When Your Heart Isn’t In It

Let me know if this has ever happened to you: You set aside some time to sit and write.  You think for the few hours beforehand about what it is you are going to spend your time working on, you toy with ideas for prose in your head.  The time comes to sit and write, you get your notebook and pen or your laptop or whatever it is you use all set up and ready, maybe pour a cup of coffee or tea, grab a snack, whatever.  You get ready to write, aaaaaaand….

Your heart isn’t there.  You’re not feeling it.  You idly punch up a sentence or two, hate it, delete it or scratch it out, try again.  It’s just not going anywhere.  Maybe it was something that happened during the day that you just can’t get off your mind.  Maybe you’re just feeling a funk and don’t know how to overcome it.  Maybe you’re just tired.  Maybe it’s nothing other than a simply lack of interest in the activity.

What do you do?  How do you make it a productive moment even when you can hardly muster the energy or will to write a whole paragraph?  All the while the siren song of some other activity, be it watching TV, reading a book, or simply just sleeping, is drawing at you more powerfully every moment you sit and stare at your lack of creativity.

If this has never happened to you, I’m not sure we have much to talk about here, but if you can relate, I’d like to hear your thoughts.  The last couple weeks have been full of these kinds of moments for me.  It could just be the general business of this time of year or perhaps it’s the changing weather patterns, I don’t know, but my writing times have been incredibly unproductive.  I’m interested in strategies for overcoming this problem.  If you’ve got some, please share.


5 thoughts on “When Your Heart Isn’t In It

  1. I’m there right now, Brandon. There’s a couple of things I do when I can’t write: 1) Get out of my routine–I go find something I don’t normally do and do it (last night, for example, I baked cookies from scratch; 2) Free write–stream of consciousness writing. I love free writing. It usually shows me what’s blocking me and then I can figure out how to get rid of the block.

    Also, the oncoming winter does a great job of smothering creative juices. Fight back! Get something new to read, listen to, heck even something new to look at!

  2. I’ve got days like that as well — entire dry spells where I have a hard time writing anything. Usually, like Annabeth, I either try switching what I’m writing — including genre — or simply free write.

    Or I change WHEN I’m writing — I usually do my writing in the evening. Well, perhaps it’s time for me to put in a morning session to shake things up. Unfortunately, that usually means having to wait for a weekend to have that oportunity, but it’s usualyl worth it.

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