Everyone has bad days. But life goes on, and your writing can, too. We won’t hold you up with a long intro, but dive straight into the tips, so you can get through your bad day.
Challenge is Good!
When you push yourself to do another lap in the pool or sweat through a couple more reps at the gym, it sucks. Writing is a mental exercise. That means that – sometimes – it will also suck. However, that also means suckiness builds muscle strength, including your writing muscles.
Although we all fantasize that the tough, frustrating, and boring parts of writing will pass by in a montage to your favorite inspirational tune, we all know that isn’t how it works. Writing can be a real pain, but that pain makes the next chapter, the next book, and the next series easier. This struggle also makes all those things better. You can run farther after pushing through the pain barrier, and you can write stronger fiction when you write through the bad days.
Gag Your Inner Editor
Your inner editor is only useful when you’re editing. Unfortunately, no one told your inner editor, and it won’t let you finish a first draft without informing you that your plot sucks, your characters have the depth of a Ritz cracker, and you are a general failure. If this sounds like your personal inner editor, it’s time to gag the jerk. You can have a polite conversation when it comes time to revise, but the editor has no place in early drafts.
Be kind to yourself. Remember that your first draft is actually supposed to suck, and your inner editor is just a stuffy old critic who has never written an original novel in their imaginary lives. Write the worst first draft you can, and rest assured you’ll still end up with a good – or even great – finished book.
Work on Something Else
Sometimes bad writing days come from mini cases of writer’s block. Some scenes just won’t work, no matter what you try. You’ve just discovered a plot hole, and now you’re too frustrated with this phase of the story to even deal with it. Maybe you’re just bored.
Work on something else! Take time to purge distracting thoughts in a journal, give some love to that side project you’re working on, or just focus on a different part of the story. You don’t have to write a book in order, from cover to cover, the way audiences will read it. Give yourself the freedom to follow your muse and write something wonderful… somewhere else in the book.
Luxuriate in Your Story
Like any good relationship, sometimes you need to take a romantic getaway to reconnect. While going on a cruise with your manuscript probably won’t help, you can learn to fall in love again by spending some quality time with your story. Remember why you wanted to write this in the first place, get excited about where your story is going, etc.
The right tools are important. Do you have a story mood board on Pinterest? You should! These situations are what those boards are for. Do you have a playlist for your story? Sit back with some tea and just listen. Scroll through your Pinterest board, or take some time to make one. Find the roots of your inspiration and luxuriate in how awesome they are!
Give Yourself a Break
Ultimately, you need to take care of yourself. Sometimes you need a break, and that’s okay. Step back, go for a walk, and just let the ideas simmer in the back of your mind. Spend some time on yourself and deal with everyday business. Go back to your story when you’re ready. It will still be there.
A bad day is a bad day. Sometimes you can’t avoid it, but there are still ways to deal with it. Whether you go back to your story’s roots or spend some time apart, rest assured you’ll get back together in the end.