Given my usually busy schedule, I have a set time to write every weekday from five to six in the morning. That hour is precious to me, so you’ll often find me in my favorite chair pounding away on my keyboard until the vortex that is my day pulls me away. By the time I sit down in my chair I’ve already had breakfast and at least two cups of coffee, so I’m ready to go. I’m a morning person, so this time of the day is my most focused and productive. Once I sit down, I can usually dive right into writing mode. I’ve rarely had a problem with thinking of something to write.
That’s not to say it comes easily. Sometimes, when I’m in the throes of a story, I find myself staring at the blinking cursor on my screen wondering where I should take the story. Other times, I find myself simply exhausted with the story and I realize I need a break from it – not from writing but just that story at that particular moment. One way I’ve gotten around this problem is to have several things going at once. For example, I’m currently editing a book, working on a new one, and writing a short story. I don’t work on them at the same time obviously, but each day I can decide which one I feel like working on. That helps me make the most of my hour and keeps me from burning out on any particular work.
Then, there are the rare days where my mind wanders and I feel somewhat random in my writing. I don’t feel like working on any of the irons I have in the fire. What to do? I usually just open up a blank Word document and just start writing whatever comes to mind. There’s a lot of relaxation in just writing from a stream of consciousness. Often, I find new ideas take root and turn into something bigger whether its a new novel, short story, or a blog post. The current short story I’m working on found its genesis on one of those mornings when I simply wanted to be random. Before I knew it I had a few pages written, and now I’m well on my way to another story for this blog.
On the other hand, many times I just end up with scraps of stuff in my files that served mainly as a creative outlet but didn’t turn into anything substantial. That’s fine too. I think it’s important to just write during my designated hour each day whether or not it works out. Writing, like any craft, requires exercise to get better. You always have to stretch yourself if you ever want to grow as a writer, much like a runner has to push the limits if she wants to get faster or go further.
On those days when I’m feeling less than enamored with my current work, I just write anything. Get myself out there and run the fast mile to see what happens. It’s better than staring at that damn cursor as the time ticks away.