I didn’t write anything all last week. Then, I had a tiring, somewhat stressful but ultimately enjoyable weekend away at a gaming event, getting home later last night than planned. And I’d completely forgotten about my dentist appointment this morning. All I wanted to do with the rest of today was sit on the sofa and watch TV. But I had a writing date scheduled with a writer friend this afternoon, so I duly made my way to Brick Lane to meet her.
On my journey, I thought about how fried my brain was, how tired my body was, and how much I didn’t want to spend the afternoon writing. I was feeling demoralised about the intensive novel drafting programme I’m in the middle of, and the short story with the looming deadline felt like a millstone around my neck. I was sure I wouldn’t be able to focus, that I’d get nothing done, and all I would get for my trip out would be more despair.
Then, I arrived at the cafe, got myself some tea, chatted for a while with my friend, and settled in to write.
Three hours later, I had edited two chapters of my novel, written an entirely new (and very exciting) scene, completed 1,200 words of the short story (only 2000 to go), and pruned another short story to fit the word limit of an upcoming competition. I had also found multiple new submission opportunities in the back of Writing Magazine, my go-to place for where to send my completed work.
So, after failing to schedule writing time last week, and feeling as if I would never write another word again because it was just too hard, I had a tremendously productive afternoon and now feel very pleased with myself. I’m also enthused about getting to the wholly new section of my novel, rather than being terrified of it, and I am confident I can complete the short story in plenty of time before the deadline.
An assigned slot of two to three hours, outside the flat, with another writer to keep me focused and provide companionship *always* produces good results, no matter how I feel on the day. But this is a lesson I have to keep re-learning, as my brain is so very good at persuading me I have to be in the “right frame of mind” to write, and that today is not it.
At least the lesson was very fresh in my mind when my friend suggested we meet again on Sunday for more of the same. I said a very enthusiastic yes, and now it’s in my calendar so I’ll have to go!
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