7 Uneasy Coercion Tactics That Will Force You to Write

Writing is tricky and delicate work. Sometimes all the ideas are there but the writing isn’t.

When this happens, I usually seek some unconventional solutions to give me a boost, but they don’t always work. That’s when I turn to coercion tactics.

You know—stuff that gets results but nobody really talks about how it’s done. Kind of like waterboarding, but for writers.

Here are a few not-so-gentle techniques that should do the trick:

1. Write anyway.

This is called brute-force writing. Shut off all distractions and literally force yourself to produce something before you’re allowed to do anything else. Take it a step further and deprive yourself of water, food—heck, even clothes if you have to. Just write.

2. Think about all the writers who are more productive than you.

Seethe in your jealousy. Think about how they erase more in a day than you produce in a week. Better yet—focus on a writer you love around the same age and experience as you. Imagine them sitting down for a mere hour with a smug look on their face, scribbling out something brilliant…and how you’ve got nothing to show in return to stroke your bruised ego.

3. Break an entire box of #2 pencils.

I dare you to try this. Make sure they’re the yellow kind from elementary school, too—the ones that bring back memories of gentle, forgiving teachers who actually cared about your work and wanted nothing more in life than than to make you a better writer. This symbolic irony of this technique will eventually break you down until you’re forced to seek redemption—by writing.

4. Plagiarize.

If you really can’t write, why not consider stealing other people’s good work and using it as your own? After all, you can’t write but you need to something to show. You can be like one of those lazy guys in high school, who would change a few adjectives and prepositions around so it wasn’t technically plagiarism. This is just plain sick.

5. Call someone who really loves you and promise to send them a letter.

Make sure it’s someone really innocent who doesn’t see or hear from you much but thinks of you as one of their favorite people in the world (like a niece or grandparent). Tell them you’re going to write it as soon as you get off the phone. What’s your excuse now, sucka?

6. Park yourself at a coffee shop with a laptop and a triple-quad espresso.

You heard that right: a triple-quad espresso. That’s 12 shots of coffee surging through your bloodstream and your brain, firing synapses you never knew existed. Add that to the atmosphere of other java-junkie creative-types chained to their laptops, and you just might feel enough empathy and hyperness to crank out some really good stuff. Just make sure you stay focused on one thing at a time.

7. Quit Writing.

That’s right. Just get up and walk away. Forever. Never come back to the keyboard. Don’t ever call yourself a writer again, either. In fact, go get a “real” job. Writers are manic depressive alcoholics, anyway. Now get out of here.

Image by Guwashi999.

6 Replies

  1. Dave Doolin Reply

    Bad week, huh?

    I use one of those 9 shot Bialetti Moka Stovetop espresso things my self. Makes about 16 ounces of really octane stuff. Also, and this is really important: lots of heavy cream. The whipping kind. Smoooooooooove.

    • Charles Reply

      Sounds like that would do you for the whole day and then some!

  2. Charlie Harvey Reply

    Hey Charles, your article had me laughing out loud!

    I am pretty certain I’ve tried all of these except point 3 and 5 at some point. Me, I’m a geek more than a writer, but I found arbitrarily choosing a thing to review, in my case cider, was helpful. Having a little alcohol has a similar effect to saturating my system with caffeine although admittedly with more risk of writing utter nonsense.

    • Charles Reply

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Charlie. Sometime I get a little sarcastic and can’t help but let it out!

  3. fay-lisa Reply

    Thank you for making me giggle a bit reading this.

    I’m deeply considering the mass amount of caffeine, though depriving myself of food, water, clothes, might be a good idea too.

    What’s worked for me in the past, is the promise to myself of something I really want, once I’m done a section of writing. A new dress, a trip out of town, an ice cream sitting on the beach. But the reward comes only when the piece/chapter/page is done.

    One can get a little decadent that way. But at least one is writing. 🙂

    Thanks again for the giggle.