I’ve had several days recently where I haven’t wanted to write and when I say don’t want to write I mean DO.NOT.WANT.TO.WRITE. Like, I’d be willing to scrub toilets to keep from writing. Sure, none of us are supposed to admit this because it really is a dream job for anyone blessed enough to have it, but some days it just feels like WORK.
Okay before someone emails me and says “well duh that’s because it’s hard” that’s not what I mean. Writing has always been hard. There have been times that the writing is a lot harder slog than it is now—I’m thinking particularly about the three years I spent trying (and failing) to write serious, high brow, literary fiction. What I meant when I said writing was work wasn’t that it was hard. What I meant was that some days it feels like a job instead of this really cool hobby that I’ve somehow convinced people to pay me to do.
During the days and the weeks where it feels like a job? Well I don’t want to do it. Just like I never really wanted to go into an office or bother caring what went on during those ridiculous staff meetings they used to make us attend. I just didn’t care. It was all so pointless. And there are days that writing feels like that. Especially at the beginning of a novel when I haven’t really fallen in love with my characters yet and even though I’ve got a plot I really don’t know where things are going with me and them.
Those are not the day of 7000 word counts. Those are the days when I’d be happy with 2000 words if they’re just good words. Heck, some days I’d be happy to get 1 word out that isn’t Chapter (insert number here). But the thing is this is a job and no one pays you for work you wish you’d gotten done.
So I’ve accepted that some days are going to be work. Writing is going to be a job some times and that means treating it just like I did all those days in the bloody office when I was ready to bang my head against the keyboard. I’m just going to sit down and do it already. Okay, so maybe the words will suck. Maybe I’ll have to scrap 90% of what I wrote and redo it later when I feel like the writing isn’t work but the trick is to sit down and write it anyway because there’s always a chance that 10% will be salvageable and that’s better than nothing at all. Even for the days when it’s just work.