If you’re a writer (even a famous, award-winning writer), I bet you can relate to this:
You stare at a blank screen. You decide to hop on facebook (or your favorite distraction site) for a quick second. When you return to your blank screen (if you even get that far), you start questioning words and their existence – why is writing an awesome phrase/sentence/paragraph so hard? You decide today is just not a good writing day and you’ll work on that blog post, report, or ebook tomorrow instead.
And hopefully tomorrow doesn’t repeat this way, but for many people it does, and slowly and slowly you decide staring at a blank screen is a waste of time (you’re right, it is!). You tell yourself your project can wait for next year, or worse, you question your skills as a writer.
The reality, and something writers must always remember, is writing can be both easy and hard – just depending on a slew of situations and circumstances. But I can guarantee you this, you have to be able to persist through the hard days to get to the easy days. Sorry, that’s the writer’s life (no one said it was easy).
All great writers know, writing something great and amazing doesn’t just happen, even if you have the greatest ideas or raw talent in the world.
Writing means sitting at your computer and hearing the tap of your fingers on the keyboard, and creating one phrase, one sentence, and one paragraph at a time – no matter what!
No matter, and especially, if you don’t feel like it. Because even if what you write is utter crap (and some days it will be), you’re building your writing muscle. You’re practicing. You’re telling that inner critiquing voice to shut up….that you are good enough to do this. That you can make this happen!
I don’t know that the inner critic ever goes away (mine hasn’t). But honestly, that just tells me that I can always become a better writer. And I know I become a better writer by writing, editing, reading others’ writings, and sticking to my writing schedule.
Just last weekend, I was skimming through my first ebook I wrote in 2012. My #1 goal with the ebook was to finish it! I don’t know about you, but writing small pieces is easy for me. However, creating a book with chapters and a written project that will for sure take lots of time is my biggest challenge. Can we say I get distracted easily (or is that a procrastination/perfection issue?).
Anyway, writing my ebook on my self-imposed deadline (that I took very seriously) meant writing on those “bad” days. Just doing it meant not even feeling like it was the best writing I could do or was capable of creating. But just doing it taught me a HUGE lesson: I can battle those shitty writing days. I can push through the, “I don’t know what to write”, “‘I’d rather go hang out with friends”, or my favorite, “I’d rather read a book”. And you can push through those (and whatever your inner critic says) too.
You are not the only one with writing struggles – we all have them, and to a certain degree, they will never go away. What’s the only difference between you and someone who finished their project (no matter how big or small)? They never stopped writing and editing; they did it when they didn’t want to do it.
It’s like a speaker at our Toastmaster’s group said last week, “For 99% of speakers, you’ll never stop feeling nervous right before a speech – you just learn how to deal with it”.
And that’s how it is for writers. It will never be easy 100% of the time. You’ll never decide to write and always write something amazing (hello editing), but instead, it’s how you handle those times when you aren’t writing well, or even at all.
Just write anyway. Write about anything – your day, how you’re feeling, what your plans are tomorrow, the world.
Funny how that works – just clicking and clacking at your keyboard, despite the inner resistance, will help you even more than you can imagine (dare I say it’s part of the whole writing process). For many people, just writing about anything opens up the creative juices to tackle the project you wanted to in the first place. I know that strategy works for me!
How do you get the writing done when you just don’t feel like it? I’d love to hear what you do!
PS – Need help Unleashing Your Inner Writer? Check out this Free Writing Webinar I’m co-hosting Tuesday! Hope to see you there!
PSS – Facebook has never once brought me writing inspiration. Just sayin’!