Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Writing When You Don't Feel Like It

Wednesdays on this blog I'll post about something which relates in one way or another to writing every day. Sometimes, like this week, the connection may be very obvious. Other times, it could be more tenuous.

Would you believe there have been plenty of days during the daily writing chain I've built up over the past 10 or so months where I would have just as soon not written? I haven't kept track of those days, but I'm sure there's been at least a couple dozen of them.

While working on building a lengthy daily writing chain, you're bound to end up coming across days when you really don't feel like writing. Ultimately, it's up to each individual writer to decide how he or she feels about pushing through on those days. If you've built appropriate options into the daily goal for your chain, then you may well be able to find a task that fits your mood such as critiquing a story for a fellow writer or preparing a blog post in advance. I've done that quite a few times.

Then there have been other days that I simply sat down and got to work on my writing even if I wasn't "feeling" like doing it. Some of those days I've ended up with good results. Occasionally I've even ended up writing a whole lot more than my goal once I in a groove. Other days I've checked my word count repeatedly until I saw I had those 500 words and then saved my work and gotten away from it as quickly as possible.

Is it worth it to fight through those days? For me, the answer is yes. Because even on plenty of days when I don't actively dislike the idea of writing sitting down and getting started isn't the easiest thing in the world. There could be games to play or a movie to watch. Fighting through the really hard days gives me motivation to make sure I have fingers-on-keyboard time during those other, less hard, days.

Not everyone will find writing on those really bad days to be worthwhile. There's really no substantial difference between building five 59-day chains in 300 days as compared to one 300-day chain. The latter might sound a lot more impressive, but ultimately you're talking one extra day of writing every month.

The key thing is to be honest with yourself. If you are the kind of person who can take a day or two off and then get right back to it and be productive in the upcoming weeks, then you should work however you feel comfortable. I fear that I'm not that kind of person, though, so I press on even through the bad days.

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