Those days when you just don’t want to write…

Anyone who has been reading this blog with any regularity will have noticed that I’m doing pretty well on the writing front. Apart from one day last week when I didn’t write anything I have written around 3k a day on my novel and one day wrote just over 10k. Surprisingly enough, or maybe not, it was the day after the 10k that I didn’t do anything. Brain was fried mush. I understand that’s a breakfast delicacy somewhere. Ah yes, Hannibal Lecter’s house.


I haven’t been feeling the book as much over the last few days. Not since the 10k day, to be honest. I’ve kept at it, but today I just don’t want to write. I was a good girl and worked on my comedy erotica story for a contest that L.M. Stull is running (click here for more information and to enter) and I also worked on my Splintered Lands story (click here for the guidelines if you are interested in submitting).

The Splintered Lands world is a real departure from my usual thing. It’s a very bleak world with fairly low level magic. I’m normally a blow-everything-to-hell-and-back kind of person but you need a lot of magic users to do that in the Splintered Lands. The constraints of working in someone else’s world are a challenge, but one I am enjoying.

So it’s a bit strange that I’m not feeling my own novel as much. Or maybe it isn’t strange at all. I seem to be getting bored of it. Of course, this is where it becomes work instead of fun, mad doodling with words. If you want to get somewhere you’ve got to work at it. But how do you do that when you just don’t feel like it?

Well, firstly, I’ve given myself permission not to work on the novel today. I’ve done well, been going steady with it for a few weeks – it’s two thirds written, which isn’t bad at all, and I think I deserve some time off, if that’s what my brain wants.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that I have to take time off from it altogether, only from writing the actual novel. A problem waiting to happen with this book is that I never planned it out. Just went along thinking, what can I do to my MC now? What trouble can I get her into next? What’s the worst thing that could happen? So the poor girl has been attacked, attacked again, and had to watch various friends die. Which is fine (unless you’re her) until you get to the point where you really have to draw everything together in order to head towards the final showdown.

That hasn’t happened so much. So I think I will spend some time planning today, aiming to draw all my various insanities together so that they make sense, and even make the final showdown the inevitable thing it has to be. People have to want to know how it all gets to that point. Otherwise, they’ll just flick to the last page. “Oh, look at that, they all die. Next!”.

Yes, planning would definitely be a good idea at this point. Who knows? I might even get excited again and write something. But shhh. Don’t tell my brain that. It thinks it’s got the day off.

About Mhairi Simpson

Writer, dreamer. Magic, dragons, pink mice, cake. Come say hi!
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14 Responses to Those days when you just don’t want to write…

  1. alberta ross says:

    I won’t tell – lips sealed – mum’s the word – however if you think a bain is that easily fooled ! well!

    good luck

  2. knittingknots says:

    Been there, know that feeling well…

  3. Wildpokerman says:

    Just hammer out some terrible prose to meet deadline and rewrite to greatness is my tactic.

  4. On those days that I just don’t want to write I don’t write. I’m not the butt in chair type, and pushing myself only makes the writing harder. But I never stop plotting and planning and thinking about the novel. I just might be watching HGTV or reading a book while I do it πŸ˜‰

    • Right! And since I gave myself permission to take a break from it I actually got a second wind and am now writing away. Sometimes the block just needs a bit of room to fall over on its own, rather than pushing and shoving at it.

  5. Carol Riggs says:

    Well, maybe your brain just NEEDS a day off! And your subconscious can mull things over, meanwhile. Good for you for your productivity thus far!

    • Thank you! I think the only problem with taking a day off is that my brain gets out of the habit of writing. Today I ended up giving myself permission not to work on the novel, and then ended up going back to it about an hour ago and writing 1500 words. Sometimes just taking the pressure off is all you need, but I find that it is better to work on it every day, simply to avoid getting into the habit of ‘oh well, I’m doing ok, I’ll just leave it today’.

      This coming-back-to-it-later was what I was hoping would happen when I told myself I could take a break. For my self-esteem, as much as anything, I feel more productive if I know I’ve done my two chapters every day.

  6. Devon says:

    I’ve been waiting for ‘ A Dance With Dragons’ , GRR Martins epic for 5+ years. A day off doesn’t seem so bad. Keep thinking, be the characters friend for a while, then thier I have a clue, LOL…I’m just saying look at different angles if you need inspiration.

    • Hahaha Thank you πŸ™‚ In the end it was ok. I just needed to get a bit of distance and think about where I was taking the narrative. I was just at the two thirds point and needed to start thinking about building up to the big climax. Hoping I haven’t undershot, but I’ll need to add in a bunch of worldbuilding stuff anyway, so I should still end up somewhere between 70-80k. That’s the aim, anyway :S

      Most of the time I’m this girl’s enemy. Poor thing. Today I was her friend for a while. She deserves it.

      And why shouldn’t you have a clue? You write. You’re as entitled to an opinion as the next person πŸ˜€

  7. Nancy Beck says:

    Saw your comment on Twitter. Will RT this today (as soon as I’m done with this post).

    I went through that today. I finished a novella and now I’m editing it. Looked at it today and thought it was crap. Tomorrow, I might consider it fantastic writing, who knows?

    I go back and forth all the time.

    And I can’t tell you how many times I got bored with my other WIP (which is still a WIP, lol). That’s why it’s on the backburner right now.

    I think you’re doing the right thing by doing something that’s different than what you’re used to doing. Could shake up a few brain cells.

    It’s why I sometimes *read* a novel in a completely different genre.

    • Yes, you make a good point. Variety is the spice of writing, as well as life πŸ™‚ I think the longer you spend on something, the more you come to hate it, especially when you created it in the first place. Like living in a partner’s pockets, in the end you just get sick of them.

      I’ve taken to reading thrillers recently and it’s been very good for my writing, giving me that idea of getting external conflict in as well as internal. Now I just have to sort out pacing, character development and probably a million and one other things and I might end up with a manuscript that won’t completely humiliate me when I submit it πŸ˜€

      Thanks for commenting πŸ˜€

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