If you read my last (slightly doom-and-gloom) post, you might know that I’ve been struggling to motivate myself recently — to write, to work, to do most things (except to eat… I’m always ready to eat). Initially I was letting this get me down, but I’ve thought about it, and realised: if your brain doesn’t want to comply, sometimes you just need to let it be. But if it’s being too stubborn, sometimes there are ways to trick it.
Take writing, for example. Sometimes even the things that are supposed to be fun and enjoyable seem like chores. Yet most writers recommend writing everyday if you want to improve.
How can you do this if your brain is telling you to stay in bed until 2 p.m. to stare at the endless void that is the Internet?
Trick yourself into it. Write without letting your brain know you’re writing, in the following ways:
1. Post-it note stories
Forget filling a blank page, how about covering the surface of a post-it note first? I don’t know about you, but the prospect of an empty document or a fresh notebook page can be daunting, especially if I’m feeling empty of ideas. In comparison, a post-it note seems like a much more comfortable step to begin with.
Because it’s nothing official like putting pen to the perfect page of a new notebook, you can doodle, scribble, try whatever your heart desires. Maybe challenge yourself to tell a whole story within the limited space, or see if you can fill the note without saying anything at all. Doodle with your eyes closed and then tell the story around your drawing. If an idea begins to blossom, you can always advance to the next step: the revision card.
*Cue dramatic music* | Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash
2. Tales of post-its past
If you’re having trouble even filling out a post-it note, worry not. Try taking a look at notes you’ve written before, whether those are reminders, shopping lists, whatever. Instead of starting from scratch, change one aspect of something you’ve previously written. Maybe your shopping list suddenly has dragon meat; or your reminder mysteriously instructs you to hire a fruit juggler. Take the story from there: what would happen next?