Wow, William McCamment hit the nail on the head with this one: The secret to getting into the mood to write is to start writing. In other words, writing creates the mood, it does not wait on it. I can definitely empathize with this maxim. Even when I generally don’t feel like I’m in the mood for writing, if I manage to force myself to start, the words flow out naturally after that. It’s thus pretty much like any other activity: overcoming your inherent laziness and actually starting to do something is the hardest part. A good example of this principle would be exercising. It’s hard to drag yourself to the gym, but once you start exercising, you see it through to the finish — say, an hour long workout.
The advice applies to all sorts of other activities, of course. Not feeling in the mood to get off your butt and do something productive? Just do it anyway. Once you start at it, you build enough momentum to see you through to the end. It’s just a problem of getting over that initial hump.
Man, I wish I had listened to this advice, say, ten years ago.
I have some advice of my own to add to this: if you have trouble doing anything regularly, commit to doing it on a strict schedule, and then keep to it. Once you get used to doing something regularly, it becomes much easier to keep doing it, through sheer force of inertia. For instance, I wasn’t able to really commit to working out regularly until I forced myself to do it every Monday through Thursday after work. And more to the point of the original advice, I wasn’t able to start blogging regularly until I committed myself to blogging every day. Now I haven’t quite kept that strict schedule (in particular, I’m apt to lapse a bit on weekends), but it works for the most part. I write nearly every day for this blog.