There are days when I struggle and struggle to write.
YES, I have been a freelance writer for over 40 years. I make my living, writing. And YES, there are days I struggle to get started. Struggle to keep going.
So if you are get getting started, and worry about the days on which you struggle — and the meaning of your struggle.
On your bad days you might have thoughts like, “Oh God, this is so hard. Maybe I’m not cut out to be a writer!”
DON’T WORRY. Just keep on writing.
For me, a bad day starts like this.
Wake up (whenever) Go to the bathroom. Get a cup of coffee. Climb back into bed with my coffee and my Journal.
In my Journal I write:
“Oh God, I just don’t FEEL like writing!”
Yep, I write these words or some variation of them.
I KNOW full well that “feeling” like writing has NOTHING to do about actually … writing.
In my Journal, I fail to point out to myself that, sheesh I just wrote something. I just happened to be whining, but I was writing while I was whining.
Back in my Journal I continue to complain and whine:
“I don’t know WHAT to write about today.” Ignoring the fact that in Scrivener (writing program) I have a list of over 250 article ideas.
OR, “I don’t WANT to write about Oat Fiber” — the article I have on today’s writing calendar.
Uggggg. I just don’t WANT to do anything.
And so it goes until I finally stop and make a bargain with myself.
“OK — I’ll refill my coffee and write about Oat Fiber for FIVE minutes. Then I’ll read (or whatever) for an hour.”
Or, “OK — I’ll refill my coffee and find an article on my Scrivener idea list. I’ll write for FIVE minutes. Then I’ll read (or whatever) for an hour.”
My bargain, signals an end to whining and I get into action.
I have a “reward” to collect. An hour of James Rollins, or Lee Childs. YES!
And here’s what happens:
I start my 5 minutes. I finish my 5 minutes. I read for an hour and repeat several times. Sometimes I will replace writing with cooking or shopping or coffee with a friend.
I’ve had days during which I continue to do this all day. At the end of the day I’ll have done 12 x 5 – 60 minutes of intense, concentrated writing.
BUT … 98% of the time, I get ENGAGED.
Sometimes my 5 minutes will turn into 10 minutes.
Sometimes it turns into an hour.
AND, often enough my five minutes will turn into a 3 or 4 hour session that produces amazing results–a great article, or 1 or more solid blog posts.
When I am sitting there in the morning whining away, I never know where the day will go. I DO KNOW that I WILL get “some” writing done. I know that five minutes at at time will produce results … maybe even miraculous results.
What Makes It Work?
I have taught myself to just JUMP into the writing, to just start … writing ferociously and FAST.
I don’t censor or edit my writing. My writing can be great, good, mediocre and sometime just downright awful. It doesn’t matter … I just write.
This article is a result of five minutes that miraculously turned into something. When I started writing in my Journal this morning, I had NO idea what I’d write about and I had absolutely NO desire to write.
Funny how that works!
What about YOU?
Whether you are new to writing or an experienced pro. Go ahead and whine. Jot down your feelings of being depressed, being bummed out. Be angry at yourself. Doubt your ability. Just go ahead and get it out on paper. Grab your Journal if you have one, or write in any form of note book or on any scrap of paper you can find. Just get it out.
Then, GET OVER IT.
Make a bargain with yourself:
I will write for JUST FIVE MINUTES and then I can read, have sex, watch Youtube videos or Netflix for an hour.
Start. Write FAST, write ferociously.
You don’t have to put your heart into it, you don’t have to enjoy it.
Just freaking WRITE.