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James17555's avatar

How do I get down to writing when I don't feel like it at all?

Asked by James17555 (204points) March 21st, 2009 from iPhone

I know the old stories about discipline and ‘just do it’.

Give me some new, genuine idea of how to get down to writing; personal experiences are of course welcome!

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6 Answers

SherlockPoems's avatar

Hey James! I have never put much stock in ‘inspiration’... for me it all starts with perspiration… it is a discipline and lots of research… usually the research sparks that 10% inspiration. I just wake up early and go right to the puter… do not allow myself more than one cuppa coffee until I finish writing at least one poem. It was really difficult when I first began some 14 years ago but it is a lead-pipe cinch now. Ideas come from walking to the office (where the puter lives); a dream from the night before; something I heard on the news or newslike program; feelings I understand or not; a photograph has inspired many, many poems… just get started – the juices WILL flow and so will the ink.

suzyq2463's avatar

Well, I don’t have any ideas that are really “new,” but maybe one of these things will help:
1. Try doing some mindmapping—start with your central idea or argument and brainstorm. I use software for the Mac called Novamind when I want to brainstorm (but a pencil and paper will work fine). Basically you start with the central idea and create branches (subpoints). I don’t worry about how good or bad the ideas are, I just write things down as fast as I can. This gets the juices flowing and it’s visual. It’s much better than a staid, cold outline.
2. I know the “just do it” thing is not very helpful, but there is something to be said about putting something (anything) on a page so you aren’t staring at a bunch of white space with that *&(#)@@ blinking cursor laughing at you. Often, what I will do is just start writing (not necessarily at the beginning—in fact I almost never start with an introduction or at the beginning). I start writing what I feel most comfortable with. If it’s a research project, I usually write down everything I already know, and then start adding in what I’ve researched.
3. A great book on overcoming procrastination is The Now Habit. One of the most helpful suggestions there is: don’t think about “I have to get this done” or “I have so much to do.” Think, “When can I start?”

Hope that helps some. Starting is the hardest part.

dynamicduo's avatar

Why not write about the frustrations you are feeling about not being able to write?

rancid's avatar

I think my estimable colleages have a lot of good to say. Research is very important and provocative of ideas. Still, there is one thing that must come first, or else you have no idea what to do. That is the question.

From the question, all else follows. Lie @dynamicduo said, the question could be “how do I feel about not writing?” Or “why am I not writing?” THis is question you are almost asking.

With question, you can start research. What has already been written on subject? What do people know already? Then you can see how it fits with you and your experience.

I think maybe it is better to ask more interesting question, not so much questions that involve looking inside the head on your shoulders. Maybe, I think, the analysis of the belly button lint?

Do you understand? What are you curious about? What do you actually want to know. You start there. Then you answer the question. Then you have things to write about. And you write.

marinelife's avatar

I find this site very helpful sometimes.

caeliste's avatar

Write about something completely unrelated to your current project. Think of something fun that you’ve wanted to try and just do it. Write a limerick, a song, a short film or a dirty story. It doesn’t matter what you write as long as your get the juices flowing. Once you do that, you’ll probably find it’s easier to get down to business.

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