A common problem writers experience is the lack of motivation or inspiration to actually write. They may have every intention to make progress on their masterpiece, but simply opening a blank Word document feels like an enormous task. There are several tricks I’ve learned to combat this problem, but today I’m going to focus on what I think is the biggest cause of this lack of motivation: location.
Are you trying to write, but the inspiration just isn’t coming to you? Look around. What are your surroundings? Personally, I can’t accomplish anything if I’m sitting in my bed with the heat of my laptop burning through my sheets. So if I actually want to get something done, I have to get out of my room. My favorite place to go to write is a small, local coffee shop. I can just sit there for hours with the best coffee ever, surrounded by wonderful pieces by local artists, and the words flow much more easily. Experiment with the coffee shops your area has to offer. See which provides the best atmosphere to stimulate your creativity. If your area is lacking in cute, indie coffee shops, try Starbucks! Some people find Starbucks to be an excellent place to write, despite its lack of hipster cred.
Or maybe coffee shops aren’t the best fit for you. I know plenty of people who prefer to go outside. When the weather permits it, beaches and parks are popular places for writers to get in the proper mood to be productive. Set yourself up on a bench, picnic table, or blanket, or see how this new environment affects your creative output.
Go to a library or bookshop. Not every small bookshop has a nook for you to chill with a laptop or notebook for a while, but there’s always, at least, Barnes and Noble. Libraries and bookshops are great places to write because they’re (usually) quiet, and you’re surrounded by the very thing you’re trying to create, which I find hugely motivating. If I don’t feel like spending money on a cup of coffee, this is usually my second choice for a writing location.
Maybe you’re not in the mood to go out, and you’d just really prefer to stay home and write today. I’ve found that the only way I can be productive at home is if I set up a specific place to write. I don’t yet have an office or a writing desk (one day–the dream is alive), so I clear off whatever flat, table-like surface is accessible and most conveniently located (usually my vanity is the best option). When I say I “clear it off,” I mean I make it spotless. I remove every miscellaneous item that has taken residence upon it, I wipe it down to get rid of any dust that has accumulated, and if I feel it’s necessary for whatever mood I’m in, I’ll even clear out a drawer and dedicate it to items that are relevant to my progress (pens and other stationery, notes, any pieces of art I’ve collected for inspiration, etc.). Only after I’ve completely set up a space that is purely for writing can I sit down and get to work. I make much more progress this way than I would if I were to remain in my bed, but it usually does not produce the same level of results as if I get out of the house altogether.
And finally, as Leslie Knope so rightly advises: “If you have the ability to go to Paris, by all means, go to Paris.”