It may come as no surprise, but I write a number of my posts in advance. Sometimes I can be in the middle of an ordinary day when an idea strikes, and I set aside the nonimportant things and write about my particular inspiration. Granted, sometimes my posts seem a little dated if I write about a current event but the post doesn't go up until Friday, and holiday writing can always run into timing issues. However, for the most part I think we can all understand this style of cause-effect writing. We get inspired, therefore we write.
Now I am going to suggest an exercise that is just the opposite.
I have often brought up this point but it's worth mentioning again. During my life in economics, I followed a pretty standard schedule. Part of that schedule was catching the 7:02 a.m. train into the city in the morning, and taking the 5:02 p.m. train back. This train ride lasted about 45 minutes, and I always got a seat, therefore, it gave me time to write if I felt so inclined. At times I would not feel inspired, so I would nap or read or catch up on work, and that's where the problem started. No inspiration meant no writing, which sent me into that spiral.
Then I thought, "What if I take those 45-minute spans and write, no matter what? No matter how unmotivated I am, I still push my fingers along the keys and create something - anything. I don't even need to save my work if I don't want to. I just write, and work toward the inspiration. Could this work?"
Long story short, it worked.
After a couple of months of doing this, I kind of conditioned myself. I would be at work, doing my thing, but in the back of my mind I knew my writing time was coming up. My creative mind went on a conditioned countdown, and little ideas started bubbling to life. Even on the least inspiring days, the knowledge that I had some writing time coming up triggered sparks of inspiration.
It may sound a little odd that I am suggesting we teach ourselves to be inspired, but that's basically the case here. Don't get me wrong - if inspiration finds us, we should take advantage of it as quickly as possible. However, let's not overlook how we can get ahead of that part of the process and fuel our own inspiration. Once we can do that, the writing comes so much easier.