Writing Is a Mental Game

Posted September 4, 2014 by Amanda Shofner in Writing / 0 Comments


Yup. I’ll say this forever and ever: writing is a mental game

After writing 500 words per weekday in July, I developed a block. Something about reaching 500 words became a chore. I stopped as soon as I reached it. I dropped the number to 400 words per weekday at the beginning of August, and you know what happened to my daily word count?


I’d hit 400 words, realize I still had some in me, and keep going until I hit 500—or more.

Successful writers understand how to manipulate themselves to get the results they want

It’s like dealing with someone who’s always late, so you tell them to arrive 15 minutes before the actual start time. Rather than trying to force them to change their ways and arrive on time for once, you work with their habit. It’s sneaky, but effective.

No one said you had to play fair.

I find that the people who struggle most with meeting their writing goals (or, truly, writing at all) are also the ones who most resist any kind of change or deviation to their writing habits. “But I have to write X number of words.” “But I need THIS to write.”

You know what those are? Lies and excuses. Boxes you shove yourself in when, in reality, you control when you write. Those are the kind of writers who say, “I need to do X, Y, and Z to be a writer,” but actually, you just need to write. (Yeah, sure, there’s plenty more that goes into it, but if you’re not even writing, you’re just spouting meaningless drivel.)

A writing process #insixwords: Write, tweak, kick, write, tweak, write

Write. Tweak what’s not working. Give yourself a kick in the pants. Write more. Tweak your process. Keep writing. Your writing process is an evolution. It’ll change as you change. Adapt to the current environment. Move and grow as you do as a writer.

Writing is a mental game. No one “right” way exists—not even for you. If you don’t learn how to beat yourself at your own mental games, you won’t write.

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