IWSG: Have I Pushed My Writer Too Hard?

For this month’s episode of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I’m going to turn the floor over to my muse. She has something to say, and perhaps it’s something your muse would like to hear.

* * *

Over the last few months, I’ve had trouble getting my writer to be productive. Many of the juiciest story ideas I’ve brought him had to be put on hold because real life keeps getting in the way.

As I reported in my previous Insecure Muse’s Support Group post, I’ve had some success using writing as a distraction from those real world problems. Unfortunately it’s been sporadic success. Some days my writer would get thousands of words down on paper. Other days, I’d find him like this:

To be honest, I think a lot of the problems my writer is dealing with are less severe than he thinks they are, but the fear and the stress still feel real to him. Writing helps calm him down. There’s no doubt about that. But sometimes my writer is so emotionally drained that he just can’t write no matter how badly he needs to.

So I’d like to ask my fellow muses (writers, you can chime in too if you want): how do you know when to push your writer harder and when to let him or her take some time to recover?

21 Responses to IWSG: Have I Pushed My Writer Too Hard?

  1. I’m going to say you should look for a specific number of hours in a week or a month, rather than every day. Your writer will be grateful for the flexibility, but you’ll still know if you’re on track. (Obviously, you already know if there are extreme circumstances.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I.B. Nosey says:

    Mine says “don’t push”. Let it come naturally, like eating. Don’t eat to eat, eat only when hungry.

    But that’s an I.B. Nosey think-ism so, ya know, you’re welcome to disregard, heh heh.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. chemistken says:

    If I’m just not in the mood to write, there’s no point in me even sitting down in front of the computer. I have no choice but to wait until the muse is ready. Fortunately, this doesn’t happen too often to me. It can be frustrating, but you’ll know when you’re ready to write again.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Juneta says:

    Not sure I do know. Sometimes I think I am taking it too easy on myself. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There are some days it’s just not going to happen. And that’s ok. Other days your writer will simply be looking for an excuse. That’s when you push him to write. At those times, if he writes just 50 words, it’s a victory worth celebration.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The advice I’ve read, which resonates with me, is, force yourself to sit down and start writing. Do what you need to crank out some minimal number of words. If the words are flowing and the muse is with you at that point, keep going. But if even the minimal word count was a slog, stop for the day.

    (Not that I’ve been following this advice, but that’s another topic.)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Angela Wooldridge says:

    That picture looks very familiar! I find timed writing sprints help – just tell yourself to write for 10 mins & see where it takes you, then if you feel like it, time up another 10 mins.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      Makes sense. I usually set aside one hour blocks of time for writing, and I’ve trained myself to be super focused on writing during those sessions. But there’s something to be said for working in shorter periods too. Maybe that’s something I need to experiment with.

      Like

  8. csheldonblog says:

    Hey,
    I was told by my mentor to write 350 words a day, when if you can manage more you can but if not don’t beat yourself up about it.

    I do flash fiction sometimes, which I find helps, because it’s away from what I am normally writting!

    Love the picture

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Donna L Hole says:

    When I’m emotionally drained, my writing tends to be all cynical and complaining. During those times I need a dose of happy thoughts and something easily accomplished.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I can find the same problem – whether its real life issues getting in the way or different ideas coming at me out of sequence or jumbled together. I think one of the hardest parts of writing is getting ideas down in a coherent and structured way.

    Liked by 1 person

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