Tell Your Mood to F*ck Off, Push Your Mind Harder, and Create
I found that if I have to wait to “be in the mood” to produce, I would never get anything done
I know a few of you will disagree with me. “But Jason. You can’t force the creative process!” or, “If you have to force it, you shouldn’t be blogging in the first place!” I can see the comments when I publish this sucker.
A lot of people write for the pure joy and ecstasy of it. They write to free their mind and stretch their artistic muscles. While I aspire to be that way, I can’t truthfully say it is how writing and blogging are for me.
I blog for three reasons:
- To earn money
- For therapy
- In the hopes that my stories can help another person get through difficult circumstances
I write a lot about mental health and how to overcome obstacles keeping you back in life. I write about blogging and entrepreneurship. I write about my family, my travels, and how to get a better life.
I write what I know.
I know why I have not been a smashing success and shot up to $10K a month on Medium — because I write about myself too much. Instead of writing about what’s in it for my audience, I write more “How to Survive if Your Life is Shit” pieces. Good-looking self-help gurus are much more marketable than the steaming pile of dooky that has been me and my life for 52 years.
I know I’m not where I want to be on Medium because I cannot fully embrace the listicle or the “10 Quotes from Elon Musk that will Make You A Better Writer” post.
It’s just not me, and even though I have “making money” as my number one reason for blogging, I can’t force myself to write clickbait headlines and vanilla pudding content.
Because the fact is that most times, I have to force myself to sit down and write, and I can’t push myself to write junk I don’t believe in.
You have to understand what is going on in my mind right now:
Voices are screaming at the top of their lungs, back and forth to each other, and the topic is me and what a shit writer I am. The voices are spouting the ugliest and most hateful things about me and my failure to do anything with my life. In the background, and equally noisy, I hear all the sounds from throughout my day playing at the same time at full-blast.
And, sitting in a little corner is my inner Jason — the voice that narrates my life moment by moment- the muse that helps me put words to the page.
My muse gets beaten and battered but takes it all with a smile on his face. He knows I have to be tough on him and not let him fall victim to the crap going on behind him. As exhausted as he is from putting up with the racket 24 hours a day, I still have to be firm with him so that I can write.
He wants to be comfortable and only write when inspired or in the mood. But I know him. If I wait until he is in the perfect mindset to create, I will be waiting forever, and my life will stagnate.
So I encourage and even raise my voice, even though I know he is doing his best. I crack the whip when he doesn’t wake up, and I push and prod him to keep his eyes open.
I promise him a long vacation somewhere with snow, wine, and every delicious kind of food he dreams about in his chubby little dreams.
I don’t have the privilege to wait until I am in the mood to write. I have to push, and thankfully when I do, the words flow out of me, through my hands, and onto the page. Once I start to write, everything falls into place.
Once I’ve written the first 200 words, the rest is effortless. The voices and the noise retreat to the back of my mind, and I can feel the creative juices flowing.
That is how it happened a short time ago when I sat down to write. My muse was desperately trying to pull the blanket over his head and sleep, claiming depression, and saying his anxiety wouldn’t allow him to think. But I kicked him awake and started with one sentence, then a paragraph, and now here I am a half-hour later with almost 800 words.
Forcing it may not work for everyone, but it works for me. And, if you are dealing with a situation where you get blocked, and you can’t get your muse to cooperate, pushing yourself may be the boost you need to get over the hill.
I hear so much from writers who can’t understand how I can write so much. They don’t know how I can knock out 3000 words in a few hours every day. I get many people asking how they can start being more creative and producing quality work with little effort.
For me, all the effort is in the beginning. Getting past the depression and anxiety and pushing back the noise and voices take a Herculean effort. But, as I said, once I start, it’s magic.
Yes, sometimes you have to push yourself to write a 1000-word blog post. In the beginning, you may hate it, but once you oil the gears, and get the ice thawed from your brain, writing should be a joy for you.
I smile more when I am writing than at any other time. When I drop a unique word or a smart turn of phrase, I get tickled and end up reading it over and over. I still look at writing as a gift, and the fact that I can put the things in my head down on paper is mind-bending and gratifying.
I have never been as good at anything as I am at writing, and it makes me happy and fulfilled.
So I push myself to create and produce because I know it is all I want to do. My mind and muse just need to have the jumper-cables attached to their nipples once in a while.
There is no need to be as brutal on yourself as I am, but a little tough love can go a long way. Maybe you got home from a long day at work, or you have been chasing the baby around all day. Your mind tells you it wants wine and Netflix, but you have to be firm and push it in the right direction.
It can help to remember how you feel when you are in the flow and creating without thinking. When the words are gushing out, there is no better feeling in the world than seeing the blank page turn black with letters.
Maybe you don’t have a beat-up muse in your head, cringing from the pain all around him or her, but there may be a lost little kid in there that wants a little direction and someplace to go.
So even if it doesn’t sound like fun in the beginning, push yourself to be creative. If you have writer’s block, you have to break that barrier.
Don’t still there scrolling through Facebook and procrastinating — start putting words on the page.
Once you start doing that, you will feel amazed at what you can do. It’s possible to write 5000+ words in one night if you push and focus, and you get to the point where your mind is working so fast that your fingers can’t keep up.
You can finish two Medium stories a day or three blog posts. You can crush your NaNoWriMo goal for the day and get ahead of the curve.
You can do anything you want to do as long as you are willing to push yourself a little harder to create and produce.
Tell your mood to fuck off and just do it.