I imagine that all those published authors and prolific writers sit down at their computers and just let it flow out of them. Sure, they may have to edit a bit, but they never have to struggle for the words, they’re in the zone. Then because I do struggle, I take this as a sure sign I musn’t be a real writer. It’s just another example that I’m faking it, I’m a “wanna-be”.
Because in my head, everyone else’s life is perfect, especially if you’ve already published a book! Then something comes along to burst that bubble and make me realize, no, this is tough for all writers. Each of us has a process but the most important part of that process is: bum in seat, hands on keyboard, social media shut-off.
Like many writers, I have a life outside of writing. There’s kids and work and exercise and social time and sports, and other creative projects. But I always stick to my writing in some form. But often it’s just in my journal, just keeping the connection open. I recently went through some fallow time. And my computer got sick and went away. She’s back now, all fixed. But I come straight up against resistance.
I’ve also been sketching a short story in my journal, generating ideas away from the novel I’m working on, trying to stretch my imagination. And then there’s this blog to write and thoughts in-between. I work up to it, in short bits. I wrote some lines down the page for a scene and came up with ideas for at least 5 other scenes. I steal time. And then I waste it.
Still, I was feeling down about my writing, my lack of production in the dark days of winter. And then I ran across Chuck Wendig’s blog on writing, how it came out: Incremental progress.
“I’m not saying you move forward at 2000 words every day. I’m just saying — move forward. Move forward at the rate you, and the day, and the story, demand. Incremental progress is the key. One sentence. One page. One chapter. Consistency is fine if consistency is what you require. But all you really, really need is the discipline to inch forward. Crawl if you must. Run when you can. Pause when necessary.” http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2018/02/27/three-truths-about-writing-and-how-the-writing-gets-done/
And then I realized, hey, that’s the way I write. And this guy’s published tons of books. I like to hear about how other writers write. At our writers’ group meeting, I asked fellow writer, Lori Twining, about her process to write a short story. It gave me confidence that I can do it too. (Maybe not as well, but it can be done!) Because I found out it didn’t come down to her gift-wrapped and completed, she had to work for it, had to struggle to get it right. (Her payoff was having it published, so the struggle was worth it.)
If you’re struggling with a part of your writing, reach out, read blogs, talk to other writers. Like me, you’ll soon find that you’re not alone, you’re not doing it wrong. You may need to shift something, to find some inspiration, or a deadline to keep you going. But if you stick with it, it’ll come.
Latest posts by Diane Ferguson (see all)
- Everyone else is a Better Writer than Me – And other Fictions I Tell Myself - March 26, 2018
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- Setting & Achieving Your Writing Goals - December 18, 2017