I recently took a bit of a hiatus. An unplanned one that lasted about four months. I got snowed under with other things and I lost the habit of writing every day that I’d carefully cultivated for the past two years. Yes, it really can disappear that quickly.
But I knew it was time to start writing again. And I knew what to write. But I didn’t have the desire to write it. I even wondered how I’d ever managed to actually finish a book in the first place.
Well, I’m over that now. I think I’m loving writing more than I ever have before. Like with most things, the key’s getting started. Sometimes though, you really have to force yourself. Here’s five tips to do so that helped me.
Limit reading/television time.
On my holiday last week I only read one book! Normally I can get through at least one a day. Why? For the same reason I’ve resisted the urge to buy a Netflix subscription. I know all too well that either of those things will stop me writing.
Some of you are probably gasping in horror at the thought of no Netflix, or only reading one book a week. Maybe you manage to write 2000 words a day and still fit those things in. I can’t. I can barely write 1000 words a day without doing them. But the point really is that to find the time to write you’ll likely have to sacrifice something else.
This one is a bit easier! Tell yourself that if you do half an hour you can have that coffee or that chocolate chip cookie. Or both!
Or how about if you get 1000 words a day in for a week you’ll take yourself to see a movie, or buy yourself a takeaway?
Trick your brain
Often we know we should write but we’d rather do something less taxing (like read or watch Netflix). Try setting a timer for ten minutes in which to write, and afterwards you can do that other thing. You’ll probably find you end up writing for much longer. Even if you don’t, you still did ten minutes, which is better than nothing!
Start researching agents/publishers.
This is a bit of a controversial one. Most writers will tell you not to start looking for an agent or a publisher until you’ve polished your manuscript to perfection. Well, I say don’t contact an agent or publisher until then. But I don’t see any harm in researching them and making a list of possibilities. If you do it properly then it’s a very time consuming process anyway. And many want different things from you. I find planning whom to send my novel to when it’s completed keeps me motivated. It reminds me of my goal in writing it. Just be careful it doesn’t tempt you to rush.
If you’re planning to self publish then I’ve heard making a start on the cover art can have a similar effect.
Create a nice atmosphere.
Like most people at the moment, I’m a bit in to hygge. There’s no need to be a martyr to your writing. Make sure your desk/dining table/sofa is a nice place to sit with things like greenery and pictures. Make a pot of tea or coffee, light a scented candle, snuggle in a blanket! Or if it’s summer, grab a cocktail, go outside and put your feet up. Make sure you look forward to your writing time.
What do you do to get yourself writing when you don’t feel like it?