Reluctant or forced writers need to get beyond the negatives that keep them from wanting to write. Too often, such writers have gotten stuck at the “I’ve got to do this or fail this course/lose my job” level of motivation. And let’s face it, fear and resentment do not bring out anyone’s most creative impulses, except in the realm of escaping the compulsion.
If you want to approach writing with excitement, or at least the possibility of enjoying the process, start by figuring out how you communicate best. If you love talking to a single friend, in person or on the telephone, perhaps you can jumpstart your writing project by dictating as though you’re explaining the subject to that friend. If you’re willing to “train” the software, programs exist that transform dictation into text as you talk. How cool is that?
Other people have strong preferences for pen or pencil on actual paper. Me, I need the speed of keyboard to keep up with my mental dictation when I’m on a roll. I do still write most of my poems on paper, at least for the first draft, but that’s as much a reflection of where I write them (in church, at a folk concert, etc.) as media preference. Plus, I write poems word-by-word so speed of transcription doesn’t make such a difference.
I am still looking for the perfect portable interface for writing when I feel like creating prose. In a pinch, I will still jot notes on paper to type up later. Mostly, I move between using (or at least saving to) a desktop with cloud backup (my server/archive), the larger, heavy laptop that doesn’t actually move much anymore because of incipient screen failure but still has Photoshop loaded on it (because I do use photos with my posts), and the little Fujitsu tablet I’m writing on now. Its biggest advantage: small enough to carry around and battery life sufficient for a couple of hours writing even if I’m not near an outlet.
Some people need visuals to communicate: doodles or storyboards or some other form of illustration. (Maybe some of my pen and paper friends are directional doodlers as well?) If you, think in pictures perhaps you should be looking for, or creating your own, visuals before you start trying to find words. You could use stick figures, sketches or rough charts to remind you of what you intend to say, or you might provide yourself concept drawings or even finished pictures or photos to illustrate your finished writing.
I’ve heard that some writers need an appropriate aural background, whether that be waves in a beach through the cottage window or Death Cab for Cutie blaring on the iPod. I can’t speak from experience on this one because once I get writing, I don’t hear anything. My family can attest to this.
Place may be important for you. I’m pretty flexible about that but I hate people looking over my shoulder as I write. You may be like me, writing anywhere, or you may need to dedicate a special place just for writing: desk, chair, room or whatever.
Pay attention to how you feel when writing. When you notice yourself writing (or having written) easily or happily, think about why writing was easier. Did your surroundings make the difference? What you were writing about? What you were writing with? As much as possible, recreate these conditions the next time you want to (need to) write and see if that helps.
Of course, even when you enjoy writing, writing well takes work, but that’s a topic for another post.