7 Writing Session Savers for When It’s a Slog

Writing has been a slog for me lately.  In the month of November, for Nanowrimo, I wrote over 50K words.  50,047, to be exact.  And since then I’ve written under 4,000.  Yeah. A slog.

Here are some of my excuses for not writing:

–Snow and ice storm

–Christmas

–My grandson’s birthday

Teaching a workshop on character and promoting next year’s France workshop

–Christmas

–It’s a slog

Because when writing is a slog, it is not so much fun.  And why else do we write, if not for fun? Because, honestly, this industry pretty much sucks.  The gatekeepers are mean, keeping us away from the citadel, and if we choose to go it alone we have to cultivate the mind of an entrepreneur.

But I digress.

This morning, I finally wrote one thousand words.  1,000 exactly because I stopped as soon as I hit that magic number. (My usual goal for a daily word count is 2,000, but I’ve followed my own advice and lowered my expectations.)  And that made me feel good. And I started thinking about the ways I help myself when writing is a slog. Such as:

  1. Admit it.  If you are in a not-fun stage with your writing, admit it. Don’t try to sugarcoat it. Fess up. The writing gods and muses love honestly.  Once you’ve realized what’s going on, you can deal with it a lot more easily.
  2. Write a word.  Just one word. Then another and another. And another. With luck, it will quit being a slog and you will start having fun. But if that doesn’t happen, at least you will have words on the page.
  3. Try a prompt.  Oh hey, I just happen to have a prompt book for you right here.  Sometimes a prompt is just what you need to start enjoying the work again, because it can take you in all kinds of unexpected places.
  4. Change your routine. If you usually listen to music, don’t.  Or vice-versa. If you usually sit in your office, try the kitchen. Or pack things up and hit the coffee shop.  Change it up and see if that doesn’t rejuvenate you.
  5. Get your ya-yas out.  Go for a walk. Hit the gym. Do some yoga.  Come back to the work with a fresh mind. Maybe you’ll have a fresh attitude as well.
  6. Read. Nothing gets me excited about writing like delving into a book. Fiction or non-fiction does it for me. Maybe it will for you, too.  (Right now I’m reading Gaining Visibility, by Pamela Hearon,  and Lisa Cron’s book called Story Genius).
  7. Give up. Admit you’re not into writing at the moment and don’t force yourself to do it.  But do this whole-heartedly, in a way that you’ll be at peace with. Not in a way that you’ll be torturing yourself with the dreaded words, I should be writing, every few minutes.

What do you do when your writing becomes a slog? I’d love to hear how you put the fun back in it.  And remember, one of the best ways to get enthusiastic about writing is to work with a coach. You can read more about that here.

Image by Thomas Helberg.