On some days writing comes easily–we sit down, we have a list of topics to cover, and we get down to work. But on other days (like today for me), the thought of sitting down to write travel articles just doesn’t get me going at all. It can be fatigue, emotional turmoil, boredom. But I don’t get paid just to show up… I get paid with results. So on days like this, when it’s hard to concentrate, I do one (or many) of these things to get me going.
Do some yoga poses
Yoga benefits your mind, not only your body. Consciously relaxing and letting your mind go as you take deep breaths can help dissipate whatever’s bothering you. You can perform the classic sun salutations or follow a routine of your choice.
Listen to brain wave music
If yoga isn’t for you, you can try listening to brain wave music. My personal favourite is BrainSync by Kelly Howell. The brain waves imbedded in the music or ambiance sounds can help you focus, activate your creativity or deepen your insight. I was skeptical at first, but I quickly realized how effective it is.
Peter Elbow, a well-known composition theorist and proponent of freewriting, argues that
freewriting gets you going, gets you writing, makes it much easier to begin. With freewriting, “starting to write” means just blurting out first thoughts, musings, and perplexities, starting anywhere–not trying to write a draft. (Everyone Can Write 86)
Freewriting can help you get rid of the mental obstacles between you and your writing. Try turning off your screen while you type for added “freedom” from the look of words.
Take a walk
Sometimes, just nothing will do. When the words don’t come, when freewriting doesn’t break through your sluggishness, sometimes a bit of fresh air can help clear your mind. Try to think about what you have to write as you walk–not about why you can’t write. You’ll come back to your screen refreshed and ready to tackle your tasks.
Take a day off
Unless you have something due that very day, there’s nothing wrong in taking a day off if absolutely nothing works. Sometimes, our brain just needs to rest or deal with the internal turmoil before it’s able to concentrate on work again. I call them my “mental health days”.
It took me all day to write this post; I came back to it every few hours or so. It’s also the only writing I’ve done today. Writing those posts takes me away from my turbulent thoughts while letting me write without constraints of topic, word count or keywords.
What do you do when you’re not in the mood to write?