When Your Writing Rhythm Is Out Of Whack

This past month has been terrible for my productivity. Usually (at least over the past 3 or 4 months) I meet up with my collaborative writing partner on Monday evenings at our favourite coffee shop and we do writing stuff. What’s writing stuff, you might ask? Literally anything that remotely has to do with the writing process. Some nights it’s research; other nights it’s discussing plot; and low and behold, there’s even an occasional night where we do actual writing.

Unfortunately, we haven’t met up for about 3 weeks now and boy can I ever feel it. You know that feeling when you go out for a run after not having been out in a very long time? You start off all confident like you think you can conquer anything, like it doesn’t matter that you’re out of shape, and then once you’ve run a lap or two you realize just how wrong you are. That’s me… except instead of running it’s writing.

I can get words down onto the page (sometimes), but they just don’t feel as complete or good quality as they usually are. And yes, I know it’s only a first draft I’m technically working on, but the bare bones are even looking sketchy. That’s something an author never wants to deal with.

I know what I need to solve the problem, but I don’t know when I’ll be able to meet up with my writing partner again. My boss keeps scheduling me for Monday night closing shifts, which means that by the time I actually finish work, my writing partner is already back home in her apartment… which is in another city 45 minutes away from where I live.

Why don’t I just book off Monday nights, you say? Because I need the hours and I can’t afford to lessen my chance for them – I’m already struggling to keep the little hours I currently have. Every writer understands this struggle: paid employment somewhere by day, author by night. In a way, it’s like we’re superheroes, which I guess makes the whole starving artist thing a little better… but only a little bit.

But to get back on track to what I was talking about before, my writing rhythm is out of whack. I’ve been trying to do other things while I wait for another work-less Monday evening – character profiling and plot development – but that doesn’t always go well. There’s been a few breakthroughs, mind you. I discovered the reasoning behind one of my character’s psychopathic behaviours, or at least part of the reasoning why. He’s the antagonist of my trilogy, and I’d always had a rough idea of his past, but doing a profile on him made me discover just how much of a crappy childhood he really had. I actually feel really badly for the guy and I think I can use that empathy for him I have to make his character more three-dimensional.

In other cases, I’ve figured out more about the characters of this new piece I’ve been working on for the past few months. And I did manage to think of a new scene to write in that particular story – though I was at work when it came to me and I didn’t get a chance to write it down. Naturally, of course, I forgot what it was by the end of my shift. That’s just par for the course for me unfortunately. I always come up with the best ideas when I have no chance to write it down. There’s a reason why I sleep with a notepad and pen and/or pencil beside my bed – when you’re a writer you never know when you’ll get the next great idea.

So I guess if you look at it, my writing rhythm might be out of whack and different than it usually is, but it’s not entirely gone. I am still managing to produce ideas and words and even a little bit of plot, even if it’s not going exactly how I’d like it to. I’m not going to say that there’s been no point to this blog entry then – because without it I’m not sure I actually would believe I’m not totally screwed until I’m free on another Monday night. How is this relevant or helpful to you? I’m not really sure. Maybe you’re going through a similar writing crisis, or maybe you’re not. But I know one thing: you probably will at some point in your writing career. If not now, then later. Six months, a year, ten years… It’ll happen to you eventually and when it does, maybe this mess of an entry I’ve created here will help you through it.

As always, keep writing, everyone! And get outside (when you’re not writing that is) and enjoy this spring weather!

Until next time.