I’m a little sore. I’m working some muscles I’ve let get a little… soft. Wobbly. Gelatinous, even.
Today I sat down to outline a novella. In the course of an hour and a half, I only got 1100 words written. Simply put, that’s not enough.
Maybe you look at that number and you’re impressed. Well, cool! I guess I can be impressive. However, to reach my writing goals, I need to be writing far faster. We all have different goals. Know your skills and set your goals accordingly. For me, if I’m going to complete the novella in my projected timeline, I need to write more words per hour. I can only dedicate an hour on a typical day, which means I need to pack that hour with the most words possible.
So what happened? Why didn’t I write as much as I feel I should have? Did my laptop decide to update to Windows 3.1415? Did my children spontaneously combust again? Did I leave the Star Trek marathon on in the background?
None of the above.
Last week I wrote about how I’ve spent the last month or so reading instead of writing. And it’s been wonderful! But because I’ve not been using my writing muscles, they’ve gone flabby. Floppy. Blubbery, even.
See, creative writing is a muscle. Some people are more inclined toward using it, just like some people are just naturally able to build up more physical muscle mass. Everyone can build up some muscle, though. It doesn’t matter who you are; you are capable of creative writing.
Ah, but it takes work.
And once you have those muscles, it’s easy to lose them. Just like muscles turn to fat, your creative writing skills can turn to binge-watching skills.
That might sound insanely depressing. You had skills once, but then you picked up a full-time job and you’ve got your pet goats to take care of, and don’t forget working on your polo skills! You haven’t written in a few years! Is it hopeless?
You might be blobbish now, but you can get back into shape. It’s not too late.
I’ve done this enough times that though I’m disappointed in my output today, I’m not surprised. Tomorrow I’ll write more. And the day after that? Even more. Feel the burn.
Some people say you need to write every day. I disagree with that prescription. However, it’s important to write regularly. Six days a week? Every other day? Yes. Finding what works for you is so important! But write and keep writing. Build up those muscles.
And if you’re sore afterward? Well, enjoy the burn and get back to it tomorrow.