I for one definitely need to take the advice given in this piece’s title. Too often I put off writing a blog post, writing creatively or even just journaling because I don’t feel “inspired.”
When I was still in university as a creative writing major, I was forced to write. It didn’t matter if I felt like it, I had a deadline and I wanted good grades and I wanted to produce something of value.
But being out of that setting, I’ve found it difficult to push myself to do the one thing I say I’m most passionate about. When no one else is expecting something from you, or giving you deadlines, it’s easy to cut yourself some slack.
Sure, it’s a lot harder to write when you’re not in the mood. But sitting in front of the keyboard and making yourself write something—anything—can often be more valuable than when you’re struck by inspiration.
Writer’s block isn’t real
I rejected that sentiment immediately the first time I heard it. Writer’s block had become more of a friend than a foe, mostly because it was a great excuse when I felt like I had nothing to write about.
But it’s not real—not really. Of course there are situations when you’re mentally drained and need to take some time off. The truth is, writer’s block is just a great scapegoat.
Via Tom Belskie on The Writing Cooperative:
Writer’s block isn’t real. I know that offends some people but it’s so unbelievably true. If I don’t write something on a given day it’s not because of some imaginary writer’s disease. The only reason is that I didn’t do it. I didn’t write.
If individuals only wrote when they were fueled by inspiration, we’d have a whole lot less books. A lot less blogs. A lot less articles on pretty much anything.
Just like any other skill, writing takes practice, even when you don’t feel like it.
Schedule time to write
Many authors who get to call writing a full-time job treat it like any other employment. They go to work—AKA they have certain hours where they make themselves write.
Why not create those same habits, especially if that’s a life you’d love to lead? (I’m mostly asking myself this question.)
Put time aside to write. Make it part of your routine. Write for a set amount of time or until you hit a word count goal.
Another great thought, via Jude King on Medium:
Anybody can take action when they feel like it. Anybody can pound out a thousand words of brilliant prose when they totally feel like it. But show me the woman who will write out that thousand words even on days when they don’t feel inspired at all, and I’ll show you the man destined for great things.
Because here’s the truth: No one who’s a writer feels inspired to do it every time. But the great writers knows how to do it anyway — inspired or not. They put the creativity on a schedule. And do it anyway regardless of whether they feel like it.
If you want to get better at something, you have to work at it. This doesn’t mean that every writing session has to produce some magnificent piece of work. It just means you’re honing that skill, you’re building your writing voice, you’re putting in the work.
What better time to write consistently than November?
November is National Novel Writing Month as well as National Blog Posting Month. Now is as good of time as any to challenge yourself. Writing everyday may seem like a pretty big feat if you haven’t been too consistent.
For me personally, I’m going to commit to writing everyday. This doesn’t mean publishing something everyday. I care more about my creative work than my blogging, so I’m going to at least complete 1000 words or a 30-minute session each day.
I didn’t quite get started on November 1—but it’s November 3 and I’ve already knocked out a blog post and 1288 words of creative writing before 3pm. It’s the little things that count.
This post first appeared on The Front Matter