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How to get yourself into the proper mindset for writing

Republished from Creative Writing and Insane Literature: advice on creative writing and interesting books, February 16, 2023.

Imagine yourself sitting in front of your laptop with a blank page on your screen. You have a paper due in a few days, and you need to start working on it. You want to start writing, but you just can’t stop procrastinating. 

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If you’re anything like me, this has happened to you more than once. Most people that write have a few tricks to get themselves into the mood for writing. Some kind of routine or mood that they set up to begin writing. For me, it’s partly about motivation. In an interview with George R.R. Martin, Stephen King mentions setting goals for himself. Every day, King tries to write six pages of a short story to keep himself motivated. 

Based on his book How to Write a Novel, Nathan Bransford summarizes his answer to writing issues in two words: keep writing. However, based on my own experience, there’s more to it than motivation or forcing yourself to write.

If you’re going to start writing, you should always write with an intent behind it. Whether it be to start writing the introduction to your paper or the opening lines to your story, always have a goal in mind. You’re wasting your time if whatever you put on paper that day is deleted the next because it was garbage. 

Having intention behind your writing can help to motivate you to start writing. However, no one size fits all when getting yourself ready to start writing. Let me know what tricks and routines you use to get yourself in the mood to write in the comment section below.