For the past couple of weeks now, I have had a hard time writing. Assignments that once would have flown off my desk have languished about until deadline time. Pieces that could have been written in 20 minutes have taken an hour and a half. Normally, I sit down at my desk and love every minute of what I do, even when I am writing some very dry copy for a very dry client. But lately, it hasn’t been there.
If you are a regular reader of the ArcticLlama blog, you know this. It has been way too long since I posted last. What happened? I don’t know. Frankly, it probably doesn’t matter, but I know what fixed it.
I’ve said before that the only people who should become professional writers are people that love to write. If you are one of them, then you always want to be writing SOMETHING. The catch is, it isn’t always what you need to be writing to generate a paycheck.
For me, it was the opening chapter of a novel that came to me while I was soaking in a nice hot bath a month or two ago. It had a couple of nuances and turns that I just loved. I told myself I would write it sometime (I have dozens of novel ideas, like most writers do) and I jotted down enough notes in one of my writing journals to make sure that I didn’t lose the ideas that I loved. But, that wasn’t enough.
You see, as writers we get our ideas and inspiration and thoughts from somewhere. Some people call it a muse, others just call it inspiration, others believe that they simply force it up consciencely. Whatever you believe, that well must be tapped in order for you to write and it must spring up for you to have inspiration. If you leave something in the well, that is too big for it, then the flow stops and you are one of those hacks putting words on a page the way you were taught in K thru 12.
That was me for the last few weeks.
Today, I decided I was tired and burned out. I let my wife take our daughter to the zoo and I sat down to work, only instead, I started typing my chapter. Not for real, mind you, just as a way to get back into the groove. And groove, I found. I wrote the whole chapter, found new characters, named them, came to know their life stories and more. Then, I got a soda, sat back down and cracked open my planner. I saw an article that had been waiting to be written, and thought, "Oh, geez, I’ll just write that real quick it isn’t hard."
I wrote it. It flowed. My fingers flew across the keyboard. I finished it fast and it was good. Then, I remembered that I had another one of them for next week. I just wrote it too. Oh, and there was that one thing…
Long story, short, I cranked out tons of stuff today and it was good and more importantly it was fun.
Writers are always asking me for advice, so here is some: Write what you want to write. You can’t ignore the bills of course, but your writer soul understands that even if it doesn’t like it. If you throw him a bone every once and a while to let him know that you haven’t forgotten about who you are, he won’t pout, and your writing will be better for it.
Have a great weekend. I know I will, writing the whole time, I’m sure.