Monday, February 13, 2012

Neglecting That Which We Love

One of the biggest bits of advice you hear from authors, editors, and agents alike is to write every day. Set aside 30 minutes, an hour, however much you can spare, and just write. Which is a good plan. Even if what you pump out in that time frame is garbage, that's what later editing/revision is for.

Every day, sit your butt down and write.

But what happens when you don't? What if something comes up—the holidays, a family emergency, broken hands, whatever—and suddenly that daily writing isn't happening? When you finally sit back down to get back to it, is it hard? Is it like retraining yourself all over again to keep to your routine?

I've been a terrible writer so far this new year. (And a terrible reader, but that's another story.) I've written, sure, but I haven't kept anywhere near to writing every day like I ought to be. Or even writing every week. I certainly don't have excuses. I've just been tired and haven't had the motivation for it. It's frustrating.

(Funny thing—when I'm depressed, I can't write but I want to draw. But I'm okay, I can't draw to save my life, but I can write. Go figure.)

It's a funk I have to drag myself out of because, well, otherwise nothing gets done. And if nothing gets done, it depresses a writer further, doesn't it? Blank manuscripts and missed (even self-imposed) deadlines and word count goals. Getting back into your writing habits when you've been neglecting them for a few weeks or months or years is hard, but of course it's doable. We had to train ourselves to do it in the first place, after all.

Have any of you slipped out of your routine before or neglected your writing? If so, how did you get back into the groove?


  1. Writing every day definitely gets hard for me, especially when I get on the internet! If I'm not careful, I can spend my whole writing time blogging or checking/sending emails, which are excellent things to do also! But lately I've had to set a timer for myself so I don't spend too much time blogging--so I have enough time to write! To help me get back in the writing groove, I'm giving myself a NaNo-similar goal to write 1,000 words a day and just make myself do it! :D

  2. With a large family and a full time day job it's not easy to write every single day. So I try not to stress over it. But more than a few days go by and I have withdrawals.ha

    How do I get back into it? I force myself. It's the only way and after a while you get into the zone and it's like coming home.

  3. I faced this in January. After the holidays, my writing groove was gone. It's taken effort, but I've approached it like athletic training: since I was starting over, I started slow, gradually working my way back to my thousand words a day. I still slip out of the routine for a day or two now and then, but it's been easier to get back in the swing of things as long as I give myself permission to be slow.

  4. Seeing as I write for a living and blog almost everyday, I'd say I overdose the stuff. But it's fine, because I truly love writing.

  5. It is hard. I took a break after finishing my latest WIP and am just now getting back into it with a new one. I usually try to write 2K a day, but to start with, while I'm feeling my way back, I'm going to be satisfied by 1K. Then, once I'm caught up in the story and manic with it again, I'm sure I'll get back to my 2K. But even if I don't, I'll still be writing.

  6. When I get stuck I usually send what I've written a beta to read (thanks Wendy =D) as feedback usually gets me pumping.

  7. Well I'd just spent almost a year editing my ms over and over, with a crit partner, and then forcing myself to go through it again. And I was just sick of the whole thing. NaNoWriMo helped me that time. It was the deadline, and the feeling of community that helped, I think. Knowing I was writing along with thousands of people. It comforted me, told me it was all worth it.

    Then after NaNo I had another slump. A book in 30 days was tough. But I just relaxed, slept, wrote down ideas when I got them, and let them sit. Finally I got two that I loved, and started bouncing back and forth so everything would be new each time. So far it's working well.

  8. I don't write like this. It doesn't work for me. I write a book at a time and that's ALL I do while I write it because too many voices in my head makes me nutty so I can't read (fiction, especially novels).

    If I tried to make myself write everyday, I'd be crazy(er).

  9. I don't get writer's block while writing - I get it in between books, which makes it worse. I think it's because I just fell in love with the characters in my just-finished book (a murderer, a bully, and an intellectual snob - sounds like a bad joke but they were great fun to write!) and I couldn't leave them and move on. Luckily, I had a bit of a break and I've got another idea in the planning stage now...