By Alissa Johnson
When I was in graduate school, I sometimes sat in front of my lap top (usually in bed because I never could write at a desk) and felt the frustration build. I didn't know what happened next and I needed to know so I could turn in my assignment!
In those days, the way I felt about my writing dictated how it went. If I felt clear and focused, I got things done without a hitch. When I wasn't so sure or doubted my abilities, the only thing that kept me going was a good deadline.
I know I'm not alone in this. My private my clients and writers in the Inspired Writers Studio regularly share their struggles, and so often their moods take the driver's seat.
The thing is, your mood isn't a very good indicator of how well you write or how the process is working.
You've probably heard me say that before, but it's true. I once read an early draft of a novel I'd written only to find that the parts I worried about, I liked. The parts I'd felt so good writing? Not so awesome.
On a day to day basis, emotions aren't so reliable. They're better paid attention to over the long term. Consistently frustrated with your writing? That's something to address. Just frustrated today or this week? Might not be a big deal.
It's also possible to put those emotions in perspective. One way is to track your writing. Writers in the Studio do it regularly, recording how they feel about their writing and what they've actually accomplished on any given day.
They don't take long to do it—just a minute or two. But inevitably they see that their emotions and feelings tend to exaggerate the truth. That day they felt certain they'd never make any progress? They wrote 1,000 words or more.
Or they discovered that they felt worst when they weren't writing, convinced they'd "never be a writer." All it took to turn that around? Taking the 10 or 15 minutes they had to write that day. It turned the tide.
Give tracking a try over the next couple of weeks and see what you find. Just remember to keep it simple. A sentence or two will do. Something so easy you can't put it off! Let us know what you find in the comments below or join the conversation on the Facebook page.