You still haven’t written anything yet? Dear Lord!… Don’t worry, I get that way too. It’s hard to talk about the writing process past the start of it… I mean, to an extent, if you plot: write till the plot is done. If you don’t plot: write till you feel you’re done. It sounds obvious, right? Yet the MOST ASKED thing at these panels is: how do you do it? I talk to hundreds of writers who start book after book and then abandon them 10,000 words in. One guy I told to publish them in an anthology called “unfinished tales”. He didn’t find it amusing.
But it’s a real question: how do we deal with writer’s block?
I think the first hurdle is to admit something. I’ve talked this over with many authors, and they all agree: there is no such thing as writer’s block. Writer’s Block is an imaginary illness made up by writers to make themselves feel okay about the fact that they aren’t producing jack shit. What the term should be is writer’s laze.
That’s right, writer’s laze. I get it, so do you. We’re lazy. Writers love being entertained. That’s why we do what we do. We entertain ourselves with our stories and are our own biggest fans. But sometimes it’s easier to be entertained than to be the source of it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been like: “It’s time to write… But wait! There’s a Criminal Minds marathon on!”
It happens to us all.
So when friends tell me they can’t write, I say bullshit. When they say they don’t have the dedication, I nod knowingly. If you’re writing, be prepared for the most time consuming job on the planet. It will absorb your every thought and spare moment.
To control this madness, I set myself at 2,000 words a day. If you’re just starting you can do 1,000, but 2,000 is a good number to be at. It keeps you engaged in the story each day but not so bad that you get burnt out.
And if you find you think you’re writing crap? Power through. Just keep producing that 2,000 words until your first draft novel is done. Fixing crappy scenes is what editing is for. And like with poker: you don’t count your money while sitting at the table, and you don’t edit while you write. Don’t even read while you’re writing.
Stick to this regimen, and you’ll be done before you know it.
And never look back.