Wednesday, January 9, 2013

When You Just Can't Write

There are times in a writers life where writing just becomes impossible to do.  I'm not talking about writer's block.  For those of you who are wondering, I don't believe in writers block.  Of course sometimes we get held back because we really don't know where the story is going, or we just can't figure out what about the plot isn't working, but I don't believe that's a time to throw in the towel and complain to anyone who is willing to listen about how there's no way the writing is ever getting done and damn you, writer's block.

No, when those uninspiring times hit, in my humble opinion, there's only one thing to do: Write.

Yep.  Do the very thing that you think you can't do.  Even if that scene isn't perfect, or the plot isn't going exactly where you want it to, if you just leave it to sit on the screen and be glared at, nothing is going to happen.  Keep writing, even if what's being put down is utter crap.  You can fix it in editing later, and you'll get past whatever was slowing you down to begin with.

Anyway, as I was saying, I wasn't talking about writer's block.  I'm talking about those days when writing is the last thing you want to do.

Usually these come about for particular reasons.  Like, say, a headache that you just can't shake.  Writing with a headache is like poking a bruise over and over and not understanding why it's hurting more and getting bigger.

When headaches appear, the writing goes away.  I've learned from experience that even if I force myself to write through it, what I produce isn't worth the effort.  I'm talking about unrelated tangents and stupid decisions.  It's just not feasible, at this point, to continue.

Also up there on the list are bad moods.

Don't look at me like that, yes I did just say bad moods.  Not one of those 'my day wasn't spectacular, and I feel bleh' kind of moods.  No, one of those 'Go ahead.  Try it.  See what happens.' kind of moods.

Yesterday I wasn't having a good day.  Nothing overly bad happened.  Well, the car doors were frozen shut, and I did over sleep.  Then my sister managed to piss me off.  And that was all before I even got to work.  Throw in finding out that my books were supposedly delivered last Wednesday (but never arrived) and by the time I opened my computer to begin writing -- or editing, rather -- all I wanted to do was punch someone.

Since none of my characters were about to be punched, I turned to the critiques I was supposed to do.

After a few minutes of trying to get through a paragraph, I gave up.  The last thing I want is to give someone an unjustly harsh critique.  So, rather than being at all productive, I spent the day watching TV shows.

While I regret that I'm not about four chapters behind on my editing goals, I don't regret not working yesterday.  I was in such a foul mood, I didn't talk either on the way to, or on the way home from work.  And, if you know me, you know that's serious.

Today I was hoping to make up for that.  But, as this is the first thing I've done today, and it's already so late, I'm guessing that's not going to happen.

Still, I'm going to do as much as I can tonight, and try to finish the rest tomorrow.

Sometimes writing is harder than we realize it's going to be.  Sometimes we surprise ourselves with how much we can dread the process that we love so much.  But the truth is, just like everything in the world, sometimes we do need a break.  And the biggest challenge we have is to figure out when those breaks are required.

Have you had a day where you just couldn't write?

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