When Life Kicks Your Writing Day In The Teeth…

You make teeth juice!

…hm. No, no, that doesn’t sound right.

Let’s see if we can’t find better truth than “teeth juice,” delicious as a fizzy enamel beverage might sound. See, yesterday, my writing day was eaten by bears. Just gobbled right up. Nothing to be done about it — it was the kind of day that started early with an inspector coming over to stick a finger up the house’s bum and check its temperature, and then segued right into a great creative meeting in the afternoon, and so on.

I was able to admittedly get like, 500 words down — but that’s not exactly an impressive haul, not compared to a normal writing day. What to do, then? How to recoup and recover?

One: Lie Back And Think Of England

Suffering frustration over things you can’t change is about as productive as smashing your fingers with a ball peen hammer and then trying to play the piano. Nothing you can do is going to change the reality, not today, so suck it up and move on. Don’t poison your brain with undirected anger: no rage-a-holic behavior is going to save your writing day. As I sometimes say, it’s like yelling at the tides.

“Stupid tides! How dare you come in! And out! And in! And you’re… you’re wet. And stupid!”


*punches self in crotch*

*falls over in sand*

*murdered by tiny crabs*

Two: Do Work

Writing isn’t always about writing.

It’s why my agent has noted she prefers the term “author” — writer sounds like you do one thing and one thing only, which as I’ve noted in the past (“Writers Don’t Do That“) is not true.

So, you’re out there like an unanchored boat in a crazy wind and you’re nowhere near your Magical Write-Machine, what do you do? Me, I took some notes on my iPhone on the current book, then had a meeting — and the meeting was all about present and future work, so that filled the space appropriately. What else could you do?

Take some voice notes, maybe.

Or, handle some administrative stuff: deposit checks, buy red pens, send out some contracts in the mail, all that other stuff that can easily get kicked in the teeth.

Make some phone calls.

Write some emails.

Something — anything — related to the work you’re doing is a) going to make you feel productive and b) stuff that probably needs to get done anyway.

Three: Keep Your Head In The Game

If you’re me (and Jeebus help you if you are), it’s easy to get your head tangled, twisted, easy to lose momentum on something by being away from it too long. Ensuring that doesn’t happen is, for me, straightforward enough: all you have to do is devote some brain time to the project at hand. Think about the story. The characters. Play the best game ever: the “What If?” game. Hell, before bed, punt your brain into the wonderland that is your story world. See where it goes, what it comes up with. Get excited and energized about the next day of writing, when you once again duct tape your body to the office chair and perform word voodoo once more.

Yes, that means —

Four: Get Your Non-Writing Ass Back To Writing, Writer

Kind of says it all, doesn’t it? Next day, write. You don’t have to over-write, you don’t have to make up for the day you lost — you just have to write some hot, fresh word count. Yesterday’s sins are forgotten as long as you feed the word beast today.

And that, my little scrumptious scrod-boats, is what I gotta do. I gotta go get a shovel and feed the mighty word beast. Did I miss anything? What do you do when you can’t make it a proper writing day?