Today I wanted to discuss those dreaded 'no word' days. Almost every writer I've come across has faced days like this if not once, then countless times. It's those days when you write ABSOLUTELY NO WORDS. Not a single one.
As authors, we're constantly struggling to get as much work done in a given day as we can in order to finish a project or meet one deadline or another. Whether they be traditionally published authors or even indie authors, we all face days where we are simply not able to write a single word, and because of this, we're faced with judgment - sometimes even from ourselves.
Those 'no word' days used to terrify me. Made me feel as though I'd failed somehow and I wasn't an actual author because I would spend hours, if not days (yes, plural) without writing a single word. I'm sure we've all seen those social media posts claiming that you can't call yourself an author, let alone a writer, if you do not write EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.
But now that I've been a writer for nearly a year - and a published author at that - I've come to learn that its not all about writing EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. It's not about the criticism either. Just because I wasn't writing a couple thousand words every day didn't mean that I had failed. Not at all.
I've even worked to join the ever popular NANOWRIMO last November and I'll be honest, I will never participate in that project again. Don't get mw wrong, I can definitely see the community aspect and developmental benefit of joining such an endeavour, but from my perspective it was KILLER. Day after day I felt that if I didn't meet a certain goal then I've ultimately failed. Especially when I would compare my writing goals to others. Never mind that I managed to finish my manuscript because of this project, it was certainly not without its price.
I've learned that it truly isn't about the word count or page count that one can get out on a daily basis that matters, but about being proud of the work that you do, and this means being kind to yourself on those 'no word' days.
I am a firm believer that even when I am not writing that I am still, technically, writing. My imagination does not, and never has, had an off switch, so I am constantly thinking about my characters or where the story is going. Maybe even a new story all at the same time.
The days when we aren't writing a single word, isn't a failure. It doesn't mean we are less of an author than the other person who finished their manuscript or someone who is selling more copies than us.
Learning to embrace those 'no word' days and choosing instead to allow them to happen and not force myself to write has been a monumental part in embracing my life as an author. I've grown to trust my writing process, because we all work differently. There is absolutely no shame in that. None at all. No matter what some carefully crafted social media post may say.
If you have written a story, either in your mind, on paper, on a computer, phone, tablet. If you have dreamed up a scene in your mind because you were inspired by a TV show, or you came up with a cool way for your character to develop through your own book by a song that you heard. Hell, even if you are just lounging on a couch and reading someone else's book. You, my dear, are writing. You're building your arsenal of tools at every corner and are adding onto your imagination one step at a time.
So, if you're struggling with those dreaded 'no word' days, promise that you won't be so hard on yourself. Because, I can guarantee, there is another author out there who is doing the exact same thing, and instead of beating yourself up over what you feel you didn't accomplish, trust the process. Because it's working in your favour.
All the best,