How to write when you’re in a bad mood


Hello fellow bookworms 🖊 I recently asked you guys on TWITTER what post you would like to see and 75% of the people wanted to see Tips for the stressed Writer, which was a very personal topic that I had a spur of the moment idea for, as it reflected my current situation. Since then the title has changed a bit, because it fit way better. I’m therefoe going to talk about How to Write when you’re in a bad mood, as that reflects my issue way better. So if I wasn’t clear this isn’t a post about how to write when you’re busy, you can go check out SOPHIE’s excellent post about the issues that I highly recommend as she has some amazing tops!

Instead this post is all about my NaNo experience this year which is vastly different from the years before, as I’m struggling so much more and I’m doing things inherent too, with outlining instead of writing, which takes up lots more of my creativity as I cannot simply follow my outline. Generally, I have been in a bad writing mood all of NaNo that is also related to how stressful university has been and how settling into my flat was difficult. I still managed to hit my wordcount and I’m not behind, but IÄm struggling so much every single day, I have to put in so MUCH MORE effort into writing like I used to all other 5 times I have done NaNo. Therefore, I wanted to share with you today what has helped me write even though I was in a pretty bad mood for the most time. For me ‘bad’ meant that I was often nervous, anxious, tired and generally overwhelmed by everything that was going on in my life. So if you feel the same, maybe these tips can help you write, because if there is something that completely kills any writing motivation, it’s being anxious for me. I need to feel somewhat safe and comfortable to be truly creative.

All my NaNoWriMo 2018 Posts

Trenn Kopie

Have ambience sounds playing in the background

I feel like this tip especially helps if you live alone and want some background noise to fill the silence! I often cannot write when I have music on that contains lyrics as they tend to distract me from my writing, so this is the perfect alternative for me, as there are only sounds and no lyrics. I also find that ambience sounds are very relaxing and a great way to calm you and focus your mind at the same time, so you can concentrate better on what you’re doing and are not feeling quite so stressed.

My personal recommendation here are the ASMR Rooms on Youtube as I have recently grown to enjoy their videos a lot – they have lots of Harry Potter themed ambience sounds that often play for an hour or two, which is just the perfect time window in my opinion! I also know of the Ambient Mixer, that lets you choose mixes of ambience sounds by other users that you can also customize to your liking! This Spa Day Mix is one of my personal favorites! There are lots of categories to choose from too! I haven’t tried Nosili myself, but some people find it super helpful and it’s also available as an App, so that’s great! 

Switch to different writing programs!!!

A change of things on your screen can help wonders to fight demotivation and frustration, which is something I have recently figured out for myself and it has honestly helped me so much! I was pretty much sure I wouldn’t reach my word count for the day, but then I simply switched to a different writing program (one that I has loved in the past -> Q10) and boom suddenly I was motivated again and went at writing with a fresh mind! I used Google Docs and Microsoft Word for writing for the majority of November, so switching to Q10 has been such a great idea, as the font and colors are different and it operates in full screen! All distractions are therefore blocked out and I feel like my motivation has come out again!

Conclusion: Try to go away from the program you use every day and try out a new one (preferably with a full screen option to limit distractions, as I’ll try to do anything but writing, if I’m in a bad mood)!

A list of Possible writing programs you could use

Let me know if you’d like a more in-depth post about writing programs!

  • Microsoft Word  🌺 What I used for my writing, you can usually get this one for free if you’re a student, so maybe check out if your university offers it!
  • Google Docs 🌺 Saves your documents online, so no fear of losing your work, easily accessible literally everywhere, so you can write on your phone if you have downtime. Doesn’t show your word count so you’re not tempted to check it all the time.
  • Scrivener 🌺 I don’t personally use this for writing, but it allows you to have everything all in one place and also allows you to set specific Targets that track your progress! [This one isn’t free, you have to pay for it!]
  • Q10 🌺 An old favorite. Is very easy to download and also free of charge. You don’t even have to install it, as there is a portable version that you can use! It is super simple and operates in full screen, you can change the font and colors too!
  • Focus Writer 🌺 I used this for Camp NaNo once and it’s a nice alternative to Q10 that looks a bit nicer and offers you the chance to change your background to something pretty. Also tracks your streaks, aka when you write, so that’s cool!
  • Written.Kitten 🌺 Online website that gives you a picture of a cute kitten every 100 words you write! Uses local storage so your work doesn’t get lost if there is an issue and the side reloads. (But be careful, it once didn’t work and the previous work as gone. so best be safe and back up your work)

Trenn Kopie

Take breaks/the day off if necessary

If nothing is working it’s best to take a break to recharge with some self-care and doing something else that isn’t writing related. There are days when you just cannot seem to be able to get yourself motivated to write and instead of forcing it, it’s best to take a break or you’ll get even more overwhelmed and blocked.

Always try to get yourself to write, but there is a difference between a little pressure to get you going and too much pressure that stifles you and leads to writer’s blog. It’s important to listen to your body and mind about what you currently need. I often feel guilty for taking a break, but in the long run this is much more useful than burning out because you’re forcing yourself to write when you don’t feel good. It’s also okay to quit if NaNo/writing isn’t working at the moment! I’m very bad at quitting things like that myself, but consider your current situation and figure out if the stress would be more manageable if you allowed yourself to take a break from NaNo.

Try to be kind to yourself and change perspective

This one is super hard and I find it difficult to do this myself, but maybe at least try to not give yourself a hard time if you struggle with writingInstead of being “I’m so horrible for not writing today” try to think more along the lines of “It’s okay today wasn’t as great, but there is always a new chance tomorrow” Instead of telling yourself “Ugh why should I even start writing, I’ll only just fail” be like “I’ll open my laptop now and at least try to write a bit”. This takes practice, but often I beat myself up so much and giving yourself a break can be really healthy!

Therefore, I try to abandon the ‘all or nothing’ mindset I love to have. Just writing a bit (even if you don’t reach your word count for the day) is miles better than just writing nothing, because you’re convinced it’s no use anyways.

Trenn Kopie

Create a relaxing atmosphere

If I’m in a bad mood I really need a relaxing, positive atmosphere. That often means cleaning my flat/room/desk because chaos kind of reflects my mood so I need things to be clean and not feel like there is a mess everywhere. I generally like things orderly, so a good, clean work environment can do wonders for me.

For me a relaxing atmosphere means: cleaning (like I already mentioned) as well as having something  relaxing on in the background (see: ambience sounds). When I’m at home I often need to work in my room as the living room is loud and full of distractions, that are bad for my motivation. Therefore, I need the quiet with a bit of my sounds on. I also like to wear comfortable clothes and maybe put on a candle, have hot tea near me (but not too near, as I murdered my last laptop with coffee), all things to make me feel all nice and good!

Write your words early

So I’m 500% not a morning person, but if you can try to write as early as possible. That doesn’t workm out for everyone obviously, as lots of people have classes or work that starts very early (if you’re a morning person you could try writing a bit before you head off, but I could never do that ), but the weekend mornings could be the alternative here. As I’m studying I have a bit more luck with my mornings, as I only have 2 classes starting at 8am (but that’s already too much, that’s how much I’m not a morning person). I always thought that my best time would be writing in the afternoons between 2 and 5, but recently I have reconsidered that.

For me personally (! – because I know that there are people who write in the evenings/generally later and are 100% happy with that, because that’s whne they work best) writing in the morning has worked so much better. Just doung my daily writing early (before lunch) has really helped me relax and not stress out during the day when I was doing other things (like uni stuff) first and the only had time for writing later. I work the worst at writing in the evening,  because I’m so stressed as the day is already over and I haven’t done my writing yet, so it’s obvious that getting things done early allows me to relax a lot more and don’t feel so stressed out about NaNo. The mornings are typically when you’re the most energized (even if it doesn’t feel like that half of the time), so I have recently really used that energy. I get up at 9am if I can, so it’s not that I’m up early, but I get my writing done before 12am now when itÄ’s possihble and that’s honestly setting up the day to be more relaxing.

Talk Kopie

What do you do when you’re in a bad (writing) mood? 🖊


17 thoughts on “How to write when you’re in a bad mood

  1. Great tips, Caro! I can advocate for some of these as I tried them myself and they work as a charm!
    I’m sorry to hear this year has been more challenging but it was bound to, considering you’re applying yourself so much more at it! Great stuff 😀
    Lovely post, darling ❤ Keep up the awesome work, and best of luck with the rest of your WIP!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a wonderful and inspiring post! I’m actually planning one sort of similar for this last week of NanoWriMo! 😊 I definitely think listening to ambient noise helps me get in the zone, and having a clean work space makes SUCH a difference! Thanks for the tips!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Caro!
    I love this post which I think is relevant to all writers. Thank you for sharing these tips! Also, thank you for linking to my post 🙂
    It sounds like you’ve had a rough month, but that makes it all the more amazing that you are able to power through and get ahead of your Nanowrimo goal. As you mentioned it is good to practice self-care when we are feeling stressed, to take a break when our bodies and minds really need it.
    I also love to listen to soft instrumental music when I am writing, since songs with words would also distract me! I use spotify and I chose a playlist that suits the genre of the novel that I am writing right now 🙂
    I am the same way as you when it comes to writing in the mornings! I am not a super early morning person, however I like being able to get some writing done early in the day, so I won’t feel stressed about having to write 1667 words all at once in the evening 🙂
    Wishing you all the best for the rest of Nanowrimo! Especially now that you’re ahead of the game, make sure to take some breaks when you do need it (same goes for me too!) Let’s both get ready for the final stretch 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind words! 💗

      I did manage to complete NaNoWriMo in the end, so that was a success! But I definitely need to get better at self-care and taking breaks, as it’s so important to stay healthy!
      Instrumental music is something I need to listen to more as well, I cannot do lyrics at all too, so I need something without them! Ohh choosing a playlist similar to the genre is a great idea, thank you! 🙂
      It’s truly good to at least write something in the morning, as I’m just never that productive in the evening and end up getting stressed!

      Thank you, I’m happy that we both made it in the end! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree 100% with instrumental music and writing in the morning haha 🙂 Now that Nano is over, I’ve reverted back to my old routine of writing in the evening before bedtime. That’s usually when I’ve gotten everything else out of the way and I feel like I can settle down to write. I liked getting up early in the morning during Nano to write though! Maybe I’ll try that again when the days get a bit warmer and brighter 🙂


  4. This is a great post, and I would have loved it if I’d discovered it earlier this month because learning how to write when in a bad mood would have really helped me (I was in a major slump this month; blogging, reading and writing wise).
    These are all great tips though Caro, and I’ll definitely be bookmarking this post for the future. I usually write on Microsoft Word, and I don’t know if I could ever use Google Docs to write but I’ll definitely check out the other writing programs you mentioned. And I need music to do everything so maybe creating a writing specific playlist would help when I’m demotivated as well. 🙂
    Great post, and again great tips. I hope NaNo has been going well for you so far. 🙂 ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no, I hope yout have gotten out of your slump by now, as slumps are never much fun! I’m glad you like the tips, may they help you in the future!! 🙂 ❤️

      I usually don’t use other writing programs, but switching things up can be really helpful for me if I have been using a program for so long! I think I used different ones every NaNo 😄 A writing playlist could be a great way to ensure you get motivated again, as music can really improve your mood! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m making my way slowly out of my slump, but at this stage any progress is good progress I think. 🙂
        Maybe that’s something for me to try next NaNoWriMo. Also whenever I’m listening to music I always come across songs I think would work really well for my WIP, may as well get around to actually creating an actual playlist! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m a total morning person, so I agree that writing first thing in the morning helps a lot. Especially since writing is something that I’m passionate about & fuels me with energy, then writing in the morning makes me feel like I’m ready to tackle the rest of my day. 😊 Having the right environment is a really good piece of advice, too — I always have water and food next to me so I don’t have to break my concentration and get up to get something while writing. 😋 This was a really helpful post, Caro!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish I was more of a morning person like you, as starting my day with writing would be pretty amazing to be honest 😍 Yees, that’s so great about starting your day with something so creative – it can really boost your entire day! 🙂 I really have to get everything I need, because getting up because I forgot something is very distracting and not helpeful xD
      Thank you!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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