How to Write More When You Don’t Want To

Let’s face it. Shit happens. Sometimes you don’t feel like writing at all. Some days you don’t feel like doing anything else either. But the project beckons. So does your inner voice. Whether you want to hear it or not. The easiest way to make it quiet is to do what you know you must. Write. Write. And then write a little more just for good fucking measure.

Step one is the simplest. And the hardest. You have to show up. This is different for everyone. I’m not going to piss on you and tell you the muse doesn’t exist. Just that if you wait for her to grace you with her presence, you’re going to die of old age with a single novel under your belt. And I don’t want that for you. Writing is work. And chief among that is just sitting down to write. Nothing is harder or simpler than that. And without it, nothing else matters.

Another factor? When and where. How you set up the things around you to make yourself. What time of day do you write the easiest? You’ll have to try a lot of things to figure this part out. Typically this is either rather late or rather early for most writers. I’m a little flexible. I have more fun writing at night, but I don’t do it as often or for as long as I know I should. So I’ve been getting up early to do it as of late. And no, I don’t like it. But I’ll go nuts if I don’t. Assuming I’m not already there. But if the mad ones are good enough for Kerouac, they’re good enough for me.

Contrary to popular belief, writing is not easy work. Sometimes the words flow like a faucet. But that’s hardly the norm for most of us. It’s more hard work than it is anything else. Sometimes the hard work comes before the first draft, but most of it comes after for me. Writing more is equal parts ignoring the fact that this is coming in order to fast draft and pushing through the crappy, slow parts when they come. Yes, you have to edit. Jesus, the edits never end, do they? But you do have to do it anyway. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Oh wait, no I’m not. If I have to do them, so the fuck do you.

Writing is unlike a lot of other things. The difficulty of its creation does not indicate the quality. Sometimes the words that are hard to come up with are excellent work Sometimes the words that come very easily are awful. And because of our own bias, it’s impossible to tell which is which. Your work is your own blind spot. Not much can be done to this, aside from resting your prose, which is a good idea. But it always feels like yours. You’ll always feel like Abraham taking his son to the top of a mountain to kill him. That’s what editing feels like. Like knowing you have to murder your own child. Like sacrificing your firstborn to the editing gods. But being ready to do it anyway. But being that I don’t have a firstborn, my characters will have to do. So it goes.

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