This blog was featured on 05/29/2017
5 Hacks to Start Writing When You Don't Feel Like It

To continue the topic I touched in my previous article (which was about the tips beginning freelance copywriters should use to do well at this job), I decided to discuss the issue every single writer or copywriter faces, which is how to start writing and working on your piece when you don’t feel like it. When you have no inspiration or desire to touch a keyboard. When nothing comes to your mind and you start feeling like a brainless, limp creature that isn’t capable of doing anything but eat and sleep. That’s the challenge the writing job encompasses, as different moods, situations, events in person’s life ultimately influence his working capacity and efficiency, especially when it comes to creative jobs, which require that special set of mind and approach that may easily stagger from the slightest whiff of wind carrying mood swings, laziness, brain farts, etc.

Our minds work differently and each individual gets inspired by different things. Therefore, there’s no universal recipe each person engaged in the writing sphere may use when it comes to overcoming the state of inability to write.

However, just like any other individual who has a job, you need to get yours done. You have to meet the deadlines, you need to present your work to your clients (if you’re a copywriter) and make sure that you executed it according to the technical task without missing any details. You need to earn money for living. Your story line has to continue. Thus, let’s figure out how to start it when your mind tries to trick you into thinking that you’re not capable of doing it right now.

(Remember, that these tips are mostly the hacks derive from my personal experience and the statements of other writers I keep in touch with. Not everything that works for me/for them will necessarily work for you. But there’s no harm in trying, right?)

1. The sooner you start, the sooner you finish

If you need to start writing when you don’t feel like it, you probably understand that it’s a temporary mindset you need to break through. The best way to do that is to start writing. You can whine, you can complain, you can silently scream at yourself. But, you know that procrastination feels terrible. The Guilt is its second name. You know that the sooner you finish your daily portion of writing, the less time you’ll spend thinking about the unfinished work and feeling terrible for not being able to start.

So, ignore the mood; ignore the voice in your head alluringly compelling you to put work aside for tomorrow. Just sit down, open your laptop and start writing. That’s the advice my friend gave me when I complained to her that it became more difficult to start writing an article after a few intense months of work. She said to me: just start working. Write a couple of sentences. Don’t leave the workplace for a few minutes. Don’t get distracted. Only a few minutes – and you’ll get into the right mood. Only a few minutes, and your thoughts will start flowing smoothly into words, sentences, paragraphs and articles. Just let the right set of mind get to you. Give it the place and the time to land.

2. Treat it like any other “normal” day job

Most writers think that they need to be in a certain mood to be able to compose a decent piece. While that definitely helps, you can’t ignore the fact that writing/copywriting is your job, but not a hobby. You do it to earn money for living. Would a general contractor who has to build a house for his clients by a certain date call the people who hired him and say that the team will skip a construction day just cause they don’t feel like building? Would a nurse miss her shift just because she had a terrible argument with her significant other? I doubt that.

 If you drop out on a certain day and decide that you’ll start writing as soon as you’ll feel like it, you’ll have serious issues with meeting the deadlines and sustaining the reputation of a disciplined, hard-working professional. Thus, if you can’t overcome the barrier of starting writing, just make yourself a strict schedule and stick to it no matter what. Turn writing or copywriting into your daytime job: unless you’re terribly sick, you need to show up and perform your duties.

3. Start with something you like or know better

As a copywriter, you’re bound to work with topics you don’t really enjoy or know too much about. This may discourage you and make you stare and the blank page for a long time. Therefore, when you don’t feel like writing, but absolutely have to, start with the task you like more to get yourself into the working mode and let the enthusiasm grow on you.

4. Read something great to get inspired

When my thoughts refuse to form into the words and I don’t feel like forcing them to do so, I research the topic I have to write on. Seeing what other writers have to say about the issue, looking through their passionate opinions or reading a completely unrelated piece written by the author whose style and skills I adore rarely fails to get me back into the writing groove and restore my working mood.

5. Clear your head

It’s completely OK to lack inspiration or desire to write. And sometimes, the hacks mentioned before just do nothing for me. I start working, but the writing comes out absolutely awkward and awful, I start feeling even more down and lose my concentration. When that happens, I know that it’s better to distract myself from any work-related thoughts, stop beating myself up and reset my mind.

Going for a long walk works like magic for me. You, on the other hand, need to find the right distraction on your own.  

Please, share which hacks you use to overcome this issue. It’s an ongoing battle for each writer, so each piece of advice is highly appreciated!

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