Bad Writing Days. We all have them.
We don’t like to talk about them. We’re frightened that by talking about them we will make them stronger. Or, worse still, we will jinx our productivity and conjure them into existence. No writer wants to say the word ‘block’.
I’ve always struggled to write. There are two people inhabiting this body; one wants to be left alone to write, wants nothing more than acres of time in which to type and think and come up with sentences and words and passages of description and dialogue. The other one, unfortunately, wants to do anything else. Anything!
Both of these people, however, like having written.
I read this quote from Brene Brown (from her book Rising Strong) recently: ‘We can choose courage or we can choose comfort but we cannot choose both.’
The toddler part of me bawled ‘why not?’, while the adult part of me nodded sagely, letting the words sink in and the truth trickle through…
I can’t have both.
It’s supposed to be scary.
I need to choose courage because that’s where creation lies.
But on a bad writing day, I choose comfort over and over again. I choose to write this blog rather than open my work-in-progress because however frightening a personal post like this feels, it is nothing to the anxiety I feel about working on my book.
On a bad writing day, I choose to say ‘yes’ to a friend’s invitation, even though I know it’s during my writing time. I may pretend this is something else (the selfless act of a good friend, for example) but I am lying.
On a bad writing day, I slip into the comfortable routine of editing a piece of old work when I should be making something new. Or I take all day to write a paragraph, telling myself it’s ‘difficult’ when the truth is, I am stalling.
On a bad writing day, I let the voices that tell me I’m worthless and my story is stupid and that I have no talent or creativity win.
I’ve had a lot of bad writing days recently. I’ve chosen comfort so often it’s beginning to feel like my new routine.
Luckily, that frightens me. I see my life stretching ahead, filled with comfortable no-writing-days, and I imagine all the books I will never write, the stories I will never tell.
That frightens me enough to make me open my document and get back to work. I want to have written and I know fine well there’s only one way for that to happen: courage.
Did this post resonate with you? Do you have Bad Writing Days? How do you overcome them? Please share your tips, advice, or experiences in the comments below!