I have been sadly unproductive the last several days. I had hoped to write thousands of words every day for NaNoWriMo, bust out an entire novel in 30 short days like so many other authors seem to do. Unfortunately, life has thrown a few curve-balls at me and made that impossible. And that’s okay. I’ll get back on track again.
You may have heard repeatedly the old refrain “You’re not a real writer if you don’t write every day.”
Pure fallacy. Life happens, often in such a way to make putting words on paper highly improbable. This does not make you a terrible person, a hack, a loser, or any other such failures. It is simply the flow of life.
A huge storm may knock out power to your city. All your notes and previous work is 100% digitized and, without power, you have no way of accessing your WIP. Sure, you could write it out old style on paper, if you’re not busy catching leaking water in a bucket or herding pets into the storm shelter. If you’re like me, you don’t have the memory to recall pertinent details about your world-building or character background to make much use of scribbled notes later.
Your child may have an accident and you spend precious work time sitting in the ER waiting to hear the diagnosis. Some parents may be cool with this, but I find a hospital environment too stressful to grind out a whole chapter on my phone while perched in a cold plastic chair that smells oddly of bleach and B.O. You could drop your kid off and ask the doctor to call you when they’re finished. However, that’s generally frowned upon.
You could be dealing with medical issues of your own, your brain so consumed with more immediate problems you are unable to form a coherent thought. Perhaps a relative has just delivered bad news, your dog died, or the President just hit that big red button that makes all the other countries angry. There is an infinite number of occurrences that could potentially stand between you and writing. This week, it was visiting with a round of realtors and an expensive electrical issue.
The point is, it’s okay. You will have bad days, unproductive days, days where you feel like the worst writer to ever pick up a pen. It will be terrible and you will feel terrible.
But it will pass. A new day will dawn, and your productivity will return. It doesn’t matter if you don’t write every single day. Let life do what life does, which involves a lot of wrench-throwing in my experience. What matters is you keep moving forward, whatever the pace, and don’t give up.