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Last Week’s WW: Good Science Leads to Good Fiction

While working on my current project, I’ve run into some tough writing times.

Usually, I can sit down and crank out two thousand words in an hour.  Then I  finish my second or third cup of coffee while using my free hand to pat myself on the back, and I’m done for the day.

But for some reason, working on my Slumber Series, I’ve been overwhelmed.  I would sit down, write two sentences, and think, ugh this is so hard.  I’m never going to get anything done. And promptly switch to playing Hearthstone or watching people on Buzzfeed try foods from other countries.  

For some time, I just couldn’t get through the sludge.  I’d try to get myself to work.  I’d get my coffee, put on my music, the same station that I listen to most every time I write, sit in my office chair, and then slack off just a bit to get myself ready for writing.  I was in the right posture, and surely, once accustomed, I’d start writing.

But I didn’t.

I felt bad about it.  But finally, yesterday, I was fed up with myself.  I was going to park my butt in my chair and do nothing else until I had written something, anything.  I told myself that word count didn’t matter.  Only progress mattered.  I threatened myself with turning off the internet.  Eventually, I turned off my music.  Finally, distraction free.  The guy was at work, the dog was tired from playing earlier, the laundry and dishes where going, so I couldn’t even distract myself with housework.  It was time to write.

But that worried feeling came over me again.  That thought that I wasn’t a good writer, that I couldn’t accomplish anything, that any work that I had done that was decent was a fluke and that everything else wasn’t as good as I thought it’d be and I’d never be successful, and what happens in this story anyway?…

I started easy.  I began by reading over some of my earlier chapters.  I think that helped.

Then, I realized I needed to insert something into the previous chapter.  I wouldn’t call it revising at all, just added a detail.

Next thing I knew, I was writing.

I couldn’t keep my eyes from drifting down to my word count.  Soon, I realized that I had written around 1200 words.  Not too shabby.  I could have been done for the day.  Even though I had nothing else to do, my mind really wanted to be done.

But I didn’t let it.

Okay.  Wrote two chapters.  Things were looking good.  I could stop at any time and be proud of what I had done.  But, it was a short story.  And I was starting to be able to see the finish line.

Suddenly, it dawned on me that if I kept going, I could finish writing that book that day.  I had to go for it.

Three hours later, I had written just over 6000 words, and the story was done!

If I had let that stuck in the mud feeling win, I’d still be working on that story.  I’d still be 2/3 the way through it and dreading working on it.  Not to mention feeling guilty about not working on it.

Instead, I stuck to it, and got through it.  And I really liked what I came up with, too.

So, remember, the only way through is to do.