Write every day.
I’m sure you’ve heard that advice before. During November, it may have been: Write *1,667 words* every day.
But I’m going to tell you to add a word to that: *something*.
*Something* doesn’t mean the manuscript you’re working on. It doesn’t mean the story that’s making you lose sleep, hair, or confidence in yourself. It just means, well, something:
An email, a Yelp restaurant review, a good old-fashioned letter to your grandma.
A page from a story you haven’t started yet.
A new page from one you finished years ago.
A query letter, whether or not you need one.
An epic blog post on something you care about.
A dream you had last night.
A short story about a completely random topic, like sentient dust bunnies.
Or even a food diary (so long as you’re very descriptive!).
The advice to write every day is solid–a big part of the writing process is showing up and doing the work. Making a commitment to write daily turns concepts into novels. But as much as writing takes commitment, it also takes creativity, and sometimes that cannot be forced. You probably know when you’re being lazy and when you need to rest. (If you don’t know the difference, try to learn it.) Dormancy is a normal part of the creative life cycle, too. Don’t fight it!
(I should point out that this is a “learn from my mistakes” kind of pep talk. I, too, have a hard time not getting caught up in a rising word count or an approaching deadline. But I’ve started giving myself more time to recharge and experiment, and it’s making the writing process more enjoyable–and productive–so far.)
If you need some space from your work, go ahead and take it. Write something else, for fun or function. It’ll keep you in shape while you let your story simmer. It might inspire you in unexpected ways. And chances are, your book will benefit from the break when you’re ready to get back to work.
Her debut MG novel, When Audrey Met Alice, was released in 2014 and her next MG novel, The Summer of Lost and Found, is expected 2016.
Find out more about Rebecca at www.rebeccabehrens.com