Hello and welcome to a late but actually craft oriented edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.
Some exceedingly stressful situations at my day job last week sucked up some spoons I had reserved for blogging, which is why I went radio silent last Thursday and Friday. This week brings new stresses, but I’m determined to get back on track. That’s what pro writers do, right?
I am coming up now on the climax of my current freelance novella, a little behind schedule. There’s a couple of real life things I can blame (second COVID shot side effects and the aforementioned work drama for example), but I have noticed a niggling little craft thing that has given me to start slow on occasion, including a lot last week.
In reading, we are all familiar with the idea of finding a good place to stop. It’s why I tend to read straight through to the end of a book whenever I reach the climax. It would be easy to apply that concept to writing. When you’re in the middle of a juicy scene, or really fast moving sequence or chapter, and the creative mojo is really flowing it might be tempting to write straight through until you’ve resolved whatever tense moment you’ve started.
What I have found lately is that impulse is to be ignored. Soundly. Friends, when you’re writing, I recommend finding a bad place to stop.
On the days this last week when I have struggled to get started, invariably those days were the ones when I had to start with a fresh scene or chapter. And though I could always reread the previous few pages, I still found that I had to create new momentum from a cold start. It, in a word, sucked. On the other hand, whenever I had to stop mid scene (sometimes mid-sentence) for whatever reason, it was much easier to pick back up again the next day. Then, once I was able to finish the scene, starting up the next one was much easier as well.
Yes, there were times when I was lying in bed, still thinking about the scene I’d left behind in favor for sleep, and I would get an idea for the next few sentences that were too good to let sit overnight. In those cases, I would jot them down in my iPhone notes app, just like I would with any other idea that struck in the middle of the night.
Since making this realization, I’ve made a conscious effort to end my writing session for the day in the middle of a scene, and it’s really helped me stay productive.
This isn’t a new concept, nor is it foolproof. But now that I’m on deadline I’m finding out all sorts of new and, ahem, exciting things about keeping up a steady flow of new words, so I expect more of these not new, not foolproof tips and tricks in the future.
I’m not gonna lie friends, I almost axed this post for this week yet again. I rushed it and after rereading it, I decided I hated it and thought no post would be better than a bad post. But then I remembered that routine is super important to me. If I let myself cop out again for the third week in a row, I’ll be setting myself up for yet another year of sporadic blogs and shitty content. So I decided: not this time. I’m growing. For now you’ll just get shitty content. Who knows, maybe next year I’ll evolve into producing something quality. The struggle of a working writer never ends. Until next time dear friends, may your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.