Monday, February 25, 2013

Just Write

For the past few days, I've been lucky enough to have been really in the groove as far as writing goes. Every time I sat down to the keyboard, the words just seem to flow onto the screen as if I were nothing more than a middle-man in this literary transaction. Regardless, it has been a great feeling, but one that is not always that common.

There have been many times over the past months where I sat and twisted my brain trying to make a line of dialogue fit, or sought the right tone of voice for one of my characters, to no avail. And the frustration would build up over the course of a few days and nights. I'm a new author, I couldn't possibly have writer's block yet! I haven't even begun to tap the storehouse of ideas contained within my head!

It wasn't until a few months ago that I came up with the solution to these temporary roadblocks, while reading one of the multitude of writer's blogs I frequent for advice. That blog had said one of the most important things when writing was to schedule a consistent time, and set a reasonable goal for writing each day, which is not necessarily bad advice. But as I sat and thought about that nugget of knowledge, I realized it was still too specific for me. So many writers have full-time jobs, families, and other commitments that preclude them from assigning things like times and quotas; and that is where I was at. Which is when I realized that the ONLY criteria that mattered, for me at least, was to JUST WRITE.

It doesn't matter how much you write, or when you write. That's the beauty of it! You write what works for you; nothing more, nothing less. If things are flowing well, and you are feeling it, write more, even if you keep going until you fall asleep at the keyboard. If things are stuck, and you only get a few paragraphs of stilted dialogue between two characters that even you can't stand to read, then pack it in early, and start fresh tomorrow. If you are really at an impasse with yourself, then just start a new project, or write a new blog entry. Just make sure you write something.

Because the truth of the matter is that we all have days in which writing is a struggle;  adding schedules and quotas only provides more obstacles when you need them the least. In the military, we had the KISS methodology. Keep It Simple, Stupid. And that applies to writing as much as any other endeavour.

So when you are stuck, keep it simple. Just write.

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