Troublesome Story

stabbity The genie story is being…troublesome. I finally figured out the problem, which was that it wanted me to go back and braid in the villain POVs it had merrily tossed by the wayside earlier. This led to me stamping about the house snarling, “You could have told me so,” at the Muse, who just laughed and selected another bonbon from a pretty pink-wrapped paper heart.

Some days, I think she does things just to spite me. Other days, I know she does.

Crappy writing days happen, and this week’s been a string of them. They come in different shapes and sizes.

There’s the “everyone will hate this, it’s full of holes, you’re not a real writer” days. There’s the days when you have to drag words kicking and screaming from your cerebellum, chip them free of old leaden rock. There’s the “cat videos are so much better than this” days, and the “Jesus fucking Christ what have I got myself into, we’re all going to starve because I think I can write” days. There’s the days you have to fight so hard to preserve your writing time from the internet, from friends who think “well, she works at home, of course she has time” or from the stupid machinery of living–you know, the stuff that forces you to do Other Things like shop for groceries or take the rubbish out.

After a long run of bad writing days, one can question one’s commitment a tad. This is when habit and discipline save you. Even two hundred measly words and a bucket of frustration is more than one had yesterday. (The frustration’s great fuel for running. Silver lining, I guess.) This is why I tell people who come to me for writing advice that it’s crucial to write every day, even if only for ten minutes. Set your smartphone or tiny kitchen timer. Carve out that space, and use it. It will save you when the bad writing days (inevitably) come along.

Sooner or later a good day will hit. You just have to be ready for it, and it’s a lot easier to be ready when you’re in the habit of showing up.

So I’m stubbornly going back to it. I thought I’d finish the genie story this week, but I guess it wasn’t in the cards. Today is for revising and knitting in more of the villain. Gutting it out, one day at a time, waiting for the magic. Sometimes it only happens in dribs and drabs, but those accretions add up. And finally, at last, you’ll have a whole zero draft on your hands.

That’s worth a little frustration.