Welcome to another Writer’s Digest! Once a month, we ask our tribe at WWF questions about craft and bring their answers to you. Before we dive into this week’s topic, keep our words with a grain of salt. What works for one writer may not work for the next. Our hope is that you’re able to learn from our past experiences and mistakes and make your own.
We somewhat fell into this week’s topic after we noticed a running theme in our articles and discussion posts. Many of us have recently or are currently struggling with writer’s anxiety and the neverending battle against procrastination. It only made sense we share our thoughts with you here. If you’ve been struggling lately, know you aren’t alone. Some of us have written a dozen books and yet we’re still right here with you. See what our authors have to share:
“I have a hard rule that I have to write 1k a day (at least). I have vacation time and one day off a week. I’m currently still up mostly because I have 500 words left for today. There’s a quote about going after inspiration with a club instead of waiting for it to show up.”
“I do word sprints and daily goals (though lately, those have flown out the window because of work/travel). Oddly, I’ve also found that I tend to feel anxious writing if I haven’t had much leisurely reading time. Something about reading other people’s words fills up my creative well and gets my writerly juices going, so to speak.”
“One of the things I do when I’m feeling reluctant to get started writing is to re-read a bit of what I’ve already written. This isn’t good advice if you have a problem with tinkering, but if you can control the urge to start ‘fixing’ what you’ve written, it can get you excited about the story again and ignite the urge to see what happens next.”
“I have a required word count and I can’t go to bed until I reach it. In the beginning, I’d end up sitting at my desk at 2 A.M. desperate to go to sleep. But until I hit my goal, there I sat. They didn’t have to be good words, but the number had to go up! Now I’ve trained myself to just write something if I want to go to sleep.”
“My solution to procrastination and writer’s anxiety? WRITE. This sounds simple. It’s often times anything but. But it is a mind game we like to play with ourselves. Something I’ve started doing recently is taking a pause and thinking about why I’m so nervous to write a particular scene or book. Acknowledging what’s making me nervous is often the first step to moving past it. That, and sharing with my critique partner or writing buddies. Sometimes talking it out with people just as crazy as you feel is key. Above all, the best solution I’ve found is to keep writing, no matter how awful you think it is, or how you feel that day. You can always change it later.”
“For days I’m just not feeling it, I have a 30 minute hourglass (half-hourglass?) and an agreement with myself: write a single sprint, no matter how bad, and then you can quit. Usually, those issues melt away once I get through the first few sentences, and I find I’m still writing when the sand has long since run out. If it’s more serious, I go for a walk or get some air to let my mind work, and when it’s very bad, I talk through my plot with a critique partner to hopefully discover what’s really wrong.“