“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London
Some days, going after something with a club is overwhelmingly tempting. It could be the person who interrupted you in the middle of a a writing sprint when everything was flowing. It can be the day job that seems determined to ensure you can’t do what you’re supposed to do for whatever reason the project you’re working on, the folks you have to deal with or the geniuses up in the Executive Offices have dreamed up.
For WriMos, we’re reaching the point where it is very often the book we’re working on.
This is the danger zone. Everything looks shiny and far more interesting than what you’ve got going in front of you. Everything is tempting and there’s that new idea that’s rattling around in your otherwise (feels like) empty brain. All you need to do is take just a little time from what you’re supposed to be working on and you’ll get right back, feeling re-energized. How much damage could ten minutes (half an hour, two days, until midnight November 29) working on something else do?
Or you’ve hit the point where you’re convinced that everything you’re writing is crap and folks are on the verge of figuring that you’re a complete phony, and the only reason you’re insisting on doing this NaNo thing is so you have an excuse to not actually talk to the relatives or linger on Thanksgiving because you have to get words done. You’re already wondering what you’re going to say when the (insert family day of obligation of your choice) comes in December and those relatives you avoid now say, “So, what’s happening with that thing you were writing?”
We’ve got eleven days to go and we were supposed to be at 30,000 words last night. If you’re there or beyond, great. You know where your inspiration is, you FILDI is strong and unless something seriously upsets the apple cart, you’re probably going to be claiming that winner’s certificate on the 30th. If you’re not, though…
These are the times that try a writer’s soul. This is where writing is not fun. It’s always fun to have written, but there are definitely times when it’s not fun doing the work. And this is where you put your butt in your chair and your fingers on the keyboard whether you want to or not and you get it done. Trust me, you’re not going to regret the time on Facebook you miss if you just get it done. You will regret the words that didn’t get written because they’ll itch at you. That’s what mine do.
If you listen to Storywonk’s “Journeyman Writer” podcast, you’ve probably heard the Wednesday episode by now. If you haven’t, I recommend you give it a listen. This one’s been saved on my phone because I know there are going to be days when I need those words of encouragement, when I’m having trouble dragging myself to the keyboard and getting started. If you’re having trouble, give yourself the five minutes it takes.
And when you’re done, ignore the coffee, snacks, and Facebook. Get your club and hunt yourself some inspiration. As Alastair says at the end of every episode, “Go write.”