How to Make Yourself Write When You Really Really Really Don’t Want To

How to Make Yourself Write When You Really Really Really Don’t Want To

You’ve been there before.

You’re exhausted. You’re burned out. You’re so sick of work, you almost can’t stand it.

You spend hours on end watching Web Therapy (an online web series starring the hilarious Lisa Kudrow) trying to desperately to avoid the work you need to do.

Oh, and you’d love it if you could take the advice “just take a break” or “go outside for a walk” to help you–you’d LOVE to do that–but it’s just that, you know… you need to get this writing done already.

You just need to.

Whatever it is–whether it’s a blog post, a freelance article, or a revision of that chapter that you’ve been postponing for way way too long–sometimes we just need to get the writing done even when we really really really don’t want to.

So, if you’re in this situation right now, don’t feel alarmed.

It happens all the time.

Sometimes the writing process is just like pulling teeth. Luckily, just like pulling teeth, all you got to do to get yourself to write, when you really really really don’t want to write, is to give yourself a big dose of “writer’s Novocaine:”

1. Relax

If you really really really don’t want to write right now, chances are a lot of the reason behind your reluctance is stress. You’re feeling a lot of pressure to get something done on the deadline, or you’re feeling pressure because you have to live up to someone else’s expectations. You’re probably thinking that if you fail with this one article, novel revision, or blog post you’re career is kaput.

It’s over.

You’ll lose your subscribers, or you’ll lose your freelance gig, or you’ll lose your novel’s plot-line so entirely that you’ll have to start the whole thing from the beginning again.

But I assure you that all of that… is not gonna happen.

So, just relax. No one ever died writing a bad blog post, a bad novel, or a bad freelance article.

You’re gonna be fine. Relax. Plug in your earbuds. Put on some Adele.

And listen to her soft, rich voice as all your tight jaw muscles start to loosen…

2. Numb The Pain

If writing is particularly difficult for you, then you’re going to have to numb the pain of having to write today.

I know, I know, I’m the one who told you to feel all your emotions and not repress them, but sometimes you don’t have the luxury to do this.

When the situation is urgent, sometimes we do need a short-term solution: “numbing” is that short-term solution (although it is NEVER a long-term one.)

I’m assuming that, in this case, whatever writing you need to get done, just needs to get done. So, in this special situation, I’ll give you permission to handle things differently than I would normally recommend.

As you write, try to let go of thoughts and detach from your body for a moment. Try to just let yourself be your fingers tapping the keys and the letters being formed. Allow the writing to be the only thing that exists.

What you are trying to do is with this process is simply disassociating yourself with any uncomfortable feelings or thoughts you are having in order to get the work done. It’s more like you are putting a pause button on all the rest of the stuff going on with you, and you’re just focusing on the writing itself.

When you do this, you might realize that the writing is constantly flowing. It really never stops. Nothing could ever stop it, really.

In effect, you are literally putting the rest of you to “sleep” in order to get the work done.

(But be careful: make sure to get out of “zombie” mode as soon as you’re done. The last thing we need is you walking around completely out of touch with your feelings–and your body–for a prolonged period of time.)

3. Eat All The Ice Cream You Want Afterwards

I remember when I got my wisdom teeth taken out a few years back and I was told, after the surgery, that I could eat nothing but liquids until the wounds healed.

But instead of complaining that I wouldn’t get to have hamburgers and fries for a week, I just had a lot of Vanilla ice cream.

And it was delicious.

If you have to go through the process of writing something you really really really don’t want to write, then at least give yourself a great reward after you’re done.

Maybe you might try writing something completely strange and totally outside of the genre of what you currently write.

Maybe, instead of what you normally write, you can write a short story, a poem, a skit, a play, a musical, a screenplay, a soliloquy, a haiku, a web series, a limerick, a song, or even a fun little nanoism. Write something that would be pure fun, as if you were eating all the ice cream you wanted after your wisdom-teeth surgery.

Then share the fun piece your wrote on a private blog or with your close friends and family!

To conclude: there are times when we just HAVE to write when we really don’t want to.

In those instances, writing is just that thing you have to do because it’s good for your health and well-being.

And if taking care of your health and well-being means you have to avoid eating hard foods for a week and wash out the holes in the back of your jaw with one of those mini-turkey basters, then so be it.

much “open wiiiiiide”


How do you get yourself to write when you really really really don’t want to? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

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Categories: Writer's Journal