Zabowska's Blog

November 17, 2009

Staying Unstuck

Filed under: Uncategorized — zabowska @ 8:37 pm

      Some writers have to learn how to get unstuck. Getting unstuck is a
       mental game, a game in the head, and mostly an inside deal. In order
       to learn how to get unstuck, writers must learn their own mental
       Many writers walk around either thinking that they are inspired to
       write or that they don’t feel like writing. But either way, they can’t
       tell anyone why they feel the way they do!
       Some writers feel stuck because they haven’t been writing. But they
       think exactly the opposite: They haven’t been writing because they
       seem to think that they are stuck. If all of this seems like a psychic
       conundrum, it probably is.
       Inspiration isn’t random or quixotic. Smart writers learn how to
       conjure inspiration by paying attention to what happens right before
       and during a good writing session. For instance, If I write three days
       in a row, I can count on the next four, five, and six days as being
       productive. If I miss even a day, when I start up again, it will be
       either really great (my unconscious has been at work or really awful
       and depressing (because I lost my thread).
       If I miss more than three days, however, I know it will take me three
       days of writing, of staying with it even though it is sucking horribly,
       to get my rhythm again. It seems the same for athletes and musicians
       and artists and parents who are away from their kids. It takes about
       as much time as you were away to get back to where you were.
       Knowing that, knowing how painful it is to write through these bad
       days, is what makes me very motivated to not miss many days.
       Some writers ask me: How do you do it? How do you write every
       day with everything that is going on in your life? You seem so
       To which I answer:  I’m not disciplined. I just want to keep working in
       order to avoid the painful consequences of not working. I don’t want to
       experience gaps in my writing, which may take me days or weeks to get,
       back on track.

       I know how much I have to write in order to write fairly smoothly,
       without angst and drama.  I write two hours most days, missing
       very few days. Noticing this rhythm in my work has helped me stay
       unstuck in my writing and to stay unstuck.
       So writers, I urge you to set up a consistent writing time in which
       you could write for an extended period of time each day. If you do
       this, you won’t be stuck very often.


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