Seems like a no brainer question, doesn’t it? And yet, you’d be amazed at how many writers I run into who love the idea of having written but don’t like to write at all.
We get so wrapped up in giving ourselves minimum daily word counts, deadlines in which to finish a manuscript, and other self-imposed homework-like writing assignments that we often lose sight of why we started writing in the first place.
I’d venture to guess that most writers start writing for the sheer love of it. For the rush of writing down that story racing around in our brain demanding to get out. Sure, it would be great to pay off the house or be famous, and that’s a draw, too. But the writing itself–ahh, that’s sheer joy.
After you’ve been writing for a while, learned a bunch of technical stuff (that ought to guarantee your success if you master it, right?), and you’ve gotten a few manuscripts under your belt, are you still writing because you love it? I’m continually surprised by how complicated the reasons become to keep a person writing.
So here’s a thought. What if, before you sit down to write tomorrow, you take a moment and ask yourself, “How do I want to feel when I’m done writing today?”
What if your goal, instead of being x number of words written, is “I want to feel productive, or creative, or clever?” Or maybe if you’re on deadline, your goal is, “I want to be less panicked and feel like I made progress today?”
How will that shift your outlook while you’re in the act of writing? When you get stuck in a scene, will you be more inclined to stay in your chair and struggle through it, knowing that the reward of feeling good about your writing awaits you?
I have to wonder if a good portion of writer’s block isn’t caused by feeling bad about our writing. If you have a crappy writing day and feel unproductive and worthless and terrible at writing, how much less likely are you to subject yourself to that torture tomorrow? And the next day and the next day as all the negatives stack up?
It’s undoubtedly the topic of another post to consider how to feel good about our writing. But it’s probably enough for now to ask you to be aware of how you feel after you’re finished writing each day and how you WANT to feel after you’re finished writing for the day.