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Writing isn't a mood

I would always wait to be in the “mood” to write. In practice this meant that I rarely wrote at all.

My husband is trained in classical opera. My building is undergoing renovation. I have a full time job. I’m in grad school. The environment and schedule aren’t always conducive.

Get in the mood

Once I realized I wasn’t writing as much as I’d like, I tried to control the mood as much as I could. For me, the perfect setup looks like this: a comfy chair at my desk, a fresh cup of coffee, a bowl of berries or nuts, my wordless playlist in the background, a rainstorm outside.

Turns out I can’t control the weather. I can’t control a lot, actually; sometimes I’m just too busy, or too tired, or, even if the conditions are right, I’m just not feeling it.

Yes, this setup helps. I try to make myself as comfortable as I can when I’m sitting with the intention of doing some longer-form writing. But it’s not always possible.

Write anyway

I’ve read a lot of books about writing. (Like, a stupid amount, actually. I’m pretty sure it was a form of procrastination more than anything.) And I usually got frustrated halfway through each one because the advice could be summed up by the Nike slogan. Just do it.

I mean, not exactly life changing. But if you want to write, you need to…write. It’s not able having written. The act of writing is incredibly cathartic for me. Since we’re talking about moods anyway, writing puts me into a good one. It’s a consequence, not a prerequisite. So why am I expecting to be in a great mood before I sit at my desk?

I’m not always in the mood to go into work, or to run to the grocery store, or (or, or or)…But I (usually) do so anyway because, ya know, life. Being an adult, understanding that some things just need to get done.

I don’t ever want writing to be a checkbox on my to-do list, but it reminds me of going to the gym. Do I want to? Hardly ever. Am I glad when I do? Immensely. It feels good to go, it’s good for me, I feel good afterwards, etc.

No, seriously. Write anyway.

I‘d like to say I just forced myself into better habits through sheer force of will, but I think it was a mix of things.

  1. The cold realization that I’d virtually stopped personal writing

  2. The deadlines for MFA pieces that meant I had to write whether I wanted to or not

  3. The annoying fact that sometimes discipline is necessary even for the things we love


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