I had a lousy writing session the other day. I roused myself early and got right to the computer (well, after my first-thing-in-the-morning glass of water with apple cider vinegar and Stevia and then, of course, coffee). But nothing happened. I just couldn't seem to connect with my WIP.
Usually this would be cause for beating myself up. And it was, at first. I told myself I was stupid, lazy, a dumb jerk for reading trivial internet stories rather than writing. But then I realized something–this attitude wasn't helping.
I know, duh.
But when you're in it–when you are deeply ensconced in a beating-yourself-up session, it can be difficult to pull yourself out of it. And furthermore, one bad writing session can derail you for days, weeks even. So I decided I better try to nip it in the bud. And instead of continuing the beating session, I tried to figure out why the writing didn't go well.
Here's what I came up with:
1. I was distracted. I know, distraction is pretty much a state of being in our constantly-connected, social media world. But yesterday it was even worse than usual. I'd spent the weekend updating my Mac's operating system, and for reasons unclear to me was not able to update Firefox as well. So I downloaded Chrome (which I now love) and that created all kinds of changes and the necessity for more updating, including locating passwords, which I continued to uncover as I opened pages and signed in.
2. I didn't know where I was going. I'd finished one chapter, and was starting on the next. But, it's early on in this project, and because I'm excited about it, I've not yet taken the time to do the prep work I usually do–create character dossiers, write about settings, figure out a loose outline for the plot. I thought the momentum of finishing chapter one would carry me through, but because I didn't know what happened next, I got stalled.
3. I wasn't fully committed. I wrote recently about being torn between two loves. I decided to allow myself to write the first chapter of this new project–it was begging to come out–and then see how I felt. I felt good about it, really good, excited in a way I haven't been with my other novel. But I also felt guilty about abandoning it. (Although, as we know, nothing is ever wasted in writing. It will be waiting for me when I finish this one, or it will be incorporated into something else.) So I was still waffling about whether to move forward with it–not conducive to writing.
I felt much better after analyzing what happened, because I could see that it wasn't because I was a lazy, distractable person, but that there were real reasons for my bad writing session. And because there were real reasons, I could change them in the future.
Which I did. This morning. And got right back to it.
What stops you from a good writing session?