Writing When The Words Don’t Flow

So you know how there’s some days where the words seem to come to you faster than you can possibly write them down?

Yeah, and you know about those other days too, right? The ones when you suddenly find yourself fascinated by laundry, and all the things you’ve happily ignored all week, like housecleaning, email, or tv suddenly strike you as compulsively pleasurable?

I’ve been having a bit of the latter week. And in case you’re running short of time and can’t read all the way through, here’s the part to pay attention to: no matter what kind of week it is, you write anyway.

Ironically, I’d just rocketed through the words the previous week with a much higher word count for the week than I’ve enjoyed in a long time and then … well, let’s say the total wasn’t so spectacular. And this week, I’ve found it difficult to just stay seated in front of the computer, often find myself running off just for the sake of running off.

Here are my ten tips for writing anyway, and how to get through the slow times (or in my case, the mid-section of the first draft.) :

  1. So first, remember that not all days are sunshine and rainbows: you write anyway. And eventually, it will get better. (I promise!)
  2. On the days when it’s especially hard, make yourself a manageable promise, like “I will sit here and write for 1 hour, and if at the end of that time I still don’t want to write, I can shut off the computer.”
  3. Pre-plan. Get yourself into the writing and psyched up to work before you start, maybe by going over notes or reviewing the story and where you want to go before you even sit down to work.
  4. Leave yourself hanging. It can be easier to jump back in if you leave off for the day mid-scene or somewhere that gives you clear direction to start with, rather than just having to start with a brand new chapter / scene.
  5. Spend time brainstorming and letting the ideas flow. If you find a new and exciting idea, it can help re-energize you about the entire project.
  6. Get outside input. Especially when all you can hear are negative internal voices, make sure you hear from someone else to gain a bit more perspective on the situation and the project.
  7. Remember why you started and were so excited about the piece in he beginning. Maybe this means going through those initial “story spark” ideas, or maybe you need to literally write out a list of why this is the project for you, and why you love it – and then make sure you decide how to incorporate more of what you love into what you’re working on right now.
  8. Give yourself a break every now and then. Get up, walk around, do something else for a little while, then come back to work and go hard, then break, come back, etc. It will leave you feeling like you’ve accomplished more, plus, you won’t feel as trapped in the chair or behind the computer.
  9. Give yourself a reward. You know the old saying about the light at the end of the tunnel? Or dangling a reward just out of reach? You’re the only one who can dangle that reward. So choose something, preferably in suitable proportion to whatever you need to accomplish, and promise yourself you get that when you’re done. Like one tiny candy after a chapter is done (that’s my promise, mint chocolate Aero bubbles, yum!).
  10. Remember that writing isn’t easy, and every once in a while, it darned well sucks! BUT, you are a writer, and this will get better. Just keep going. 🙂

So what about you? How do you combat those times when you’re having a difficult time facing the writing? Have I missed some tips? Please do share below.

Otherwise, thanks for reading, wishing you all a great week, and happy writing out there!