How To Write When You Don’t Feel Like Writing

Okay.

So, by now, you’ve noticed that the title of this blog is about writing without a muse. Sitting at your computer, laptop, etc., you are looking at these words and thinking, ‘now what?’

Yes, there are days when you just don’t feel like writing. You’re tired, you’re sick, you’ve been up all night playing on your PS4 or whatever, or watching a Game of Thrones marathon. But now you’ve got to write. You MUST.

What do you do?

You have three options:

  • Be crushed under the weight of your silent muse.
  • Play games or waste some time on your favored social media.
  • Throw your muse out the window, put your fingers to the keyboard, and start typing.
Well, you actually have more than three options, but for the sake of brevity, let’s stick to these three.
Ah, your ‘muse’ isn’t speaking. Oh, well, I guess you’re just a mindless drone who doesn’t actually have any talent for your craft, then, because ‘real’ writers WRITE. Write or die. Writing is a habit. (More on this later.) So, accept the fact that you’re just a hack and can’t write unless you’re inspired. Is that really what you want?
Playing games and fooling around with social media is good…for a break. But if you haven’t written today, you need to put it the hell away and open your writing tool (I use Scrivener, personally, because it does everything I want and probably things I don’t want but like a lot), sit your bum down, and get to work. 
Of course, as you’ve likely predicted, the third option is best.
Okay, Anne, GOT IT — but what do I WRITE?

This is the hard part. When you’re first developing the habit of writing, you might find you’re staring at that blank screen and feeling overwhelmed. Well, I have a few exercises for you that might help.
  1. What’s your favorite fruit? Write a day in the life of your favorite fruit. Include its death as your nourishment.
  2. Write a memory. Start with any memory you have from any age. It could be recalling learning to ride a bike, eating at your favorite restaurant, playing a sport — anything positive or negative that you recall.
  3. Write a sentence. No matter what it is. Keep going. Even if you start off with ‘nothing comes to mind,’ write that down, then keep going.
Do this every day, and a story will begin to form. You can use these three to get you started, or check out Language Is A Virus or Seventh Sanctum for more prompts (and some complex ones, too).
If you find you’re still stuck, use a prompt and make an outline. Create a character and write out their background. Do anything you can to just get writing. That’s what matters. That’s the craft of writing. You will add the art as you go along with your prose.
Ready? Go!
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