How Do You Write Even When You Don’t Want To?

When you write for anything more than your own personal pleasure, or on any kind of schedule, you’ll run into days where your desire to write wanes. For whatever reason (lack of sleep, crazy children, worry, stress, another job) your creativity just doesn’t want to turn itself on and you feel like you feel like you have to drag the words out of yourself.

This isn’t a bad thing. Everyone has off days. The trick isn’t to have no off days at all (which is impossible) but to learn how to use those inevitable off days to make yourself into a better writer.

#1-Recognize the Tension: Feel the tension in your chest. Note the tight feeling, the reluctance to create that’s inside you. Acknowledge it. Call it for what it is. You don’t have to figure out what it is, whether fear, tiredness, or stress, because there’s a whole host and medley of things it could be. Your job isn’t to zero in on it, just the fact that you have it. And once you acknowledge that fact to yourself…

#2-Release the Tension: Just like we relax a muscle by making a conscious decision to let it go slack, we can make a conscious decision to relax mentally. Once you’ve found the tension, just…let it go. Relax. Acknowledge it and move on. Instead of putting our reluctance into handcuffs and a straight-jacket and forcing it, we simply release it.

We make it a choice not to let it rule our writing, and simply…Relax.

So the next time you sit down at your laptop and stare at the cursor with that tension in your chest, and then decide to check your inbox real fast (while you ‘think about the structure of your piece’), which leads you to a link on how to improve your writing, which suggests a really cool website and then suddenly it’s late afternoon and you’ve written nothing…just feel the tension, even savor it, then let it go and begin.

I feel this reluctance especially when I’m writing a humor piece for some newspaper: the tension, the reluctance to begin, the nervous fluttering inside my chest. I have to consciously make myself  relax or it ruins my writing flow, with the tension bleeding over into my piece and making everything come out strained and out of sorts.

But when I relax and just let it go and begin, the flow returns and my voice emerges loud and strong. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, relaxation is a massive key to success. The very first thing a voice instructor teaches their students is the importance of relaxing the voice, and it’s no different with writing. Relaxing, letting the tension go, lets the power and passion of your writing come through.

So acknowledge and then release that tension inside you. Then simply write, with nothing impeding you. It’s an amazing feeling for a writer.


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