A lot of advice will tell you that if you want to be a writer, you simply have to sit down and make yourself write, whether or not you are in the mood for it. I agree with this advice, though I don’t agree that you should take your mood as is. There are things–plenty of them–that you can do to improve your mood for writing. I’m going to talk about some of the tricks that I use. I find that when I do these things, I not only write faster and feel better about what I’ve written, I also enjoy it more. And I write because I enjoy it. If you don’t enjoy writing, stop.
Music is an incredible portal into a person’s mind. The right music can do incredible things for your mindset. Many people have specific playlists set up, which they use depending on the tone of the scene they want to write. This is great, and radio stations like Pandora are excellent for this. I, personally, have an incredibly high sensitivity to noise and can not concentrate when music is playing. However, I often take 10-15 minutes before a writing sessions and listen to some of my favorite music. The best piece, I have found, is “Misty Mountains Cold” from the Hobbit movie. This piece just speaks adventure to me in a way that not much else does. I also enjoy really, really good classical music, and movie soundtracks from adventure/fun/action/epic movies.
Imagery is another incredibly powerful tool. I have several favorite images that I enjoy looking at. In particular, book covers for some of my favorite books. One of my desktops is blank except for the background, which currently alternates between the covers for A Memory of Light, The Way of Kings, Words of Radiance, and the painting, “Doña Juana la Loca.” I am also going to start, very soon, keeping a file of “awesome images” that I’ll browse for inspiration. Over the past few weeks, I’ve also been reading/viewing and enjoying Brian McClellan’s Weekly Inspiration series (1, 2, 3). It often helps to have an image when writing a beautiful scene, too, and I honestly wish I was an artist sometimes, just so I could make sketches. (Some of the fan art I’ve seen is incredible.)
Reading. Reading is perhaps the best mood setter and motivator. If you’re just starting out, and trying to imitate someone’s style, read books by them before you write. If you’re going for a tone or a genre for your book–or even a single scene, read books in that genre, or with that tone before you write. I’m not saying that you should try to break them down and see exactly how the author is doing what they’re doing, though that’s a great tool for learning from the best. No, I’m saying that you should read something, maybe just a scene, that excites you and makes you think, “I want to write something like this! Let’s get to work!”
In general, if I don’t feel motivated to write, or I’m stuck in a tough spot, sometimes my favorite podcasts help. They don’t help, usually, with a specific scene or mood for the book, just with my writing mood in general. My favorite podcasts for writing are, of course, Writing Excuses and I Should be Writing. Often after listening, I will be in a much better mood, having basically received a personal pep-talk/advice session from some of my heroes.
The goal of all the above methods is not, specifically, to make you a better writer, though some of them will do that. Instead, it’s to try to get you (Read: Me) away from the mindset of “Ugh, I have to write now?” and into thinking, “I WANT TO GO WRITE!” If I can achieve this, well… Then I go write. 🙂 And writing is the best way to get better at writing, so if nothing else, in that way, you could argue that doing any of the above, or whatever other method works for you, will improve your writing in the long run. So go get motivated, and then go write!