It started last week, when I stalled in the middle of a story. Then with my thesis and other obligations in the way I decided to give myself a few days off. Big mistake. That's the thing with writing; it's all about momentum. Just as writing can lead to more writing, not-writing can cause inertia so bad that it would take a volcanic explosion of creativity to get out of it.
Of course, the worst part about not-writing is that it can be a hundred times more painful than it is to just do the writing in the first place. Between the guilt and the endless rationalization, writing usually ends up being the easier path, even if it's not the one of least resistance.
To that end, I've come up with a few small tricks I use to cheat myself into writing when I don't want to do it.
- Set small goals. I force myself to sit and write even if it's only one paragraph or ten minutes. Usually once I get going, the momentum kicks in and I'll write much longer than I originally planned.
- Write something easy. I start with the easy scenes or mindless assignments first, leaving projects that require more planning and thought for when my mind has loosened up.
- Write first. The days I've been successful with the Story A Day have been those when I've done my story first thing in the morning. With the story out of the way, I could then get on with my day and get on with my life. If I let the story hang over my head, it inevitably doesn't get done.