How do you get yourself in the mood to write?

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Opal, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. I've been spending a lot of time on this site over the past few days, mostly just refreshing and clicking on random links here and there, trying to tell myself 'I'm going to write right now.' Except I haven't. I've poked around at my characters, made adjustments, but haven't written more than a sentence. I've been having this issue for way too long, too. I try not to fall into the trap of blaming writer's block, or saying my muse isn't working, or blah blah blah, but I definitely have some kind of mental block.

    I suffer from tons of anxiety, which has been a lot worse over the past month, which I think is partly to blame. I love role-playing, and I love writing, but interacting with people? Scary! I have to actually, like, talk to people, and say, 'hey I'm having issues,' but you can only use that excuse so many times. I have many ideas in my head, but when it gets right down to it, I go, 'hey look, a hundred other pointless thing I could be doing right now. Let's do those.'

    What are your tricks for getting yourself to actually write? Is this another 'literally just force yourself, there's nothing more to it' kind of thing (because there are a lot of those in life)? Do you dim all the lights and light candles and listen to nice music!? D:
  2. This might not be the answer people want to hear, but when I'm not in the mood to write I just simply don't write.

    I wait for the mood/inspiration to hit me (or for someone to poke me if I end up forgetting about it due to how alerts work).
    Though habits I usually do when I use the computer in general (which would contribute to me being able to write well) is pretty simple.

    1. Door Closed
    2. Lights are out
    3. Food is on the desk ready and available
    4. Desk and/or second chair is available as a footstool
  3. Sometimes there are little tips and tricks, like dimming the lights and setting up candles or other warm types of light. Sometimes you listen to your music; it doesn't have to be classical or jazz or anything like that. Just something to set your mood, or just relax you, or pump you up, or whatever! Sometimes a nap does it. And a trick that can get my juices going, is to write before I write. What I mean by that is, if I'm in a writing stump, I'll write poetry or a short story. Just write something for me, that will never see the light of day. Just write something to get me started, y'know?

    Because that's the next thing I'm going to say, which you already pointed out. Writing is very much a "Just do it" thing. You figure out what you need to do to get you going, and you just do it. All those things can help you, nudge you along, but in the end you just gotta start writing something, which is like... the momentum thing. It's the pebble at the top of the mountain, that rolls and rolls and starts the avalanche or the katamari boulder. That's why I say write, to start your writing. Do something that has nothing to do with what you're RP'ing, and by the time you're done writing a short story about a dog's lost bone, you're well onto your way on writing your latest post!
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  4. Usually? Reading. There's a few authors that I read that either inspire me to write better, or simply inspire me to write because I believe I can do better than they do.

    Certain movies and shows that inspire me to write too, usually shows where there's a pairing I want to get together but are moving at a snail's pace towards the mushy gushy ending I want for them. Probably doesn't work for everyone, but that's what works for me.
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  5. Regular roleplaying helps me, that's why I got back to it. I feel obligated to respond to a roleplay regularly, which means I have to kind of force myself to write sometimes.

    But when it comes to writing I usually listen to music. I have a bazillion playlists with different combinations of songs to get me in the right mood for writing a certain subject. And, if I don't have songs for what I want to write yet, I usually Google/Pandora it and then write while I search. Sometimes finding cool images for my characters helps, as well.

    Normally though I just write when I get that burst of inspiration. Subway rides are good for that, as well as walking around at night. Not sure why.
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  6. Been writing for years. Select any of the following, in any order, combination, or otherwise.

    • A. Take a break and embrace doing random other shit for a while. Sometimes you genuinely just need to take a couple weeks to say "FUCK IT, I'M BINGING THIS TV SHOW AND EATING A FUCK TON OF ICE CREAM!" Once in a while I take a day I was going to spend writing and spend it binging a video game for several hours.
    • B. Stop, take a deep breath, open a writing pad thing, and just spam whatever is on your mind for 5-10 minutes. Don't even give a fuck if it's an incomprehensible mess, this is an exercise to force yourself to write. After all, you might just be doubting yourself, or can't think of anything that you think isn't stupid. After a few minutes of spamming whatever is on your mind, read it again and then delete it all and open the thing you need to write for. :ferret:
    • C. Remove the distractions. Turn off the video games, close instant messenger programs, bookmark & close the other tabs in your browser, turn off the music, et cetera.
    • D. Ask yourself if your current projects simply bore you. Think about doing other projects. Do they excite you? Maybe it's that you've simply lost the desire to continue your current projects.
    • E. Kick out caffeine, sugar, and other mental stimulants. Anything that causes your brain to race ahead and go ADHD on you. A shitty diet can fuck up your mind as well as your body.
    • F. Lower your standards for yourself for a while. If you're really struggling but A through D is not helping, drop your paragraph standards. If you consistently write three, drop to one. If you write one, drop to two lines. Talk to the others you're interacting with and tell them you're struggling.
    • G. Talk to the people you're writing with and ask them for advice. Sometimes it helps to have someone else brainstorm with you to push you past a scene that is, for whatever reason, blocking your mind.
    • H. Take a few minutes to stretch, do a few push ups and/or crunches, or squats, or whatever else. Again, sometimes it's a body thing, more than a mind thing.
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  7. When I saw the title for this thread, I was going to come in and start off by semi-jokingly saying "medication" with a strikethrough across it, and then see if I could maybe offer any real advice, but, actually reading your post now -- if you think it's a mental health thing, I might actually have more relevant advice to give than I thought. o.o

    First, I want to comment on this:
    There's nothing wrong with using that as an "excuse" if it's actually the problem. Speaking as someone who also has a mental disorder that can make posting rather difficult: I can tell you it's liberating to be able to say "yeah sorry, I really can't concentrate right now", as you'll find that people tend to be more patient than you might think if you're honest with them about it. After all, if you told people you were sick, then they'd totally tell you to rest and not worry about posting, right? Well, why should mental health be any different? Besides, I know the feeling of not knowing what to say to explain why you can't post at a certain time -- it can often feel like you're hiding something or that you need to make up an excuse. But, really, why should you need to go through all that? Just be honest and tell them what's actually going on, and then get back to posting when it's easier for you. It's really a huge weight off your chest if you ask me.

    Back on topic: Ordinarily I would echo some of what Brovo already said and suggest that you take a break and let your brain re-charge for a bit, or re-assess whether or not you're actually enjoying what you're currently doing and just dropping it if you decide it's not worth sticking with it, but, you said you have plenty of ideas in your head, so, you don't really sound uninspired -- it's just that you can't concentrate enough to write an actual post. Am I reading you right?

    If that's the case, then, this is definitely something I can relate to, since your description of all this sounds pretty close to how my ADHD makes me feel about writing. o.o That said, here are a few tips that work for me:
    • Don't worry about writing a straight-forward post, start to finish. Write it all out of order. Write whatever sentence or even half a sentence comes to mind. If you can think of one thing that you want to be in it, write that down first. Start in the middle if that's what you have to do. I find that, once I start writing, it's a lot easier to get the rest of the words out. Then, as you write, don't get tripped up if you don't know the best way to word something. If you get stuck somewhere, skip it. Make a note to yourself to come back to it, and just keep going. Write the other parts that you have some idea where to go with. Know exactly what you're trying to say but don't know how exactly to word it? Write a shitty sentence that sums up what you want to happen so that you can remember that that's what you want, and make a note to come back and fix it later. Seeing a pattern? Just get your thoughts out in whatever way you need to -- then come back and fix it all up once you've at least got something to work with. I find that to be a lot easier than letting myself get stuck on the first sentence of a post.
    • Personally, I like to write on paper. I don't know why, but, physically writing the words out with a pen and paper just seems to help me concentrate better than typing them out on a computer (and, yes, doing this in addition to the above method does become incredibly messy -- but it doesn't matter, because it works for me and I'm the only one who's going to have to see it in that messy state). Perhaps you could try it and see if it helps? Failing that, just do whatever you think will work to help you concentrate a bit better. It might take a bit of experimentation to see what works and what doesn't, but, yeah, once you've got it down? Just stick with what works. Doesn't matter how weird or unconventional it may seem to be if it works for you.
    I'd offer more advice, but, unfortunately, that's about all I got as far as things that I can actually recommend, since the biggest and most helpful thing I can do to remedy my own concentration problems is simply to take my meds. :/ That said: if you truly think there's some sort of mental issue preventing you from posting (which I agree could very well be the case, since you say you're inspired and have ideas and want to post, but just can't for some reason), I do recommend that you see a professional about it if possible. Could be hugely helpful for you.
  8. I'm on more medications than I can count. :( I'm currently going back and forth with my doctor about new symptoms that may be making things worse, but I'm Certified Crazy, no doubt. I actually tried taking Ativan to see if it would help with my anxiety and therefore contribute to concentration, but that didn't work (for potentially obvious reasons.) Also, I definitely don't want to get into the habit of taking Ativan for any reason, haha. I guess I feel bad because the whole "I can't concentrate right now/my brain is broken" shtick can go on for months, and I end up just digging myself into a hole of shame. You're right about being able to say "I'm not well" is quite liberating, but I still feel ashamed and guilty about it QQ.

    I totally do the "writing in pieces" thing, though! That's basically the only way I can write anything at all haha. If I get a line in my head, I write it down, and add things from there. I might try writing on paper. I look through old notebooks of mine where I wrote on for ages; maybe that would help.

    Thank you for the response (not just you, everyone). <3 It's encouraging to know that there are others with dumb brains that impact their productivity.
  9. :/ Well... Here's hoping things get better for you, then. I suppose the only advice I can suggest from here is that there's nothing wrong with taking medication if you do find something that works for you. It's totally ok if you need it to just think like a normal person and get things done for once. @_@

    But, we're delving into more personal territory, now. You can PM me if you want to talk more about this, but uh, yeah, most I can really do for now is just wish you the best of luck. :/
  10. I try to shut out all outside distractions when I really need to write something.

    And sometimes, I have music or sound playing to help me out. What music or sound it is may depend on the mood of what I'm writing.

    If I'm writing a fight scene, I'll be playing video game 'boss battle' music. If it's a quiet conversation between people wondering what they're going to do, I'll play some more relaxing music. If it's a really sad scene, I'll play some really sad music.

    Or maybe I'll have ambient sounds playing like wind, rain, trains, and so on. Such things might help me to focus.

    But yes, a lot of the other responders have good suggestions as well.
  11. Music helps me, a lot actually. Before I sit down to write I will listen to a specific piece of music while playing in my head how I want scenes to go or what characters may say so when it does come time for me to write I have a general idea where to go. Reading inspires me too. Nothing like a good book to make for some inspiration.
  12. Honestly writing blocks suck, specially when you have to write a script in a few weeks ;-;
  13. How structured is your current existence? If you are having trouble with sitting and starting you may have some executive function issues (anxiety and other mental illness can also exacerbate executive dysfunction). I find that I'm most productive when I have a very structured life and I've come to the conclusion that motivation is actually more like a momentum. The more you do, the easier it is to do more, and suddenly it's relatively easy to sit down and write on the alloted time.

  14. I usually try to take breaks if nothing is being produced at that particular moment. If I'm feeling inspirational and create- well, I start up 8tracks and select a playlist fitting for the character(s) I'm currently writing for. I find it easier to write for them once I have some mood to go by or even a little scenario that could be going on in that particular time frame. ​
  15. I usually listen to a certain type of music, something like classical or ambiance. It helps me thinks clearer.
  16. It's very simple for me. When I sit down to do fuck-all and think about nothing, one of two things floats into my head. 1) Crap to write or 2) Food to cook. Of course, some music helps the mood.
  17. I can't NOT post here.

    To get myself into the mood to write, I tend to listen to music I can't understand that makes me happy, and then I write. There is no 'just write'. It's hard to start. Really dang hard.

    However, in my experience, the only way to want to keep writing is to do so. Set it up so that if you're writing, you end with something you've been looking forward to—a post in an RP you adore, a scene you've been waiting weeks to write, even if it's just writing smut, fighting, a graphic description of someone eating ramen while they try to ignore someone who's making dinner awkward, or fluff, write something fun at the end of your writing session, and make that your reward. You'll train your brain to enjoy writing for writing's sake, and you'll find it a lot easier to 'get in the mood' if, going in, you know you're going to do something amazing and enjoyable at the end.


    Also, don't rely on crap like muses. Inspiration is fine, but don't rely on it to get writing done. There is no magical force inside you that wants to be a writer—it has to be you, and you can absolutely do it once you realize that writing is not magic. Writing is a skill that takes work and effort to master, and even if you only write fifty words, if you do so on a day when you don't feel like you 'have the muse' or 'are inspired', then know this: I'm proud as shit of you.

    Be a strong independent writer who don't need no muse! ♥
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