What does it take to get you writing? 5 things that get my tuchas in the chair when I don’t want to write

It didn’t even wait until Fall Back: I’ve been in the dragging, low-creativity state that usually hits me at this time of year for weeks already. It’s not really full-blown SAD, thank G-d, but it’s more a fog in which I feel low-energy and short on ideas. My mood’s okay, just kinda blah. I don’t feel like doing much except curl up with a book and eat chocolate and hang out with Mr. Klempner.

When this feeling first hit, the week after Sukkos, I had so many appointments (long delayed check-ups, for example) and errands I’d put off until after the holidays (new headbands, anyone?) that I didn’t have much time to sit down and write. But after a week or two, those things were taken care of, and I had time to sit at the computer.

Nothing doing. I felt limp. Sleepy. About as creative as a stone.

I’m still feeling that way this week, but today, I was shockingly productive. Why?

Because being a writer is about writing. And the number one way to write is to just stick your tush in the chair and do it.

5 Things That Get My Tuchas in the Chair When I Don’t Really Feel Like Writing:

  1. My writing group – They’re coming…those WRITERS. And they expect me to share something during our critique group! When we’ve got a meeting coming up, I know I’d better get something, anything, ready to share with the other members of my writing group. Lesson: Joining a writing group (or taking a writing class) might make you write.
  2. I feel strongly about something – I might not publish too many rants, but I can still write them in my journal. Or sometimes something happens to me that is just WEIRD. A couple nights ago, I had a really, really peculiar dream. The kind of thing that makes you say, “Man, that was CUH-RAY-ZEE!” when you wake up. I took twenty minutes the next morning to write it down. Lesson: If you feel annoyed, puzzled, excited, or nervous, that’s a good place to start.
  3. I’m following directions – My friend Ilana T. turned to me at a meeting and said, “You should pitch a story to X about Y.” So I did. And now…
  4. I have a deadline – There are few things to inspire me to write like knowing I’ll get paid, if I just turn the story in when it’s due. Lessons: Let the ideas come to you. And if no one else gives you a deadline, create one yourself.
  5. Trade in the same-old, same-old – I’m not generally-speaking a poet, but since no one expects any of my poems to be good, reach a certain word count, or even be published, it creates a low-pressure atmosphere. And no one cares if I am silly. Last week, I wrote a poem entitled, “Making a Left Turn in L.A.” I kid you not. And while I’m on a deadline (actually 2) this week, it’s not for something truly creative (short story, novel, picture book), but for something that uses more organization and research (a feature and a book review). Lesson: writing anything counts as writing, even if it isn’t what you THINK you should be writing.

So, what does it take to get you writing? Please share your answers in the comments.

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