Last week, I didn’t write. A lot of writers say that you absolutely have to write every day.
And it isn’t bad advice except for when it is. On May 1, I turned in my second book since February. That’s 28,000 words. I was spent. I needed to restore my reserves and that bring me to the first thing you should do when you can’t face writing.
Don’t write. If you are spent, then don’t write. In the past, I’ve tried to write when I was in this frame of mind and all I do is irritate myself. So the first thing you need to do is step away from the keyboard. Put down your notebook – unless you’re making a shopping list. And then find something else to do. It isn’t that I ignored writing as a whole. I read a lot. And by last Friday I realized that I was comparing my stories to what I was reading.
Create. Even as I started thinking about my stories, I knew I wasn’t really ready to write. How did I know? Because I was still happy to keep right on reading. But I’m happiest when I’m creating so I got busy doing other creative things. I spent some time with knit and crochet. I cooked a lot. No seriously – I made a cake at the beginning of the week. Then later in the week I made another cake for my husband’s birthday, lasagna, and homemade Italian bread. As I kneaded the bread, I thought about my cozy. Does my character bake?
Observe. Then my husband and I were watching a movie. “That’s not possible,” I said as one of the female characters fought her way down the hall. Earlier they had shown her in spike heels. No way, no how does any female do martial arts in spiked heels. Sure enough, as the fight scene ended, she was in flat heeled boots. Writers are observers.
When you need to take time off, do it. Engage in something else that’s creative. And when you find yourself once again really seeing the details in front of you, it is time to get some words down on the page.