If you missed yesterday’s post I highly recommend you check it out. Author Lily Velez is sharing some of her writing advice, and it’s good stuff. You don’t want to miss any of it. Also make sure you check out her debut novel, The Secrets We Kept which came out earlier this week.
How to Deal with Writer’s Block [Resistance] by Lily Velez
To put it simply, resistance is the “I just don’t feel like writing” part of writer’s block. It’s when you feel like you’re in a tug-of-war with your brain because you’ve been staring at a blank page for the past hour and the words just aren’t magically coming to you for some reason. So the writing ceases to be fun and you decide to give yourself a hall pass for the day and skip your writing altogether.
Let’s get this out of the way first: writing is a discipline. Ask any writer and they’ll tell you the same. Yes, we write because it’s a joy. Yes, we write because it’s our passion. Yes, we write because it is impossible for us not to write. But it’s still a discipline—the same thing that makes an Olympic athlete wake up long before dawn to train, train, train in the name of a gold medal.
There are times when I don’t feel like writing either (or exercising, or meditating, or making a fruit smoothie even) but I push through the resistance because I know the reward is going to far outweigh the effort I had to put in. I know that as long as I take the first step, the rest will come.
So really, in effect, the only way to overcome resistance is simply to start writing. I know it’s not the answer most writers want to hear because they want to believe that there’s a miracle solution to their woes, something they can do that will make the entire novel materialize underneath their fingertips with minimum effort invested. But this isn’t the reality. Inspiration doesn’t fly around like Cupid waiting to shoot you with arrows of creativity. That’s just not how it works.
I will tell you this, however: there have been many days (more days than I can count) when I sat down to clock in my writing hours and I wasn’t ‘feeling it’ at all. Not in the least. Still, I wrote.
I wrote through the resistance, I wrote through the “this sucks” moments, I wrote through the “I don’t want to be doing this” phases. I wrote and wrote and wrote, typing one word after the other. And you know what? One of either two things happened: either I made it to the finish line with relief that I was over and done with today’s writing (and then I could celebrate having gotten a few thousand words under my belt), or at some point during the writing process, I rediscovered my joy and my excitement was back! Either scenario was a win-win if you think about it.
Of course, there are questions to ask yourself if resistance repeatedly rears its head. Most important perhaps is this: is this a story that you’re really, truly passionate about? Do you absolutely love your characters? Do you care about the journey they’re taking in your story? Does the plot light you up?
If you answered ‘no’ to any of those questions, you may need to return to the drawing board. Life is just too short to waste time, energy, and brainpower on a story that doesn’t light you up. Besides that, when you’re writing something you love and care about, the words tend to come that much more easily.
Lily Velez has been writing stories since she was six years old. Not much has changed since then. She still prefers the written word and her overactive imagination over the ‘real world’ (though to be fair, her stories no longer feature talking dinosaurs). A graduate of Rollins College and a Florida native, when she’s not reading or writing, she spends most of her days wrangling up her pit bulls Noah and Luna, planning exciting travel adventures, and nursing her addiction to cheese. All this when she isn’t participating in the extreme sport known as napping. You can learn more about Lily and her books at www.lilyvelezbooks.com.
Lily’s debut novel, The Secrets We Kept, is out now!