How to Feel Like Writing Again

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We’ve all felt it at one time or another. The story loses its shine and you’re left with a half-completed story. Why does this happen, and how do you continue?

For a lot of writers, this is the mid-point of the story, but truly, it can happen at any point. I want to focus on something entirely different from “writer’s block”; this topic regards when you know what to write next, but you just don’t feel like doing so.

“Of course, motivation is not permanent. But then, neither is bathing; but it is something you should do on a regular basis.” – Zig Ziglar

The cursor blinks at you, nudging you to continue typing, but the combination of your eyes drooping and the itch to do something else feels overwhelming. You’ve already procrastinated enough today. Your bedroom can only be cleaned so many times, and you’ve already checked Facebook, Twitter, and your email twice in the past half-hour.

“Discipline is choosing between what you want now and what you want most.”

You’re a writer. You know how to get the job done; it’s the motivation that’s lagging. Let’s look at some different factors.

 

Your story no longer excites you
For me, this usually happens just on the other side of the midpoint, roughly 55% into the book. About then, I usually start envying short story writers. It’s when the thrill of the beginning and even the spike of the midpoint event wears off, and I have to begin laying the ground work for the finale, but it’s not yet to the exciting build-up for the ending climax.

Wherever it normally happens for you (and it could change from story to story), it can be a trial. Why does it happen? Here are a few possibilities:

  • You’ve already thought of the next story, and you’re more interested in starting the new one than finishing the current one
  • You hit a plot snag and aren’t looking forward to unraveling it
  • You realize that your story idea might not be as interesting as you thought it was
  • Self-doubt creeps in
  • Life got in the way of writing, and you’re not as emotionally connected
  • Something as simple as: it’s just not new and shiny anymore

The first one gets me every time.

To remedy many of the above, you could take a short break from writing to read your story from the beginning as if it was a finished product. Oftentimes, that brings about the romance for writing this particular piece again.

Whenever I daydream about the next project, I jot down all my ideas onto a pad of paper, but I promise myself not to start writing it until the current project is finished. That way, I have a treasure trove of tidbits to work on by the time I do transition.

Also, take a look at your writing schedule. If you wait until you have 4 hours+ to write, try writing more often but in smaller chunks. It could be your method of attack that’s holding you back.

“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Rohn

Mainly for me, I had to come to grips with the concept that at some point in the book, it would be a chore to continue. Perhaps other authors aren’t this way, but that’s how I operate. I had to wean myself from the mysticism that I have to be in constant love with a story to write it. 100% of the time, when I go back to polish what I had to prod myself to finish, the magic is there again.

Whether you reluctantly write and later polish with passion, or you passionately write and later reluctantly polish, in the end, the reader can’t tell the difference. Either way, a quality product is completed. But if you wait for passion to do anything, the project will likely get done much, much later.

“What I adore is supreme professionalism. I’m bored by writers who can write only when it’s raining.” -Noel Coward

 

Just plain don’t feel like it
To me, this is another thing altogether. This could be due to some of the reasons above, but largely affected by mood, hunger, emotional state-of-mind, how restful I am, etc. Here are some things that I do to warm-up to writing when I don’t feel like it. In advance, don’t judge me.

  • I go into a different room (dependent on a portable writing apparatus). I read a study once that changing rooms resets the mind, but for whatever reason, it seems to help.
  • Reading some of what I wrote the day before to get me in the mood. This usually does the trick, for me.
  • I listen to music. In the Writer’s Toolbox, there are two of my favorite picks of music to listen to while I write.
  • I have a small spray bottle of water, and I occasionally spray myself in the face. This is used when I am tempted to curl over my laptop and take a nap. This is the “don’t judge me part,” if you were wondering. So, yes, my methods for staying awake is the same as the punishment for your cat for eating the houseplant.

Similar to what I mentioned in the last section, usually when I don’t feel like writing, I do it anyway. There are a few times that I succumb, but I usually remind myself that people can’t tell their boss that they don’t feel like working, which is something Janci Patterson also mentioned in my interview with her.

 

Conclusion
Everyone has a different method. All these suggestions might work for you, or perhaps none of them will. The key is to experiment with what motivates you to write, so that you can get one step closer to your writerly goals.

 

Be sure to stop by the Writer’s Toolbox for free, useful tools that no author should go without. Image courtesy of CollegeDegrees360 via Flickr, Creative Commons.

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92 thoughts on “How to Feel Like Writing Again”

  1. There aren’t many genuinely helpful writing blogs- they are often a bit airy-fairy/ wishy washy. But this one definitely is- it is the best one i’ve found so far. I especially love your ‘under the microscope’ posts- super helpful and full of genuine insight- no gushing insincerities!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Isyred. I appreciate that. It’s interesting that you mentioned that because I noticed the same thing about the sort of blogs you mentioned. Often times, it’s the same blog recycled across many different websites. Not that mine are perfect, but I do try to create original material that I feel would be helpful for the newer writer.

      I’m glad you find UtM helpful. It takes a good chunk of time to write those compared to other series, but I hope the usefulness of them outweighs that.

      Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. This was wonderful and very needed. I have a 99% finished novel that i just cant seem to get interested in again. I will try some of your suggestions. I have lost intetest in it but not the subject matter itself. I think i am not doing justice to the subject which involves Civil War, slavery and that era. Im trying to figure out how i can make the story say what i want to say. Its been an uphill battle.

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  3. Good post! I am stuck between two books I’m writing. Most of what you have written is known by every writer, but it is refreshing to read it again. I’m really glad I saw your post; perhaps it will get me moving again…or maybe I’ll open a vein and…LOL.
    Thanks for a terrific post!

    Like

  4. love the face-spraying strategy to stay awake. I spray water in my dog’s face when he is acting up so could equally turn the bottle on my own face when I start to get the afternoon droops!!

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  5. Oh this is gold, the line about discipline especially.

    What I want NOW is to sleep, but what I want MOST is to not get my arse fired, to spend time with my family, to maintain my fitness, and write my damned novel. I just need to rig up the spray gun to fire every ten minutes and wake me up…

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  6. Reblogged this on Everything Indie and commented:
    Every author experiences “writer’s block,” or a disenchantment with what what he or she is working on. Here is the Post-of-the-Month on “A Writer’s Path” with some ways of looking at and dealing with this problems, including some handy quotes to consider. I suspect the wisdom provided here is better than what I do: procrastinate.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, I don’t seem to have any problem with getting motivated. I’m working on three books at the moment, have just completed three last year and am trying to keep up with the blog. My problem is time!! But I do like your advice!
    Thanks for the likes on my Opher’s World blog. Much appreciated. It is encouraging. Best wishes Opher.

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  8. Well written and useful. I employ many of these to kickstart myself. I’d like add the coffee shop. I can always get it going there for some reason. Again probably the drastic change of environment and habit.

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  9. No judgment about the spray bottle. The ends definitely justify the means there! For me, the self-doubt deflates the whole project. Case in point: right now, I have a detailed outline (5000 words) that I’m starting to believe might benefit from some major surgery. I’d make my change if I were sure the revision would make an improvement, but that’s the dilemma and I start to ask myself if I’m really cut out for fiction. Thanks for the articles! Love that you aren’t just regurgitating Writer’s Digest.

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  10. Reblogged this on ARHtistic License and commented:
    All artists have days when they just don’t feel it. Thank you to guest blogger Ryan Lanz of A Writer’s Path for strategies to get you back in the mood.

    Like

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