Some mornings I get up, and I just don’t want to do the work. It is a grind. But I also know that I will end up feeling better about myself if I make an effort. That effort sometimes starts with one word.
You are going to have those days when you just don’t want to write. Of course, the easy thing is not to do the work, to move on to something else because you’re not in the mood. But if we force ourselves to do just a little bit, we suddenly feel quite accomplished. Sometimes, those days can turn into our best writing days. It’s worth it to apply a little extra exertion and put down a few words.
This morning, was one of those days. I wasn’t sure what I was going to write today. In all fairness coming up with 28 posts that will hold your attention for a month is a challenge in of itself. The last week can be the hardest week of all, by this point I feel like my best ideas are spent. But I just started putting words on the page to see where it might take me. One word requires another word, and before you know it you have a sentence, a paragraph, a post. Just put something down on the page and follow the trail.
I’m not going to tell you it will get easier. Well, it might. But there will always be days when you don’t want to do the work. You have to be prepared for those days, you need a plan for those days. You have to have a few tips up your sleeve for the difficult days. Here are some tips when the words won’t come.
- Rewrite a sentence. When new words won’t come choose a sentence and make it your goal to make it better. Maybe it’s a word choice, or the grammar or eliminating a phrase. Maybe it’s finding a more active verb so that you’re showing rather than telling. Rewrite one sentence, then maybe you’ll rewrite another and another. Maybe you’ll keep going and finding yourself writing new sentences, new scenes and new pages.
- Renovate the details. Look for a place in your narrative that feels flat. Consider the details. What are the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures? Are they there? Have you brought any of these details to the page? When we take some time to look closely at that part of our story, we are bound to find some inspiration.
- Turn your story upside down – Challenge yourself to see your story in a different light. Flip your story, experiment with voice and tone. Try a different POV, change the tone of the story from serious to light or from light to dark.
- Let Go – Go through your story and see what you might cut. Tighten the story. Cutting away the superfluous can often lead us to a better sense of exactly what our story is destined to be.
- Start over. Read through your story in progress and find the one single sentence that your story cannot live without. Write that sentence at the top of a page and start over. You heard me start over. Write a new scene, a new thought, a new sentence that this sentence demands.
So I started this post only knowing that I wanted to talk about those difficult days. Hopefully, I have shared something useful. Writing is a struggle, and it doesn’t get done until you write that first word and take that first step. We have to fight against the silence especially on those days when we don’t think we have anything to say.