Some mornings I wake up bursting with creative ideas. Snippets of first lines, snappy runs of dialogue, and scintillating short story ideas vie for attention. I fire up my laptop and pound away on the keyboard.
Today is NOT one of those days.
I don’t know why. I only know, I DON’T WANT TO.
I feel cranky, restless, and irritated. I do not feel like writing.
Author’s often give this advice to beginners, “writers write”. EVERY day. For any non-writers out there, this is also known as the sit-your-butt-in-the-chair method.
- Place your butt in chair.
- Put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, voice to recorder, or insert preferred method here.
- Commence writing. No excuses. As the infamous ad campaign says, just do it.
Blog producing guru, Jeff Goins, believes in this daily writing concept so strongly that he started a daily five-hundred-word challenge. He says once you start, you might find yourself on a roll. You might produce more than five-hundred words. At the very least you end up with some words which you can then edit and polish. Some words destined to become a future published blog post, story, or article.
Zero words equal zero rough drafts.
Zero rough drafts equal zero finished works.
I understand that type of math equation and most days I enjoy the creative process. I sit down. I type as fast as possible and the word count mounts. Usually I need firmer discipline for editing, but that’s a different problem.
Occasionally, my muse rebels. She refuses to provide even five words. Five hundred? Not happening.
She wants to do things she normally considers work, like exercise, laundry, menu planning, or cleaning the bathroom. Activities I carefully reserve to avoid the previously mentioned editing process.
I decide I won’t give in. I employ the method.
- My butt-in chair.
- My fingers poised over keyboard.
- My ideas-meh. Either I’ve already written about them, or they’re BORING.
I chew on the end of a pen and thumb through a stack of Post-It® note ideas. This doesn’t work. Maybe my muse needs a tidier work environment. I could organize some files or check some research sites.
STOP IT. WRITER’S WRITE!
Mornings like these are soooooo frustrating. Why am I not writing? Could it be that I’m a perfectionist and I’m worried that nothing I write will ever be good enough? Am I a pessimist and don’t believe I’ll ever find an audience? Is my ego sabotaging a subtle increase in progress? Am I lazy?
My muse refuses either to answer or cooperate, so I draw on my experience as a parent. l resort to bribery. If I write five hundred words, I’ll give myself a reward. A trip to Hawaii sounds promising, but it seems a little expensive and time consuming. How about a walk with a stop for a coffee or a rant about how difficult the creative process can be?
Oh, wait, I’m thirty whiny words away from my rough draft goal. (The word count might shrink when I delete the expletives.) But I did it! I reached my word count, even if it is a load of crap. See you later. There’s a latte down the street with my name on it.
What do you do when procrastination day strikes?