When Writing is Hard

I have an admission. Last week, writing was hard. Like really hard. I wrote half as often as I normally do, and when I did I stared at the computer screen with distaste. I couldn't connect with my characters. I couldn't figure out what happened next. I didn't have fun.   What, my inner gremlin wanted to know, is the point of writing if it isn't fun? I didn't have an answer.

As the week went on, I started to feel antsy. I walked around with this weird pressure in my chest, and I felt restless and unfocused. Kind of hopeless about everything. 

And then it hit me. I hadn't ridden my mountain bike since Sunday because it was in the shop. I hadn't taken the dog on a walk through the woods because it had been raining. I hadn't made time for reading or friends because I'd been working at home all day every day. I'd devoted my free time to work around the house (we're getting ready for an inspection, the first of many steps, knock on wood, before we sell).

So on Friday afternoon, I went for a walk along the river. The dog and I found a new spot by the water where I could sit on a rock and she could play with a stick. I had walked by it so many times before and never seen it.


I can't properly explain the pure delight I found there. The green of the ferns across the river. The way the sun hit the water. The big, fat rain drops that fell from the sky. Standing under a tree to stay dry. I giggled. Seriously, all on my own, I laughed in the woods. And it felt great.

I won't pretend that I went home and wrote. But this weekend I made time for a ride. I read a book. In between clear coating windows, I made a point of doing the small things that reenergize me. When I did sit down to write, I didn't fight it. I found a groove. I figured out what happened next. I had fun.

When we fill our days with obligation and forget to make time for ourselves--even small bits here and there--we run dry. It's not a state of mind from which creativity springs. So when you find your writing to be a struggle, take a look at how you've been spending your time. See if you need to fill yourself up. How else will you have anything to give to your writing?


Want weekly inspiration like this one in your inbox, including writing prompts? Subscribe to my newsletter.