Day Twelve: 19,205 0f 50,000 words
You know the feeling.
It was a long week and you are tired. It’s the weekend. You sit down and know you should write something. There’s laundry to do, dishes. You really should sew that button back on your coat so you look as chic as the girl in the catalog and not like one of the drunk people asking you for change on your way into work every day.
You don’t do any of those things either. The facebook games you swore off so you have more time to write? You find yourself drifting through them, cursing your so-called “friends” for not sending you a purple flower in time to get an achievement that unlocks a virtual cat statue. Some friends they are.
There are emails to respond to. You read them, but inertia has hit you hard and even a quick response seems like too much. Oh right, there was something else, like a novel, you were going to write today.
After a few more cups of coffee and bargaining with yourself over when you can actually start drinking on a Sunday without being a lush (if only I were Catholic, I could drink in church, right?) you drift back to the computer and decide to get serious. Facebook is put away, word processor is up. There is nothing to write; there is too much to write. How can you come up with what comes next in the story when there is a plot to find, tension to build, ambience to create? What’s the point anyway? This novel won’t solve the world’s problems – how could it, you’re a washed up failure. You suck.
You don’t even have clean socks.
You spend another hour procrastinating by reading blogs and opening more tabs that you could read in a year. Not even damnyouautocorrect.com can cheer you up.
Back to the word processor. Your coffee is cold. Today is a waste – you’re way too behind to bother. Maybe you should go look at financing some practical degree at the community college and forget this noveling nonsense.
Maybe you should take the day off….
Look, there are lots of reasons to not write every day. I get it. I’m going to get into this more in another post, but writing every day has never been something I’ve thought of as completely realistic. There are just too many variables in play – from family crises, to just plain needing a day to sleep, to your significant other forgetting what you look like in daylight (or going-out clothes).
While I don’t believe it is obligatory to write every day, I do write most days out of the necessity of meeting my outrageous goals. I know that if on the 28th of a 30-day month I’m at 20,000 of 50,000 words, I’ll be spending the next two days writing 30,000 words. So it’s easier to write as often as possible. Usually, that means every day. Sometimes, it means less.
If you’re going to take a day off, make it because you’re just too busy enjoying life, that you have something else or someone else to be around that is really important to you – just as important as getting your writing dream coming true.
But…. That day I just described? (Yes, this was my Sunday exactly.) This is the last reason in the world to not write. In fact, days like this require writing.
It’s just like a bully – if you give in, they know how to control you. We bully ourselves when we do this kind of back and forth.
And really, there is no getting around it. Days like this are a rule, not an option.
Like my always helpful and mostly understanding boyfriend reminded me in the midst of my despair,
“Whining is inevitable. You can’t act like it doesn’t happen for everyone.”
Right. Yes. Good point.
Call a friend who isn’t totally sick of your artistic angst and complain, write a blog post, get on a forum and despair to the world about how hard it is to write today, tell your cat, tell your spirit guides. Really get into it – far enough you see just how silly you’re being about the whole mess.
Then, get a fresh cup of coffee (by now it’s probably late enough to start drinking, so add whatever you like), or go out and write at a cozy café with your favorite beverage/treat pairing. Open your notebook or word processor…
Even if it sucks, even if you hate every keystroke and word, even if you know you’re just going to go pretend none of this happened. Write even when your 8th grade English teacher is screaming in your head to show instead of tell and that you’ve forgotten every spelling word she ever taught you. Write while you’re still thinking how maybe you should have gone to college for something “practical” and “realistic”.
Write. Tell that no-good-whine-monster-bully that you, me, and everyone we know won’t be stopped by misery.
We’re good at misery. After all, we’re writers.
We’ll just use it for a story sometime.