one sitting, but one thing that might work for you is working on multiple writing projects at once.
Meaning, it can be a challenge to get into the mood to write when you know you have to pump out 1,000 words on a particular topic. But what if you were faced with 500 words on one topic and 500 words on another, or even more spread out than that and say 250 words on four different pieces?
250 words is doable, right? And even though you have to do it four times, there is something about allowing your brain to switch topics that helps get you in the flow.
Hopefully these writing mood boosters help you get going! As a victim of some of the same hurdles, I personally subscribe to scheduling a morning writing time, and allowing myself to jump around to different projects. Would love to hear about your challenges and tips.