After 7 days of forcing myself to write, I have learned a few things about the writing process and regained some of my motivation to continue writing. Truth be told, it took me 8 days because on the 6th day I did nothing. I didn’t write. After the exercise, I have about 5,000 words in total and a short story that is in need of a cohesive rewrite.
The day in which I did nothing was a day where I thought I had a great ending in mind for the story. Fear and fear alone kept me from finishing the story. It wasn’t fear of success or finishing, it was the fear that the end result on paper wouldn’t match how much my mind liked it. This is absolutely the worst kind of blockage a writer can have. I had to force myself to write, even though I knew that what ended up on paper (well, on my laptop) wouldn’t live up to my expectations.
This was the biggest lesson I learned over the past week. No matter what I do or how much I think about it ahead of time, what I spew forth while writing the first time is never going to be as good as I want it to be. What I need to do anyway is write on; keep writing until I allow the entire thought, scene, or sequence to drip from my brain, through my arms, and into my word processor.
Only when I’ve successfully drained this inspiration from my brain can I take a step back and see what needs improving. Someone famous, and I can’t recall who, said, “You can’t edit a blank page.”
This is the ultimate truth. Thoughts in my head stunt me, stifle me, and inhibit my ability to go anywhere further with them. It’s only when I give those thoughts form that I can shape and mold that form into something better, something that people might actually enjoy reading.
The moral of the story? Write. That’s it. That’s all there is to it. As Chuck Wendig says, “Finish your shit.”