I am stuck. Pathetically, hopelessly stuck in the muck of inertia.
Usually, I roll along pretty nicely. I jump nimbly from one project to another, handle down times and deadlines with equal (almost) poise. I hardly ever have writer’s block.
Not this time though. In the past month I have been stuck too many times to take it lightly. First, it was an editing cycle that threw me off and then it was a cover redesign that whacked my writing regimen to near death. Oh, not to mention a celebratory occasions in the family led to too much merrymaking and guess what I figured? Drinking not a good writer makes.
Usually, whenever I struggle with writing, I circle back to the basics. They always help, and they need to be remembered and recalled and reused, no matter how long a writer has been at her craft. So, my momentum building basics were summoned:
1. Writing every day
Showing up at your desk and making those fingers type every day is the best way to snap out of doldrums. It’s a good idea to start slow, maybe a page, 250 words and then push it up from there. That’s what I’m trying to do with this post as well. Get into the typing mode, and hopefully gears up there will start to roll.
2. Setting aside that time to write
Writers, particularly new ones and ones in doldrums, must make writing a habit or rekindle the habit to get into the momentum. Writing requires practice. It is a skill we learn by doing, over and over again. A month ago, I could write anytime. I only needed a computer. To get back into that groove, I have to start getting my brain muscles into that autopilot mode. That begins by setting that time aside, away from every other writing related distraction as well, like cover redesign or revisions and such.
3. Get away from the interwebs
Yes, that is one of the greatest tips ever. Turn off that wi-fi connection when you sit down to type. No, you don’t need to check the news, nor do you need to look up a word or research an idea, and you certainly don’t need to respond to the cute puppy picture your friend posted of FB. All that can be done later, one you have your writing mojo back. When the biggest priority is building up momentum, get away from everything, most of all the net.
4. If you can’t write, read a good book
If you’re a writer, you obviously have to write. The next important thing is reading. Remember what Faulkner had said?
“Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it. Then write.”
Reading is an major building block of the writing process. When it feels like impossible to write, it’s a perfect opportunity to pick up a good book and dive into it. It doesn’t need to be a new book, or a book you haven’t read before or even a book in the genre you like to write. It simply needs to be a book that holds your attention and sends those much needed sparks of inspiration flying.
So . . . that’s what I’ve been doing. Mostly #4. Halfway through “The left hand of darkness,” after finishing “Midnight’s children.” Both rereads, but they’re no doubt doing their magic. After a week-and-a-half of no writing, I completed the outline of a new project last night. Fingers crossed I can keep the pace up.