Writing Advice: The Rough Days


We’ve all been there, haven’t we? You sit down in front of your computer or your notebook, and the words just won’t come. Or, you may avoid your computer/notebook all day until it’s time for bed and it’s too late to work on your writing. Either way, these are some rough days and we all experience them. Whether you’re just beginning to get into writing, or have been doing this for a while, there will be days when you can’t seem to write.

I have certainly experienced my fair share of these rough writing days. I’m often the one who avoids her blank document for ages and then suddenly finds the day has ended and there’s no room for writing. This is a dreadful habit to get into, and you really shouldn’t let it get out of hand. Even when you’re feeling like there are no more thoughts in your head, you should sit down and force yourself to do some writing for the day.

For some extra reinforcement, I’ve got two really helpful quotes from Chuck Wendig over at the Terrible Minds blog. He recently wrote a post about The Days When You Don’t Feel Like Writing, and he had some great things to say.

On the topic of forcing yourself to write, Wendig says, “Even if it’s nothing, even if it’s crap, you’ve got to carve the words onto the page. Even if it’s only a hundred words, even if you only get to move the mountain by a half-an-inch, you’re still nudging the needle, still keeping that story-heart beating, still proving to yourself and to the world that this is who you are and what you do.”

I love that Wendig says “you’re still nudging the needle” no matter what words you put down. Even if you can’t make your prose flow well or sound beautiful, as long as you’re producing more words then you’re adding to the piece. If you’re writing a story, then adding more words may push you into a section of the plot that you’re more interested in, and that’ll get you excited about writing again.

Wendig also has something to say about forming bad habits. “The lack of act has its own momentum, too,” he says. “Don’t write today, and tomorrow you wonder if this is really who you are, if this is what you’re meant to do, and so the next day you think it’s just not happening, the Muse isn’t there…”

Again, I love this quote. If you allow yourself to avoid writing for one day, your brain will translate that into making it “okay” to skip writing. Keep to the routine and you’ll keep yourself trained to get words down every day. Even if it’s not very good, and even it’s not very many words.

— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan

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