All writers, whether we are unpublished noobs like The Next Great Novelist, or famous and prolific writers like [insert name of famous prolific writer], are going to experience moments when the words simply don’t want to flow. There is lots of advice available on the internet (and elsewhere) to help us over these rough patches, and most of it demonstrates the old adage that “free advice is worth what you pay for it.”
I was having just such a rough patch a few months ago on the First Novel. I know I’m doing everything the wrong way on it, by the way. I’m writing from start to finish; I’m editing as I go; I have almost no outline or character sketches; and so on. I get a flash of persp… no… INspiration and I pull up the keyboard and just rat-a-tat-tat on the keys (I can do about 60-70 wpm if the wind is right). The problem is what happens in between those flashes? Well, I did what They say to do… I just wrote. I sat myself down and made myself write even though I didn’t “want” to – even though I didn’t feel the muse elbowing me in the ribs. I ground out a chapter – I forget which one it is now – piece by laborious piece. I cranked out a paragraph here and there or even sat down and practically dragged myself through a page and when I was finally done with the chapter I remember thinking it was absolute crap. It was, after all, uninspired.
So I sent it off to my sister who gives me very down-to-earth practical criticism and who isn’t afraid to hurt my feelings because she knows I love her to death no matter what, and I winced, waiting for the storm of disapproval.
Guess what? (You should see this coming.) She said it was the best chapter I’d written yet! She loved it.
So, I guess it’s true what They say. If you want to be a writer, you have to write. Get rid of the stuff that stops you from writing (which is hard for me since every computer I use to compose on has the oh-so-distracting internet on it), and stop making excuses. Give yourself a reasonable, attainable goal like: “I will write for one hour,” or “I will finish this chapter.” If the words aren’t flowing on Project A, then try writing about Project B for awhile. Or write about anything. Just write.