Don’t Wait for the Mood to Strike to Write

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

For me, writing is a way to process the world around me.
I began writing
like most of you did—as a creative outlet—a way to process the world around
me. 
I kept diaries,
started stories and books, played around with articles. But all of these
efforts had one thing in common. They were written out of my own emotional
overflow. When that overflow dried up, so did the words.
Fast forward
many years, to one of my first professional jobs. I worked as technical writer,
composing instructions for a publishing company. Again, I got to work with
words, but this time they were precise. My goal was plain, visual words that
would allow someone to follow directions to an end result. There wasn’t any
emotion involved, except for the thrill I got from managing words.
Now skip ahead
again a few years, once I got my kids to a manageable age. I had a driving
ambition to make writing my full-time position. But I wanted more than a position
writing instructions. I wanted the emotion back in my words. So I turned to
fiction as my artistic outlet, and used freelance writing for my
bread-and-butter writing.
I hit a wall until I figured out how to write
when I was NOT in the mood.
This was when I
hit a wall. I couldn’t figure out how to get the emotion in my writing unless I
was in the mood to write. How did professional writers do that? The
question left me stumped, and I began to research how working writers churned
out all those beautiful words, no matter what was happening around them.
They had
learned the secret of getting past writing only when they were in the mood, and
into the discipline of writing whether they felt like it or not.
Wow. That
seemed an awful lot like work, as opposed to art.
And that simple
revelation is the foundation that all working writers build on. We write when
we feel like it and we write when we don’t.
It’s both that
simple and that difficult.
And it takes some
practice. So here are a few tips to help you move forward if you find yourself not
in the mood
to write.
Write on a schedule.
1. Write on
a Schedule.
You’ll read a
lot of advice that says you must write every day. I think that’s good, if it’s
an option. But for some it just isn’t. But what you can do is schedule your
writing. This will build your writing muscles so they don’t fail you when you
need them most.
2. Write in
a lot of different disciplines.
Don’t just stick with fiction or articles or essays. Force yourself
to try new things. What you learn will prove invaluable, no matter what your
writing focus becomes.
3. Find a
Writing Group or Partner.

I know it’s scary, but it’s necessary if you want to move ahead. Getting honest
critique can help you with a lot of things.
First, it gives
you some much needed perspective. Writers have two opinions about their
writing—it’s either genius or it sucks. And these two extremes are almost
always false.
Second, it
forces you to improve. No one likes to hear what they’ve done wrong, but that’s
one of the most important things we need to grow as writer.
Third, it makes
us brave. If your goal is to become a working writer you need to be querying
and submitting. This is the first step.
Set some goals.
4. Set Some
Goals.
I used to resist
setting goals. I’m much more of a go-with-the-creative-flow type person. But
after five years of spinning my wheels I finally gave in. When I did my career
took off.
5. Send
Regular Submissions.
When
I first started as a working writer, my rejections outnumbered my acceptances
about nine to one. Getting that many rejections between acceptances is
depressing, at leas for me. So I turned the process upside down. I began
setting goals for the number of rejections I got each month. To reach that
goal, I had to send out submissions. So I turned a defeat into victory.
6. Invest in
Your Writing.
Yes, money
is part of that, but it’s not all I’m talking about. Spend time reading writing
books, writing blogs, attending workshops and classes, and going to
conferences. Chances are most of you are like me, and going back to college for
a creative writing degree isn’t really an option. Learning on your own will
become college. You’ll get a practical education that will stand you in good
stead as you navigate the path to working writer.

These are the things
I’ve done to move from wanna-be to working writer. What has helped you?

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month. She’s the co-director of the Blue Ridge Mountains ChristianWriters Conference and the Social Media Mentor at My Book Therapy. She’s also the Military Family Blogger at Guideposts. Com, Social Media Director for SouthernWriters Magazine and the Senior Editor for NovelRocket.com. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t miss her new book from Worthy Inspired, coming in May WHILE MY SOLDIER SERVES.