How To Write Even When You Don’t Feel Like It


At times it feels like all I do is write. Writing at least four blog posts a week—for this site and—on top of writing and editing a new book is my weekly routine.

Mix in emails to my subscribers or a few guest posts, and writing can get tiring.

So every once in awhile I sit in front of my computer feeling like the last thing I want to do is write. It’s my brain fighting writing, saying, “No, not this again.”

In this case, it’s true that too much of a good thing can become an annoying activity.

But through years of experience writing and overcoming the urge to procrastinate, I’ve learned a few tactics to write even when I don’t feel like it.

In this post, I want to share with you the answers to these questions:

  • Why you don’t feel like writing?
  • How do you write anyway?

Why You Don’t Feel Like Writing

There are two major forces that will pull you from sitting down and writing.

The first is when you are stuck in the mode of procrastination, laziness, lack of willpower, or whatever you want to call it. This happens when you know what you’re going to write, but you resist doing it.

Maybe it’s difficult, you had a bad day, or you’re tired. But you don’t show up to write because you don’t feel like it, not because you can’t. Instead of having discipline to write for 60 minutes, you choose to play videogames, watch television, or play a card game.

That problem is all on you. (But I can help you in the section below.)

The second force is different, and it’s when you don’t have anything to write. You’re willing to type, but nothing comes to mind. You’re stuck with writer’s block.

This state is far more frustrating because, unlike the decision to procrastinate, it’s not your fault. It’s impossible to express yourself when there’s nothing coming to mind to express. You have no inspiration, resources to go to, or ideas.

And many writers don’t recognize the difference between procrastination and writer’s block, but there’s a clear difference.

Anyway, whatever the reason is why you’re not able to write, you need to learn how to get out of that funk and get your rhythm back.

How To Write Every Day

The best writers find the ability to write every day. This means they frequently have to defeat a lack of willpower or lack of inspiration to meet their word count goals each day.

To ensure you can write even when you don’t feel like it, implement the action steps below:

1. Remember why you write

The first thing you should do when starting any major project is to attach an emotional feeling behind why you’re doing it. Because when things get tough, you’ll need to have that extra inspiration to power you through.

So why do you want to write that blog post or book?

Is it to add a passive income stream to your bank account each month? Is it to quit that day job and work full-time on your writing? Is it to have a location-independent lifestyle? Do you simply love to write?

If you don’t have an emotional reason behind writing, you’re going to feel uninspired quite often. So spend serious time to come up with your true reasoning for writing.

Make that mental state as clear and specific as possible. Then remember this power source when you don’t feel like writing.

2. Show up to write

Then you absolutely must show up to write. Because many times going through the motions of sitting down, pulling up the document, and typing will be enough to get you going.

There’s also some prework you can do to help yourself get started writing by outlining the content, writing the introduction and conclusion, and researching the subject in advance. Mix a filled mind with a detailed outline and you’ll have your writing remedy.

If nothing is coming to you when you’ve tried to write, now you know that it’s not a lack of motivation but a lack of inspiration. If you don’t attempt to write, you never know what’s causing your problem.

3. Clear your mind with physical activity

When you’re attempting to write but nothing comes to mind, I find it best to cut your losses there and do physical activity to clear your mind.

Do yardwork. Walk your dog. Go for a run. Or hit the gym to lift weights. Anything to get your mind off work and on physical exercise. This helps because it gives your conscious mind a break from being creative, while your subconscious wrestles with what you’re working on.

For example, it’s happened too many times for me to count when I struggled with writing an article or chapter of my book. The times I stay working on it, I only get more frustrated and disappointed. But the times I leave to exercise and then come back fresh, I’m filled with ideas in perfect clarity.

4. Fill your mind

It could be that you can’t write because you’re empty or drained. When I feel this way, I do something to fill me up with new information and stories.

Think of watching an interesting documentary, reading your favorite book genre, or catching up with an old friend on the phone. Getting out of your mind to listen and relate to another person’s content can give you ideas for your writing.

That’s why some people recommend reading for at least 10 minutes before they begin a writing session. This preparation will boost your writing productivity.

5. Set a timer and go

After all of that, sometimes you may still be uninspired and can’t write. For whatever reason, you can’t get in the right mental place or don’t have the creative content.

At this point, if you’re under a deadline then you just need to grind it out. Fight through the struggle by setting a timer and writing without any expectations or desire for perfection. Get mad if you need to.

Just do the best you can, because that’s better than nothing. The saving grace is you can always edit it after—as long as there’s a foundation to edit.

That’s the true testament of writing when you don’t feel like it.

Final Words

Like riding a bike, working out, watching television, or going to your favorite Mexican restaurant on Fridays, writing can become a habit if you make it one. And I recommend you make it a daily habit.

Because each day you write trains that writing muscle, and this repetition makes it easier to write the next day—regardless of your feelings.

Whereas feelings come and go. They’re weak and unreliable. They tell your mind to take the easy route in life, the shortcuts.

So don’t pick feelings over your writing goals and dreams. If you do that, you risk putting off writing a book for years, or forever.

Instead, let daily progress and positivity fuel you, not feelings.

Keep writing and you’ll be amazed at how far you come in three months, six months, one year, five years, and ten years.

What do you do to stop struggling and start writing?

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