How goes it in the world of writerdom? Wait. Let me guess. It was really good. It was really exciting. You had GOALS and PLANS and TARGETS and IDEAS. You had outlines and notes and maybe even index cards.
Now it’s just… kinda ok, ya know?
Like, you can look at your plans and maybe write a bit.
Or maybe you’ve decided that today you need a break just to get things back in order.
But it’s not flowing. It’s not pouring from your fingers in an urgent torrent of magic. Your typing speed has dropped from ‘ridiculous’ to ‘mildly amusing’. You’re just not feeling it, you know, right there, in that place where you feel your stories.
Welcome, writers, to the shit-slog.
The period in between flow and the muse where you actually have to do the work.
This is what writing really is.
This is what writers really do.
We show up. And show up. And show up again. Even on the days when it all seems like hopeless bullshit. Even on the days when your heart is breaking in two. Even on the days when you just feel… nothing.
Sure, every process is different. I write fiction in intense, frantic bursts every few months with long periods of non-fiction in between. Friends of mine are more measured, chipping away, a little bit every day. But whatever the big picture process, we’re here, all the time, in one way or another, in front of our words. In service to our words.
That’s not to say you have to show up every single day otherwise you aren’t a “real” writer. You know us well enough to know we think that is some weapons grade crappery right there. But if you want to finish your story, you have to show up and finish your story, even after the initial rush and excitement has worn off. That might mean reluctantly taking time out of your weekend, or staying up a bit later when you really want to go to sleep.
And the words you pull out of yourself in the hard times and the void times and the just-kinda-nothing times, they’re the ones that are going to get you to the end.
Because as you plough turgidly through them you are making the story go, making connections in the back of your brain, germinating ideas that will slot neatly into the ones you already have, and then one day all of a sudden from the manure of the shit-slog, the muse will start to take notice, and the flow will come back, and without you even noticing, you’ll be excited again, and your story will shine.
Sarah & Team WHQ