When you are writing, how do you visualize the words? Do they flow or come without effort? Or do you struggle with each one? Either way, you aren’t alone. I’ve strained over writing a piece, agonizing over each word. I’ve also just taken the words as they come as my piece almost writes itself. That’s the writing life.
Feast and famine, sometimes you have an overabundance of words tumbling to the page like a fast moving stream. Other days, it’s like someone dammed the stream and diverted the water elsewhere. Those are the frustrating days. Like every other writer, I prefer the days when writing is like white water rafting.
Like everyone else, I have more days when it’s like someone diverted the river. The trick is to keep going. Don’t give up. What’s happened is more like hitting a slow patch of river while white water rafting. It doesn’t mean the ride is over. It just means that you need to take a breath. Relax. Meditate, if that’s part of your lifestyle. This is not a full break with writing, it’s just slowing down and look around. You might have to paddle during this part of the journey, but it’s still good to be able to do so.
The trick is not to let the frustration take you out. The river has widened, which means there is something to look at. Look around you. See what you can use in your writing. Think of the words you have written. Read them aloud. Consider where your piece is going. Is that where you expected it to go? Are you trying to force the words into a particular formation? Consider whether there is a better formation. Let the words dictate what you write for a while and free write. Sometimes that’s all you need, like going through the slow part of the river. The pace will pick up again. Know that.
Be aware of the piece as a whole. It will dictate where the writing goes. Sometimes we hit the slow water because we are trying too hard to force the words. Relax. Let them come on their own. You will likely find they are coming faster and faster. Without warning, you are back on your wild ride down the river and can no longer coast along with the current. Now you have to Watch the water to keep from hitting snags and rocks.
So treasure the slow portions of the river. It has a lot to teach you. If you pay attention, you can learn a lot. When the ride is finally over, you can look back over the work and see where you need to be and where you are. You might be closer than you think. If you are not where you want to be. Think about that. Why aren’t you there? Perhaps you were trying to write the wrong story.
When you are writing and having trouble, sometimes that’s a warning you are going in the wrong direction. Your unconscious mind wants to write a different story. It’s important to know that. Pay attention. Your writing will be better for it.