Whether you're thinking of starting something new but aren't sure if you want to commit, you're stuck midway through and not sure what should happen next, or (like me) you're tired of slogging through the middle bits and feel like the exciting scenes are still miles away, picking up that pen and writing matters. Even if you're tired, even if you just write a page or a paragraph or a single sentence, it matters. And I'm going to tell you why.
You Should Be Writing
- Habits are hard to break. The more often you put off writing, the more likely you are to do that again and again and again and never actually do anything until you get a massive burst of inspiration. However, the reverse is also true: if you make a point of taking a few minutes when you have time to write even a paragraph, or start setting aside ten minutes a day to write a page or two, that becomes a habit as well. I speak from experience: I've spent most of the past year or so constantly in a "write X number of words a day Y days of the week" challenge, and I have gotten into the habit of writing every day, more or less. (Of course, I've also gotten into the habit of doing that writing in the ten minutes before I go to bed every night, but it's the words that count.)
- To paraphrase Sam Gamgee, it's the story never started (or worked on) as takes longest to finish. Yeah, stories take a long time to finish sometimes. I spend a lot of time wondering when, if ever, I'll finish my current WIP. But you'll never finish if you never write. After all:
- Writer's block may be defined as "when your imaginary friends won't talk to you," but they talk a lot more when you're listening. Or, in other words, making an effort to write. Yes, the opposite can also be true- sometimes the best way to get unstuck is to take a break and think about something else- but more often, at least for me, sitting down and muddling onwards is the better route, particularly if I've been using my stuck-ness as an excuse not to write. Another thing that sometimes helps my writer's block: having a chat with my characters about, well, nothing in particular. I like to do it within the story, finding an excuse to pop up somehow and confuse my characters to no end. But those less inclined to break the fourth wall could easily do it on a document outside the story.
- On that note, your characters will appreciate it. Theories vary about what happens to characters when an author stops writing their story. Most people say those characters just remain frozen in place . . . unpleasant enough, particularly if said characters are, say, trapped in a dungeon or lost in the wilderness or something like that. One wonderfully creative person, however, suggests that, when a writer abandons the story, it all goes to pieces for the characters- they're pretty much doomed. And is that a fate you want to wish on your poor characters?
- Finally, you were given this story for a reason. No one becomes a writer by accident. Nor does any writer get a story idea just by coincidence. Things happen for a reason in the stories we write; they happen for a reason in the story our Author is writing as well. So it's our responsibility not to give up on the gifts we've been given, not to stop when it gets tough- because the stories we write have a purpose, even when we don't have any clue what it might be and just think they're terrible messes of jumbled imaginings.
Do you have any writing encouragement you'd like to share? Please do so in the comments!
Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)