Welcome to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group!  If you’re a writer, and if you feel in any way insecure about your writing life, click here to learn more about this awesome group!

For today’s episode of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, I’m going to turn things over to my muse.  She has something to say, and maybe it’s something your muse needs to hear.

My fellow muses, I’m sure you all remember what they taught us during muse training: writers are weak-willed and lazy.  They’ll invent all sorts of excuses to avoid writing.  So it’s up to us to use whatever deception, manipulation, or coercion we can in order to force our writers to do their writing!

But after spending so much time out in the real world working with a real life writer, I’ve discovered that what they told us in training isn’t quite true.  Writers want to write.  They really, really do.  The problem is that they set their expectations too high and then feel disappointed and discouraged when they fall short of their goals.

My own writer is obsessed with tracking his daily and weekly word counts.  He’s also started keeping a tally of the total number of words he writes per year.  Word counts can be a great way for writers to measure their own progress.  However…

I know many of you have been dealing with similar problems.  Maybe your writer just “lost” NaNoWriMo, or worse… maybe your writer “won” and is now stuck with a total mess of a manuscript.  Either way, your writer may be feeling a bit frustrated, a bit discouraged—even a little bit (dare I say it?) insecure right now.

Challenges like NaNoWriMo can test your writer’s limits and help them grow.  However—and this is the part I wish they’d teach us in muse training—writers also need recovery time.  This past year, I have allowed my writer to settle into a rhythm of intense writing days followed by periods of slower, more relaxed writing.

My writer didn’t like this new rhythm at first.  He thought I was being too easy on him.  Truth be told, I was a bit nervous about this myself because, as I said, this really isn’t what they taught us in muse training.  But then my writer noticed that, while his daily word counts were all over the place, his weekly word counts were steadily going up.  He stopped complaining, and I stopped worrying.

Write, rest, and repeat!  That’s our writing mantra now.  So if you’re having trouble with your writer, don’t presume they’re being lazy.  Don’t be too hard on your writer, and don’t let your writer be too hard on him/herself.  Let your writer rest.  Give your writer a chance to recover.  Then move on to the next writing challenge!

17 responses »

  1. Kate Rauner says:

    My first book was a NaNoWriMo. I hit my words-per-day target but, OMG, what a mess of inconsistencies and redundancies. How did that experience ever encourage me to fix up the manuscript and – even stranger – start another book? My muse must have taken your courses, because I just released a new book – book 2 of a trilogy and Book 1 won a Finalist book award! How did that happen? Thanks to my muse.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. emaginette says:

    Write, rest, repeat. Sounds so good to me right now.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the ‘my writer’. Hang on to that muse. She’s quite reasonable!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lee Lowery says:

    You have an awesome muse! I think mine needs to go back for a refresher course. My manuscript is a bloody mess, and I don’t even have NaNo to blame for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Erika Beebe says:

    Amen! Wow! My muse would love a dedicated every day regiment but alas, I’ve had to focus on 3 days of hardcore writing and several relaxed days in between. Thank you for this inspiration today. I needed it 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. chemistken says:

    I don’t worry about word counts, daily or otherwise. All I worry about is if the book is progressing at a decent rate. Now, my definition of “decent rate” may vary day to day, but my writing comes in spurts and stops.

    Liked by 1 person

    • J.S. Pailly says:

      I’m trying to worry less about my word counts. I’m still tracking how many words I write each day because I like having that as a metric. But I know it’s not the only thing that matters in my writing life.

      Like

  7. Juneta says:

    I should probably be more concerned about word counts, lol. Happy IWSG!

    Liked by 1 person

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