When I was first getting serious about my writing, it seemed like all the advice I heard was write, write, write. As long as you kept writing, everything would be okay. Fast draft. Don’t think too hard. Just get it out. You can always revise later.
If I got stuck, I would just push through. I’d write something, anything, to get to the other side, to the end.
I wrote pretty decent beginnings, but my endings were (you guessed it) were downright awful.
I produced two drafts of two different novels like that, and by the end, I realized they had so many structural issues; they were nearly unfixable.
That’s when I started doing something different. When I got stuck, really stuck, I stopped writing. I might switch to another document and start brainstorming. Sometimes I’d stop and write in my journal. But I didn’t keep going with the scene.
If I was stuck, I realized, it was my subconscious telling me something. This scene wasn’t working. I knew it on a deep level, even if I couldn’t verbalize it.
Sometimes I work on another manuscript, read for fun, eat lots of chocolate, or watch entirely too much Netflix.
Usually I feel a pang of guilt: but I’m not writing! But there is no timer, no race, no arbitrary finish line. I’ve learned from experience that rushing doesn’t create good writing.
Invariably when I step away, if I am just patient and wait, the inspiration comes. It’s a step of faith.
But my writing is better for the waiting.If I were to give one piece of advice to my younger writer self, it would be: Don’t rush.
I give permission for this to be used in the ISWG analogy under the writing category.