Recently I stumbled upon an article about writing blocks that made perfect sense: the reason why we put off writing and other things is because we aren’t in the mood for them. (It’s in the Atlantic online, and called “The Procrastination Doom Loop — and How to Break It”. Link below.)
Now, I’ve read a lot of articles and books about procrastination that try to dig out the underlying reasons. They say we fear failure. Or we fear success. Or maybe we fear something else.
But being a shallow person, none of that deep stuff resonated. No, what really hit me in the gut was the shallow reason: I put things off because “I don’t wanna.” I’m waiting until I’m in the mood.
And I have to admit, when I’m in the mood for writing and it’s going well, it’s better than anything. I really love it.
But writing when I’m not in the mood? Everything drags, and I feel like I’d be better off doing almost anything else.
So, this is all fine and good, but the problem is, the article didn’t mention a thing about how to get into a good mood for writing. Do you think it’s possible?
There are a few things I’d like to try.
1. My number one complaint is “’I’m tired.” Remedy? Try a power nap from YouTube, such as this 20 minute one. (Binaural Beats: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m9Ne7iT35Zc)
2. I’m tired, redux. Have a drink. Try water, or tea. Or a strawberry smoothie! Rehydrate.
3. Try eating something good. I mean that in the tasty sense as well as the good-for-you sense. Yummy things lift your spirit, and nutritious things nourish your body. For some reason (probably the calcium and fish-oil combo), sardines boost my mood. Some sardines and crackers feels like a holiday treat! And there are lots of healthy holiday appetizers out there that may look festive next to your keyboard.
4. Music. The Greeks loved it for melancholy, and these days, you don’t have to send a messenger to Hire-a-Lyre in order to get some. We’ve talked about playlists a lot of times on this blog, but I’m sure you have some good ideas about music that gets you in the mood for writing. For me, it’s industrial techno, like Kollectiv Turmstrasse.
5. Just sit down and write. Sometimes, the mood will come if called. You all have heard the old “fake it ‘til you make it” cheer. Give it a good old 200 words, and see if you want to proceed further.
We’re on Day 18 of NaNo, so if you are pushing harder than you are accustomed to pushing, you might be feeling a little empty. But writing inspiration isn’t like gasoline – you don’t have to pump it out of the ground or go to the gas station to get it. It’s all around you. Maybe now is the time to take things down a notch, and start a “maintenance writing schedule” – the kind of writing schedule you’d like to maintain all year long. Or . . . it might be time to just push towards your goals, whatever they are. After all, there are only 12 more days of NaNo. You can establish a normal writing pattern in December.
You know you best. Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up for your choices. It doesn’t help. But do choose the choices that are going to make you feel better tomorrow. After all, getting stuff done is one of the best ways to get in the mood to do more.
Hungry? Healthy stuff like popcorn, peppers stuffed with bean dip and garnished with veggies, deviled eggs, and more. Start with Better Homes & Gardens: http://www.bhg.com/recipes/party/appetizers/new-years-party-appetizer-recipes/
Nancy Hunter talks about how she builds playlists: https://eightladieswriting.com/2015/03/16/nancy-a-little-mood-music/