by Kasey Tross
You know that irritating, nagging feeling? That feeling that you should open that file lurking on your computer...that one with that book you started...maybe that rooooough draft from NaNoWriMo? Or that story idea you wrote down but haven’t done much of anything with yet? That feeling that sometimes even keeps you from reading this blog (GASP!) because this blog is (partially) about writing and it reminds you you’re not writing?
I’m writing this post to tell you I understand. I know there are those times, and they make us sigh and shrug and avoid making eye contact with certain computer files.
But there are also those other times, when our brains get abuzz with an exciting new idea- for a new book or a new scene or a new plot twist- and we wake up and scribble madly on a scrap of paper next to our bed and our fingers fly furiously over the computer keys...
So what do we do in between these two states of writerly being? Well, I think this quotation says it best:
Friends, all I can tell you is that this is the truth, and I relearn it over and over again each time I sit down and make myself push those feelings of dread aside and just do it. When it comes right down to it:
Do. the. work.
Just DO it!
For me personally, the best way to get myself back into gear is through baby steps. Here’s how:
1. Open the document. Read through some of it. That’s all you need to do to open the door in your mind (and heart) to the feeling you had when you first came up with that sparkly, shiny new idea. Granted, you might not get that same giddy feeling back- but now the door is open. Peek through it. Good job.
2. Chances are, if you start reading through it, you’ll find something you’ll want to edit. That’s okay. It’s kind of like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie:
If you give a writer her own work,
she’ll want to edit it.
And as she editing it,
eventually she’ll get to the end.
And when she does...
3. You’ll want more. The characters have come back to life in your head, the ideas have started booting up again and humming and Stuff will start to happen. Not necessarily when you’re sitting there in front of your WIP (because now it’s back to being a Work In Progress and not a Dusty Old Thing) but later, when you’re doing the dishes, or when you’re just getting ready to fall asleep- those characters will start talking to you and the plot will begin twisting again and before you know it, the Tug will be back. The Tug to write!!
Let me take a minute to testify here. Whenever I think to myself, “No. I have no new ideas. I have no way to make Scene X work, I have no way to fix this plot hole, my characters are too 1-D (yes, not even 2-D) I can’t do this,” all I have to do is just look at it. Just open the file and read it. And things just start happening. The block that was there just kind of dissipates. New ideas show up that were completely hidden before, and suddenly the slump is over.
Nothing will make you feel better except DOING the WORK. So pull out your DOT (Dusty Old Thing) and make it shiny and bright and new again. It won’t happen by magic.
YOU have to make it happen.
After all, you’re a writer, aren’t you? Go WRITE!