Here’s that word again. A word that seems to get bandied about like a lopsided volleyball. The topic of writing when inspiration strikes came up several times in the last few days. People talking about how they experience writer’s block so frequently that they can’t seem to get cohesive thoughts together unless “inspiration strikes”.
This used to be me. I can honestly say I haven’t experienced writer’s block in over six months. Okay, when it comes to the novels, I haven’t had this happen. It happens for blog posts though. Go figure.
So why haven’t I had writer’s block since oh, December? Because I started writing every day. That’s right. Every. Day. I might be a huge steaming pile of crap where I barely make it to my goal of 100 words or it could end up being the paragraph that ties the whole thing together. Whatever it is, it’s there. And, like a friend told me, you can’t edit if you haven’t written anything. And unless you’re the type who never has to edit a first draft (if you are, I want your secret!), then you will have to edit what you wrote.
I tried to convince someone of this a few months ago and I saw their face just shut down. They didn’t want to hear it. I’m not sure if they just didn’t want to hear the advice or they thought a “true” writer should suffer bouts of writer’s block.
Writer’s block is when your imaginary friends won’t talk to you.
Yesterday, I had another person ask me about it. This was an online conversation, so I don’t know if they accepted what I said either. It truly boils down to writing every day. I’m to the point where I get a little panicky if I haven’t written by 10pm. And for those thinking it, I try not to count my blog posts towards my writing goal. Yes, I realize most people are busy and feel like they don’t have time to write every day. For the stay at home moms, what about those 20, 30 minutes where you’re waiting for your child at the school? Or wake up or stay up 30 minutes earlier or later and get words down on the page. If it’s easier to write a certain amount of time, do that. I do word count because it gives me more of a tangible goal. I can see just how far I’ve gotten.
So, thanks to this exercise and keeping up with it, writer’s block has become a thing of the (recent) past. But it’s in the past. One thing I’ve learned is even if I write the most awful, truncated, verb doesn’t match up to the noun sentence, there’s usually either enough there to salvage or it makes the mind word to get the idea properly formulated.
Does editing stink? Yes, unless you’re a masochist and like the torture. Is editing fun. Sometimes. Especially when that fixed passage clears everything else up and the rest falls into place.
But, there has to be something there to edit in the first place, and if you haven’t written…well, I know I feel lost and guilty when I don’t get those words on the page.
Are the words crap? Quite possibly. Just remember, the brightest patch of grass usually comes from the biggest application of fertilizer.
What are your habits? Do you write every day? If you’re an artist, do you draw/paint every day?