What to do when you just don’t feel like writing … during NaNoWriMo or ANY TIME!

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It happens to all of us, even the best of us.

We lose our motivation to write. We lose the steam that was powering the current project. We get lost in a jungle of disorganized plot. Life happens and we just don’t have the energy to create fictional problems for fictional people. Writer’s Block comes knocking. Resistance and self-sabotage take over. We stop writing for a day. A day turns into weeks, weeks turn into months, months turn into years.

Most of us don’t want this to happen. Sometimes it happens anyway. But it’s never too late to get back on the horse! It’s never to late to try again.

Some writers seem to have found great ways around this lapse in motivation. And sure, some of it has to do with pure willpower, iron determination, an unshakeable will … but for the rest of us, there are a few more manageable tricks we could employ to get us back in the swing of things.

Participating in NaNoWriMo has given me ample opportunity to try these various methods out for myself! (Week 2 is well-known among NaNoWriMo-ers as the hardest week of the month, but now as we are stepping into the last week, interrupted as it is with HOLIDAYS and FAMILY and TOO MUCH FOOD, this can become a SERIOUS issue!) I’ve listed a few of my favorites and the ones that work best for me below. If you have any tips yourself, feel free to leave a comment and lay ‘em on me!

I’d love to know what you do to bring yourself out of that writing funk!

MY OWN RECIPE FOR GETTING “UNSTUCK”:

  • Try working on a different project or a different scene–one you’re really excited for and one you have a very clear idea for of what will happen next. This will get the writing started, and the hardest part is getting it started!

  • Outline future scenes if you know what you want to happen, but aren’t feeling up to writing it out in novel form. This can also help you work out plot issues, which might be the unknown cause of your block in the first place!

  • Play the “What if…” game. Start from the last scene you completed in your novel, then start asking the question “What if?” Throw your plot plans out the window, just for fun. Ask yourself what would be the very worst possible thing that could happen to your characters at that point in the story, and then how would they react? And then what would happen next? Ask yourself if you were reading your book as a reader, what would you expect to happen? Now what is the exact opposite of that? Now start writing it all down! You might like what you discover!

  • Listen to whatever kind of music inspires you! My own very favorite music to write to is the Epic Music Mixes you can find on YouTube. Check them out and take a listen! Most of these songs are composed for movie trailers, and a movie trailer’s sole purpose is to PUMP YOU UP, get you excited to watch the movie. Listen to these songs while you write and you’ll be hard pressed to stay in your funk!

  • Self bribery. What’s the one thing (within reason) you’ve been wanting the most lately but haven’t been able to have/get for whatever reason? Promise to get yourself/eat/drink/buy/travel to etc that thing when you reach your wordcount goal. Even if it’s as simple as a special candy treat. Bribe yourself! Then follow through on the reward when you hit your goal. It works!

  • If all else fails, just take the day off. No guilt, no self-shaming. Take a mental break, go do something completely brainless or physically active. Then come back to your story the next day with a fresh start!

Remember, you can do it! Keep it up!

Happy Writing my friends!

< 3 J. R. Frontera and the Wordwraiths

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