How To Write When You Don't Want To Write

October 03, 2013

Sometimes I don’t want to write. Like right now. I just don’t want to write. What I want to do is get a black vanilla nut coffee from the coffee shop in my old neighborhood and sit outside watching the couples on their mid-week lunch dates. But the shop probably doesn’t even have vanilla nut coffee today. Plus I vowed not to have coffee past 1pm. Sleeping problems. And I promised myself I would get a day ahead in writing. So I’m forcing myself to sit here until I finish writing this. Many writers and bloggers have editorial calendars and write posts days/weeks/months ahead of time. They schedule what they’re going to write about and when they’re going to write it so that they’re always caught up and never scrambling at the last minute for something to write about. It sounds like an unweighted life. Like a no-brainer. Like an avalanche of organization. Like something I’ve never been able to do. Each morning I wake up at 6am not knowing what I’m going to write about but knowing that I better write something and it better be posted by 10am. And it better be at least halfway decent, if not outstanding, funny, and thought provoking. Cue the franticness. This really is a very poor way of writing. Don’t do what I do. Do what the others do. Listen to me! Don’t. Do. What. I. Do. Are you listening? Because if you wait till the last minute to write, what are you going to do when you don’t feel like writing? Churn out something crappy? Skip writing that day? Drink five cups of coffee hoping brilliance will strike? Panic? Stress? Kick the dog? (No, I’ve never kicked Donald. But you might have an urge to.) In the rare case that you’ve waited until the last minute to write either because you didn’t listen to my hypocrisy or because you’re so much like me that we could be last-minute-unorganized soul mates, I have the solution for you. How to write when you don’t want to write
  1. Reach both fists into the air and shout, “I am going to write, right now!”
  2. Ok Rocky, now sit down. In your writing chair. I use a writing futon but you should use whatever surface it is that you normally write from.
  3. Drink two cups of coffee as you read three articles from three different sources on three different topics. Drink it while it’s hot. Don’t let it get cold. If it’s past 2pm skip the coffee part.
  4. What were the three articles about? Did any of them make you angry? Make you think? Make you agree or disagree? If not, then you picked the wrong articles. Try again.
  5. You have a favorite writer, yes? Someone who’s voice you love? Whose style you emulate? Read at least two of that person’s writings. I use James Altucher. He has no idea. Please don’t tell him.
  6. Read the article you wrote yesterday. What topic was it about? Cars? Ok. You can’t write about cars today. You have to pick something else.
  7. You’re getting closer. You’re getting in the flow. You’re feeling amped.
  8. Wait, you’re not? Ok. Just start writing. Start telling a story. Your story has to start with a conversation. Think of a conversation you had yesterday with someone. Maybe at the grocery store. Replay the conversation in your mind and then once you recall it fully, write it down. Use quotation marks and everything.
  9. Ok there! You did it! You just started writing! Now continue. Did that conversation make you think of something? Maybe it reminded you of how much you hate small talk. Write about that. Or maybe the conversation started with a handshake and the person’s handshake was weak and you hate weak handshakes. Write about that.
  10. So the conversation didn’t make you think of anything, you say? You’re still stuck? You hate my ideas and you hate my steps because they didn’t work?
Great. Now you definitely have something to write about—“Why Heather’s Writing Advice Sucks.” Now get to it, you little badass writer.

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