I recently had someone ask me via Facebook how I dealt with those days when I just didn’t feel like writing. They wanted to know if this even happened to me, and if so, what do I do to get over it?
I don’t listen to music while I write, but I do listen to music to get in the mood for writing. I only do this when I feel like I need a boost. And I listen to heavy-hitting stuff to get in the mood. The way I motivate myself to get past the procrastination and get to writing is to get angry at my reluctance, my fear, that niggling doubt that tells me I’m not good enough. I try to shout down this inner voice and build up the confidence of the scared little artist that lives deep inside me and who is almost always terrified of coming out.
My favorite tune for getting angry at my reluctance is an Eminem song that directly deals with this. I remember listening to this song on my way down the mountain from Boone. As I navigated the twisty roads south of Blowing Rock, and my ears were popping from the drop in altitude, I jammed this song and thought about all the meetings I was getting ready to have with publishers. I was flying to New York to meet my agent, and I was hip-deep in the SHIFT books, and I could see my life at this crossroads. My fear told me to give up. To stop while I was ahead. But my inner little artist was shouting at me that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and what was I going to do with it?
Listen to this with the volume up when you’re asking yourself if you feel like putting in the work today:
This next song is by Macklemore and Ryan and is a good one to listen to and remember where we are in our artistic journeys:
But maybe the most effective song for me is my strangest choice. I love Rage Against the Machine. Their song “Killing in the Name Of” is not about being creative. It’s about power, police violence, racism, and much more important things than conquering our artistic resistance. But at the 4:00 mark, when Zack starts shouting, “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me,” over and over again, I can sing this at the top of my lungs and feel myself shouting down my doubts and pessimism. I’ve done this so many times to this song, and it gets me through my doubts and my desire to procrastinate. Strange, but effective.
The same things won’t work for different people. This is just what I do to overcome my fears and doubts. What about you?