I’ve told you to write every day. I was wrong to tell you that.
I’m not going back on my word entirely as I do feel we need to be practicing our craft as often as we can. Taking my own experience as an example, however, I’ve found that this undue pressure we put on ourselves to write every day and come up with brilliant words every time we put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is often what causes my dreaded “writer’s block.”
So what am I saying?
Maybe writers don’t need to write every day
Writing for writers is important. For me, it’s like breathing. Most times, I breathe normally, but sometimes I hyperventilate, and sometimes I feel like I’m being strangled. Those are the days when my writer’s block is the worst, and last night while I had trouble falling asleep I tried to figure this one out.
Is writer’s block really a block, or just frustration?
When I feel drained of words, I turn to reading. I pick up the nearest book and read at least a chapter. This seems to shift my metaphorical writing cup from half-empty to half-full. My imagination is sparked, and I begin asking my favorite question: What if?
The next thing I know, I’ve written a couple hundred words and hey, they aren’t even that bad.
So what am I saying? Maybe it isn’t important for writers to write every day. But it is important that writers do something related to writing every day. See the difference?
There is more to writing than the act of it
When I was learning violin in elementary school, it wasn’t enough to learn where to put my fingers on the fingerboard, or how to hold the bow, or how to read music. I needed to listen to existing musicians. I needed to watch their movements and mimic them until I became comfortable enough with the tools at hand to create my own movements. I mimicked until I was comfortable enough to create.
I am not saying to plagiarize. Good God I’m not saying that. I am saying that if you take time to read books, magazines, anything, to refill your cup (or bowl) of imagination, you are more likely to write because you won’t be burned out.
So on the days you feel like you can’t write, or don’t want to write, pick up a book and know you’re still making progress. Other things you can do that are related to writing include:
- Read what you’ve written previously
- Edit what you’ve written previously
- Draw a mind map of your story
- Draw a sketch of your main character
- Make a collage relating to your book
- Find music which inspires you to write
- Make an exercise routine tailored to your main character, and then do the exercises
- Buy your character’s favorite food from the grocery store and eat it
Take a note from Dory in Finding Nemo. What does she tell us? To just keep swimming.
What did we learn from Meet the Robinsons? Keep moving forward.
And finally, what have we learned about Belinda? She watches a lot of Disney movies.
All the best,