I get asked this question from readers several times a week, “How do you write when you don’t feel like it?”
It’s frustrating, right?
One day you’re passionate about writing. You’re in the zone. Words come easily without much effort.
And then something happens.
You skip a day. And then two. A week goes by and you haven’t written a paragraph.
You feel guilty like you should be taking your writing more seriously, but you just can’t muster the willpower to actually write.
Have you ever felt like this? I know I have.
In this article, you will know what to do when you don’t feel like writing.
If you’re stuck and don’t feel like doing anything, remember that it’s part of the writing process.
After all, procrastination isn’t always bad.
Every writer, even the best in the world struggle. There’s always something that we can learn from them.
Inside of beating themselves up, they embrace it all and choose to procrastinate.
They know that by doing this it’ll help them think clearly and produce better writing.
Paulo Coelho, one of the most influential writers of our times typically spend the first few hours of his day checking news, emails, messages and almost everything that he can find to do.
Letting himself procrastinate as much as he can before sitting down and start writing, nonstop for 10 hours or more.
For Paulo Coelho, a successful day is a day where he will suffer in the morning and having fun in the evening. That’s right, fun by writing once he hit his stride.
B.J.Novak, a writer, actor, comedian, and producer also practices a daily morning routine where he’ll do things that seem irrelevant just to get himself in a good mood for creative work.
Every morning, he spends a few hours to make himself feel good like listening to music, walking, drinking coffee or just enjoy the moment.
It’s definitely worth the hours it takes to get in a good mood.
Next time if you find yourself stuck with a writer’s block, just stop writing for a while.
While you’re postponing your task, your mind is subconsciously finding, collecting and processing ideas.
When you actually sit down and start writing, you’ll have more fresh ideas on how to go about it.
Read, read as much as you can
To have a unique vision, to have a better idea, you need to read a lot, think a lot, and then write a lot.
James Altucher, best known for his book “Choose Yourself”, has long been one of my writing inspirations.
He once said, “I can’t write unless I read first. I’ll read and read and read and then suddenly a little electric bomb goes off in my head when the reading uncovers a memory I had forgotten existed.”
That’s the power of reading and our subconscious brain. If you keep engaging it and feeding it with the right sustenance, it’ll keep working behind the scenes!
But you don’t have to limit yourself to reading books that are directed related to your field.
Read widely, non-fiction, science fiction, romance, short stories and everything in between that grab your interest.
One of the best ways to help you write better and consistently is read as much as you can.
Before I actually sit down and start writing, I do lots of research and reading about the topics I’m going to tackle.
I also try to make reading as part of my morning routines.
if you ever find yourself stuck in the loop, stop beating yourself up.
Don’t read the news or scroll through the social media feed.
Instead read a good book, a book that excites you and expands your minds.
Write primarily for yourself
Things I’m bad at – writing. Things I do a lot – writing.
I know it’s not something that you’d like to hear about (including myself).
But…to overcome your blogging or writing burnout you need to WRITE MORE!
I don’t know about you but once blogging becomes a chore, I feel stuck and I hate writing.
And it becomes a monotonous routine or set of tedious tasks.
Sound familiar, right?
To make things worse…
I have this “publish or perish” thinking.
If I ever fail to publish regularly, as of writing which’s two posts a week, I’ll feel so bad about it and tend to think negatively.
I forget what I like to write about. I forget why I started this blog in the first place.
If this resonates with you, you might want to shift your focus to writing primarily for yourself.
Instead of faking yourself or trying to be someone else, find a subject you deeply care about or a topic that you want to learn more about.
Marcus Aurelius, the Philosopher King, primarily recording all his thoughts, ideas, lessons learned and notes to himself on a journal.
He treated it as a reminder and guidance to himself.
After the death of Marcus Aurelius in 180 AD, this series of personal writings was published as a book named Meditations.
It’s translated into multiple languages and still widely read today.
In short, always write something that you like about.
As Stephen Kings said, “I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.”
Write about your struggles, feeling or experiences
Stop pretending that everything’s fine when it’s not.
I know it’s easy to share your success stories and victories.
But to show people your struggle, your real, authentic truths, the long hours, your downfalls, your thoughts, fears, and failures, it really takes a lot of courage.
So, why would you want to do that?
Instead of inspiring people, stories of struggle probably will bring others down.
In fact, sharing your stories of struggle and mistakes is the best way to build trust with your audience.
It allows you to connect with others on a more personal level.
Stop for a moment, look deeply and listen closely.
Try documenting your journey, realization, and what’s actually on your mind.
Yes, I’m writing this post right now because I’m struggling with burned out.
It helps me to step back, have a “witness perspective”, think better and most importantly to start to fall in love with writing all over again.
That’s right. Writing is a love-hate affair.
Perhaps all we can do is embrace it. And learn to dance with it…
If you’ve read this far, thank you for your attention.
On the 3rd day, this post is finally complete.
Hell, I procrastinate a lot during this 3 days (point #1), I read Tool of Titans again and get some new ideas from it (point #2) and supposedly this should be my journal (point #3 and #4).
Remember, you’re not alone in your struggles.
If I could just inspire one person to get back into writing, this rant will be worth it.
Ready to share your thoughts, struggles, and stories with the world?
How do you overcome blogging burnout? Feel free to comment below.
I’d love to hear from you.