Sometimes we don’t feel like sitting in front of the screen, pouring our heart and thoughts into our writing. And when we force ourselves to write anyways, we just stare at a blank page while the clock ticks away relentlessly.
Welcome to the world of writer’s block!
I suffer from writer’s block regularly—I don’t seem to be made to write with the same productivity and motivation every day. And that’s often quite okay.
But when the deadline is breathing down your neck, you don’t have the luxury to cut yourself some slack—so what to do?
I’ve compiled a list of the top six things that can help you get into the writing mood—or flow, zone, matrix, or whatever you like calling it.
I last updated this article on April 6, 2023.
1. Start off easy
The thing is, once you are writing, things will often happen on their own accord: Sentences emerge, paragraphs form and witty puns weave themselves into context. But it isn’t always easy to shift into this trance-like state.
Yet, when you begin your writing session with the most challenging part, you probably won’t get much done. So instead, try to find something simple or something you could write about quickly.
For example, the hardest part for some to come up with is the beginning of a text, the introduction. You could start somewhere in the middle, where you feel confident enough to develop some decent paragraphs and start typing. Then, at the very end, you write your introduction part, which will then be much easier!
It doesn’t matter how you do it—the reader won’t know how you wrote, and I’m sure nobody even cares if you write your articles from bottom to top or in mirror writing.
Be kind to yourself and let it flow
Another possibility is to jot down your ideas in keywords and sentence fragments. Type what comes to your mind, try to let it flow, and don’t set yourself any boundaries; in this early stage of writing, everything is allowed! Be bold, exaggerate, make a few jokes, and add lots of grammar mistakes. Bye-bye, bad writing mood!
Once you’ve poured everything you want to say out of your brain and onto your screen, you can start getting everything into reasonable shape: Create sentences, correct your mistakes, make your jokes smoother, etc.
2. Create your ideal writing space
Surround yourself with things that inspire you or let you feel calm. You may even change your environment: Maybe you need absolute silence, or maybe you concentrate best while sitting in a cafe, sipping a cappuccino, and hearing peoples’ chatter.
If you’re the type of person who can’t concentrate while the waste bin next to them is starting to resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa, take the time to clean up!
Remove all unnecessary clutter from your workspace; while you’re cleaning up, you may get into a calmer state of mind.
3. Listen to music or embrace the silence
While it is said that we can concentrate best while listening to music without singing, this can be entirely different for you. Here, you have to experiment to know what works for you.
I like listening to game soundtracks—they’re usually very
- Sooner or later, my head would start bobbing, and I’d sing along. Bye-bye concentration!
- You can imagine how hard it would be to concentrate while some metal dude screams into your ears that he wants to drag some virgins into purgatory.
It could also be worth trying to work without music. Maybe you’ll discover that this is the best solution for you. Like I said: experiment!
4. Set yourself writing goals and reward yourself for accomplishing them
When your writing project is big enough, try to split the process into manageable steps. These could be finding ideas, researching, creating a draft version, finding good headlines, editing your text, etc.
Every time you accomplish an objective, you may reward yourself with chocolate or an episode of your favorite TV series.
Additionally, plan when you want to finish each task. Doing this is extremely helpful in understanding how to spend your time wisely.
Write your to-dos into your calendar or to-do list to keep track of your progress and appreciate your journey!
5. Recall your mission
Many of us can’t do things when we don’t know why we’re doing them.
Why are you writing? For whom are you writing?
Was it your idea to write, or did somebody set you up? Do you want to help people understand your favorite topics?
Sometimes we forget our mission and must remember it to get motivated again. You could write your ‘Why’ on a Post-it and stick it on your monitor or any other place where you’ll see it regularly.
If you can’t find motivation from within you, you have to get it from the outside: Are there readers waiting for your articles? Have you promised your team to write the documentation?
Knowing what motivates you is vital in many aspects of your life. If you can’t commit to doing stuff for yourself, you need to find external motivators to push you ahead and lead you back into a good writing mood.
6. Supply yourself with inspiration
Go ahead, open a new browser window, and visit your favorite blogs, newspapers, magazines, or documentation.
Read stuff written by others; if you want to write a tutorial, look up tutorials from people you like and see what they’re doing and how they’re doing it.
Are you writing documentation for your API? Look up documentation from companies you think did a good job. Then, again, see how they explain things and why it’s so helpful.
At some point, those writers had to sit at their desks and start typing just like you do now. They’re also suffering from writer’s block from time to time. Plus, it doesn’t matter if you think you’re not as good at writing
By doing this, you’ll hopefully remember why you want to write (see Tip number 5). Seeing other people’s work may inspire you and bring you back into a productive writing mood.
Not in the writing mood or just making excuses?
Sometimes we just feel like not doing something. And sometimes, this is a feeling we can’t get rid of. I think we don’t have to force ourselves every time to do stuff nevertheless and instead invest this time to explore our sub-conscience to answer the question: What is holding me back right now?
I believe you’re well aware when you’re not able to hustle and when it’s just some excuse. And when it’s just an excuse not to write today because you’d rather spend time with your PS5, I hope those six tips on how to get into the writing mood help you bring your butt back on track.
What are your tips on getting into the writing mood? Got any secrets you may want to share? wink
Hello! I just wanted to say that I really appreciate this. I’ve been having so many issues with motivation and writer’s block when it comes to my stories and this really helped me get into the right mindset!
thanks for your lovely comment. I’m glad my article could help you – I wish you all the best in writing your stories!
thank you so much I’m not really a writer but more of a student and this was helpful because i had to finish some essays – but I’ll be sure to apply these tips!
Thanks, Miriam! I hope you were able to finish your essays quickly 🙂
I hope you and your family are well.
My name is Frederico Ferreira. I’m from Portugal. I’ve 35, I work as a cabin crew at Ryanair and I live in Maia, Oporto district.
I just wanted to say that I loved your article. I want to leave a comment because I know how frustrating it is to write an article such as this. That you’ve put all your love and care and then no-one comments. I also had blogs that I ended up eliminating because I had no followers or comments.
For a long time, I want to become a writer. I love to read so I figure I wanted to become a writer as well. I started to write at a young aged. But I never had any support so I never actually finished a story. My first obstacle was to choose a genre. I remember one of my first stories that I’ve written was like a horror story, then I thought I wanted to write science-fiction. Then, by the time of the success of GOT, I decided that I wanted to write fantasy. But what I ended up realizing was that what I really love is a good story of crime and whodunnit. Last year I gather like 170 A4 pages, about 50 000 words, far from the 90 000 words that the publishers like. These 170 pages are like a big collage of the stories I’ve written over the years. So I had to link them in some way. Then to have more words I had to create more characters, so I started to base my story on the tv show Desperate Housewives and in Duncan Whitehead’s The Gordonston Ladies Dog Walking Club. Now I’m trying to write a mix between “cozy” crime whodunnit and police procedurals. I have already had the victim, the murderer, the possible suspects, the red hearing in my head, but now every time I try to write on the computer I freeze. It’s like I don’t any motivation in me. Anyway, I liked your article and maybe your tips will help me. Well, at least you’ve put me in the writing mode. After this, you’ve got me thinking. Should I write my story in English. It should be more challenging and therefore more motivating.
Thank you very much.
Thank you for your comment and for sharing your writing story with me!
Unfortunately, I don’t know much about creative writing and the processes involved, but I wish you all the best with your project and hope you achieve your goal. In any case, it sounds exciting!
Whether you should write in English or your native language – if you think the added challenge is motivating, why not? It’s not something to commit to either, is it?
Thank you again and take care!