Being an author is hard work. You only have to eavesdrop on the conversations of writers to get my gist. You will hear soundbites such as writer’s block, lack of motivation, I’ve just discovered I hate my protagonist etc. It can really be a labour of love but I believe that getting through all of those emotions and the practical debris of the craft is what really makes a writer. You get to show what you’re made of. There is a huge factor that makes writing hard and that we sometimes can’t control and that thing my friends, is life.
In my last article I spoke about creating the perfect writing environment. Sometimes however, the elements have ideas of their own. The UK has recently been in the midst of a heatwave (as has the rest of Europe)- at its’ peak hitting temperatures as high as 38 degrees. You can imagine that at that sweltering point, opening windows and operating fans have had zero impact on me creating my perfect writing environment. You know things are bad when you’re sitting still and the weather decides on your behalf that no matter what, you will wilt like an ice cream. In short, my writing has suffered somewhat but I have to be okay with that because I am human.
Good intentions, not so great outcomes
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, your writing plans conspire to go south. I started my week as I meant to go on despite the furnace-like temperatures and aimed to transfer that same motivation to my work. However, this heat has made me feel physically faint and exhausted during the nights when I would usually be writing and so I have had no choice but to listen to my body and give it a bit of a break.
I am somewhat of an organic writer and that works for me, however if this UK heatwave returns, I will need a bit of reinforcement in order to push ahead. I will propose two tactics to my usually organic writing process:
I will enforce a minimum wordcount on myself. You don’t do this? I hear you say- The answer is not really. I write when I am inspired and enthused and when I am not, I stop. That way you stop Writer’s block dead in its tracks as I discussed in this previous article. I definitely do check how many words I have written after a session though as I find it useful to know.
Write notes ahead
Sometimes feeling unmotivated to write doesn’t mean that you should stop writing altogether. Why not write up some notes that will keep you ahead of the game in the next session? My manuscripts are full of incoherent paragraphs containing disjointed sentences and singular words. They act as a guide to my next scenes and thought they would look illegible to anyone else, they act as a beacon for my storylines. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up really pleased with myself because I have more insight into where my project is going. Being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel is a huge incentive for us writers.
So, when the going gets tough, what tactics would you propose to keep yourself going?
Let me know in the comments below!
My god, I really feel you on this one! I’ve been so unproductive in the evenings too (writing, chores – you name it, I’ve failed to do it) – a combination of the heat exhausting me and the fact that I have to force myself to work at work no matter what – so I have no resolve left in the evenings. I do like doing the wordcount thing actually, if I’m stuck. Sometimes I’ll even allow myself to carry it over, which can be helpful if I’m really unmotivated e.g. if I was going to write 500 words every night, but I did nothing tonight, then I have to do 1000 tomorrow…
Hi Naomi, it’s actually been really horrible? At first I was happy about the weather, but while my writing life had been really going well in the previous weeks, it took a sharp dive in the middle of last week. I like your incentive of doubling your wordcount if you miss the previous evening’s one. Let’s hope things pick up for us soon!
The heat over the last week has been insane! I’ve definitely struggled writing inside in the heat but when I go outside all I want to do is relax in the sun haha x
I live in the US but I feel as if it has been too hot here as well. Never before had I thought about it, but the hot is oppressive and kind of squishes and melts the words before you can write them. As it is cooling down, I am getting back into the writing vein.
My recommendations for living a heatwave and writing are drink lots of water and steal a fan to sit in front of!
I love the way you describe the heat as ‘squishing and melting the words before you can write them.’ That’s exactly my experience, it’s like my enthusiasm just evaporates!
Oh lord. I can only imagine in what it’s like in England — when I was in Scotland it was more manageable for sure! I definitely write notes ahead of time, especially if I know I am not going to get to something when I plan to (always then lol). Good to know I am not alone in this.
I got absolutely NO blogging done during the heatwave! I just couldn’t bare it! So I had a lot of catching up to do the day after!
Very well-written post! I’m sorry to hear about the heat wave but at least you’re managing to get through it. I’ve never thought of implementing a word count goal for each time I write but it does sound like a smart idea!
– Michael Anderson, Passport Explored
Imagine being an avid hiker in this heatwave – not a good combination! But i agree, the heatwave seriously made me put off some blogging-related tasks. Hopefully the heatwave passes soon because it’s too much for us bloggers to handle!
Eena ☼ cabin twenty-four
For me, I love writing in the sunshine and in the warm. I love to get out into the warm air and sit on a blanket on the grass, or a bench in a shady spot and put pen to paper with my ideas. I can struggle in the winter when it is freezing and all I want to do is curl up in bed with snacks!