How to conquer writers blues
We all have days when we feel that this writing spree is rather beside the point, and who do we think we are, anyway, to attempt it. Writing is, after all, an activity that takes effort, concentration and a lot of thought.
But there is often little to show for our time at the desk, and even the accumulation of several hundred thousand words in several books can feel a little beside the point, unless we hit the publication jackpot and our books make us lots of money.
But when it’s going well, there is no better feeling in the world. So here are my current tips for banishing the winter blues.
- One chapter or five pages a day. It can be a short chapter, or five pages of a longer one. These might feel half-baked or unfinished. Is there something not quite ready about it, something we have forgotten? Writing every day will give us a sense of accomplishment and time to stand back and reflect.
- Ignore the word count – stop looking at the bottom left of the screen and wondering why the word count never moves. That hardly matters. Just write. It feels like flying, the first time we do it, but it turns out, this is the kind of flying that needs no license or instructor, no log book. Just go for it.
- pretend you are not writing – sounds odd, but if we work for ourselves as writers we might think that is what we have to do. Then, the task becomes heavy and feels unlovely. Which makes the writing heavy too. What if we are simply experimenting, having fun, flying by the seat of our pants, following a hunch, doing a bit of detective work, exploring, sizing up the characters on the street, falling in love? Would that make our writing easier?
- imagine you are a character with something really important to say. A character who has the opportunity of a lifetime – literally – to say what s/he has always wanted to, yearned to, from the bottom of their heart. What would the character say if s/he was heard without judgement? I really love you? I loathe you? Let’s make a dream come true? The sky is the limit.
- edit instead – sometimes, sometimes oftentimes, our imagination needs time off. So edit instead. Set yourself up as a proof reader and pretend this is a manuscript that has landed on your desk. Set to with a pencil, a cup of tea and a change of hat.