by Lillian Csernica on August 9, 2013
We’ve all had the problem of sitting there staring at the notebook, keyboard, etc. and feeling no excitement, no fire, no surge of words that launches us into the day’s word count. We’ve been up against that dreaded condition known as “I’m not in the mood.”
It’s horrible. All the avoidance behaviors attack. Concentration seems impossible. Every idea sounds trite. The harder we struggle, the more time and energy we waste. We’re told we have to fight our way through no matter what if we want to be genuine professionals.
Allow me to make a somewhat gentler suggestion. If we’re not in the mood to write, then let’s do something that will get us to that place where we can start writing. If cognitive behavioral therapy has taught me anything, it has taught me that I can change my mind. I can also change my mood by encouraging/stimulating/provoking the emotions that will help me get to where I need to be. When it comes to writing, the first state is willingness. The second state is enthusiasm. The third state is actual productivity.
Here are some methods to change your mood, alter your state of consciousness, and get your creative energies moving:
Music: You’re tense, agitated, restless, maybe even angry. Put on something soothing. Violins, harp music, even a child’s lullaby CD. Sit down or lie down, relax, and breathe. Slow deep breaths will do a lot for you just by themselves. Feeling lethargic, depressed, apathetic? Classic rock. Sousa marches. Hot jazz. Whatever will get you up and moving and make your spirits soar! For more in-depth information on how music can affect your mood, read this.
Change your physical state: How’s your blood sugar? Eat something if you need it. Drink water. Don’t make caffeine your go-to solution. That can mess with your sleep patterns and start a vicious cycle. Take a cold shower. Take a hot bath. Get out of your daytime clothes and put on your sweat or your bathrobe. Get some exercise for twenty to thirty minutes, then take the shower and put on the bathrobe! The point is to get some motion going on the physical sensation level that will activate a corresponding change on the mental and emotional level.
Change your environment: Move to a different room. The amount of natural light available can make a big difference. Get out completely and run for those time-honored havens, the library, the bookstore, or the coffeehouse. Better yet, go to the park or some place of outdoor beauty where you can get your sunshine fix while you write. Don’t overlook the possibilities of changing the olfactory component of your environment. Is there a scent that will stir up memories, get you all charged up, or provide the soothing balm that’s needed? Citrus scents are good, spices like cinnamon evoke the holidays, and many people find lavender to have a calmative effect. I recommend reading 6 Scents That Can Transform Your Mood and Productivity.
Laugh: Whether it’s Bugs Bunny cartoons or a Jeeves and Wooster novel or the vast array on YouTube of people doing really stupid (and life-threatening) things, watch it or read it or play it. Laughing does all kinds of good things for the body and mind. For more details on why it really is the best medicine, read this.
A ten minute free write: Write about everything standing between you and that day’s writing. Blow it out of proportion. Scream, rant, rail, blame your genes and your neighbors and the dog that barks late at night. Push it so far and so hard you end up on the other side, laughing at the absurdity of the extremes you’ve conjured.
Don’t sit by the metaphorical phone waiting for your Muse to call. Don’t feel like writing? Not in the mood? DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!