Writing, like most things in life is up and down. Some days it flows easily and gracefully. But the next it turns laborious. You may be flying high that everyone loves what you’ve written. Other times you may not be able to find a soul (not even you) to tell you your writing’s any good. It can go like this – you show up to the desk or paper and your head is bursting with ideas. You’ve finally figured out how to say it! Out it comes. Ahh . . . Done. Feeling good. The next day, you sit there at the same keyboard or pad and nothing comes. Your mind is completely blank. Oh yeah, you forgot to put the wash into the dryer. . . . Isn’t that a pretty bird out there?
Many people who go through the monstrous job of completing a book-length manuscript find themselves exhausted from the process. It might feel like nothing will ever come again.
I’m not one who believes in writer’s block. Writer’s stuck? Sure thing. But not a block. (Unless, of course, something very traumatic happens in your life to staunch the flow.) Barring any catastrophic incidents, there is always a way out.
Perhaps you’ve done a project for a client and it is not accepted the way you wanted it to be. You feel defeated.
So, what do you do in these cases? Persevere. As an everyday writer, we need this in our tool box. We use perseverance to get us through the book. The very same skills get you to complete any writing assignment, especially the tough ones. You have it, you just have to work it a little harder at times.
The first step in the process of perseverance is acceptance. Perseverance will get you out of being stuck and keep you going when you’re spent. But it cannot work without acceptance. Once you say, okay, I’m stuck, then you can do something about it. Only then can you persevere and say I’m not done!
A sure-fire way to persevere is to write. Get back on the horse as they say. Put the pen to paper and write. Write about what you’re feeling. Sketch out a devilish plan to get back at the person who dissed you. Whatever you can to get the muscles working again. You might try Natalie Goldberg’s writing practice. 10 minutes on a topic. Go! Before you know it, flow will return and you can pick up where you left off.
Perseverance is like courage. It is something you must wield through daily (sometimes moment-by-moment) conscious choice. Remember perseverance never ends. Completing a manuscript is only the beginning if you are going to publish. There is still a lot of work ahead. And another project waiting to begin, the next assignment to undertake.
Stay with it. Don’t stop. Decide to persevere another day.
A wonderful resource for getting to know perseverance is Julia Cameron’s “Finding Water.”