Ever have a day when, as a writer, you just don’t feel like writing? Well of course you have. What a silly question!
Every writer has those days. Sometimes that old friend, Writer’s Block, comes to visit and there’s no way to get rid of him (or her, if I must be politically correct.) And when we do get rid of him/her, him/her always seems to find his/her way back again at another time, and we must deal with the pest time and again.
I mentioned before that one way to get around writer’s block is to change direction in whatever you are working on, or work on something totally different or new or fun or crazy. Our brains need a little vacation now and then just like our bodies.
Besides dealing with the blank page and not knowing what to write, there are times when the process seems terribly slow. We write a sentence and it’s not right. We delete it. We write again. Still not right. And that can go on for a long time.
Sometimes we get involved in editing what we’ve written previously, and that can take up quite a bit of time, but that’s okay. That’s writing. It’s polishing and perfecting, and that’s something that we all need to do.
Then there are those writers who say they have to write x number of words per day or they don’t feel as if they have accomplished anything. I tried that once. I set a number that I thought seemed realistic. Sometimes I hit my target. Sometimes I missed big time, and when that happened I felt bad, as if I had failed in some way. It didn’t work for me, so I changed my standard.
I have had days when I sat down to work on my latest novel and I couldn’t crank out more than a few sentences, either because I was not motivated or I was tired or didn’t feel good, whatever. But I did get those few sentences down on paper and that did move the story along, albeit not very far.
It seems to me that it is far more important to make whatever you write the best you can do on that particular day. Be satisfied with your work, whether it’s ten words or 1,000. Ten great words can be so much more valuable that just trying to hit a target number.
One of the best books I’ve ever read on writing is “Make Every Word Count” by Gary Provost. It’s still in print and I highly recommend it. In fact, I think I’m going to read it again. It can only help.