I often hear people say they only got X number of words today. I’m not moving along as fast as I’d like. Why can’t I write today?
I say, “Screw it.”
If you’re writing the first draft of a story, setting a number of words per day is a perfectly fine goal if it keeps you motivated. But if you’re a few words short at the end of the day, the sky won’t fall and the world won’t end. Think about the words you did write, and pat yourself on the back. Congratulations! You did something positive toward your goal.
Some days, you may not feel like writing, but the creative writing process has a lot more aspects that you may not think of.
- Thinking. Daydreaming, meditating, and pondering your story are all part of the creative process. Let these things happen. Your story is always percolating in your subconscious. Use these activities to help bring ideas to the surface.
- Research. Most stories require getting your facts straight. If you have a day you don’t feel like writing, research!
- Editing. Believe it or not, editing (and revising) can be fun. It becomes like a puzzle to find the right words, to build a description of a location in your setting, or to improve the emotion in a character’s situation. You will have to do this at some point, so do it on the “non-writing days.” You may just find that revising a passage will lead to ideas for writing again tomorrow.
- Do something else. Make notes or research your next story. Write a short story based on a prompt you found online. Go for a walk. Heck, bake a cake!
Words are great, but the writing process involves a lot of important activities besides seeing words magically appear on your screen. Don’t feel bad if you’re doing things that aren’t building on your story. Tomorrow you will!
A little progress each day adds up to big results.