So, last week I was able to convince the amazingly talented Claire C. Riley to write a little guest post on here, for which she chose the topic of Writer’s Block. If you haven’t read it, you most certainly should. It’s a fun little piece filled with the basic message of “you aren’t alone” and a little bit of advice on how to circumvent this epidemic that all writers face at one point or another.
However, this got me thinking about my own struggles with writing. You see, I never really seem to have a true issue with thinking of things to write about. My mind is constantly aflutter with the prospects for stories. My list of future books/stories I want to write grows much faster than I can could ever hope to keep up with and when I actually sit down to write a book, the first draft flows like extremely thin gravy.
That’s not to say that what I write is all that good. . . my first drafts typically need a great deal of love. I’m generally of the thought process that I should get it all on paper first and then make it awesome later. This can be seen quite evidently in THE LEGEND OF BUDDY HERO if you were one of the lucky few to see the book the first time I attempted to release it. . . it was rough and a far cry from what the book is today.
Yet, although I don’t typically face issues with Writer’s Block, I do find myself going great stretches of time without writing, much longer than I would care to admit. Take the sequel to Buddy Hero, for example. I started working on that book around a month ago, spent two days putting a lot of work into the opening chapters (of which I think are pretty darn brilliant) and then haven’t written more than ten words since.
I like to call this phenomena Writer’s Fatigue. Sure, I could blame it on the fact that I’ve been incredibly busy lately, life has taken a few turns I hadn’t expected, and then, of course, the whole release week of THE LEGEND OF BUDDY HERO found me being quite overwhelmed with promotional-type things to take care of (as well as a possibly obsessive checking of sales numbers). The truth of the matter is that whenever I would open that document to start writing, I just couldn’t pull together the energy to do so.
There’s many factors that play into this issue (for me at least). There’s the standard fear that I’ll write yet another book that will never see the light of day. . . or, you know, never sell. There’s the constant trepidation that everything I write is absolute crap. And, there’s the even larger issue of wondering whether or not my time could be better spent doing something completely different. . . like cleaning the iguana’s cage.
But, in the end, it really just comes down to me looking at the page and then trying to find some way to procrastinate.
And it’s stupid. I love to write. In fact, I find it incredibly therapeutic. My wife agrees. When I’m writing, I’m happier. When I’m not. . . yeah.
And the really stupid thing about all of it is that it really just takes that first push to force myself to write a set number of words a day that really gets me moving forward.
So, here’s my advice to any and all writers, whether aspiring, or current. It’s one that I’ve seen from so many successful writers that I don’t know how anyone isn’t already aware of it. The best advice I think any author could ever receive could be put into one word. Write.
I read somewhere once that author Stephen King writes 4000 words a day, every day, no matter whether it’s a holiday, weekend, child’s graduation ceremony, whatever. He just writes. Just like a musician needs to play their instrument for at least an hour a day, an author needs to do the same. However, since it’s so easy to just sit in front of the computer and become distracted by facebook, twitter, checking on your farm in farmville, or whatever, I think the idea of setting a set amount of words to write every day seems the smart one to stick by. I know I fall short of it all too often. . . and I’ll never get to the point where I’ll be writing on weekends or holidays. Sorry, just can’t be done. But, here’s my (late) New Year’s resolution.
I will write at least 1,000 words every week day (excluding major holidays and vacation time). This isn’t counting blog writing, as there’s very little that occurs on here that is of any literary worth. 1,000 truly creative words, whether it’s towards a current work in progress or one I suddenly feel inspired to put some words toward.
That’s it. I will write.
Now I’ve just got to get my procrastinating brain in gear to sign on as well. . .
Have a good one.