Getting Over a Bad Writing Day

Anyone who writes on a regular basis has had to deal with a bad writing day: those days when the words just won’t flow, when the pacing feels off, when you know where you want to go but can’t seem to get there, or when you don’t know where to go at all. Yesterday was one of those days for me. Although it was nothing new, it did bum me out. Luckily, I have a few tips for beating the bad-writing blues.

  1. Remember that you are not your writing. For those of us who consider ourselves “writers,” a bad writing day can practically spur an identity crisis. But a bad writing day–or bad writing–does not a bad writer or bad person make.
  2. Believe in the power of revision. Back when I was thirteen, I remember feeling totally dejected after a bad fan-fic writing day. I called my best friend to tell her all my woes. She said, “Can’t you just delete the scene and write something different tomorrow?” Eureka! As long as you don’t carve your stories into concrete, this solution can work for you, too.
  3. Don’t consider bad writing wasted writing. I know I’ll be using tip #2 as soon as I sit down to write today. It can certainly feel like wasted effort when I delete an hour’s worth of yesterday’s words. But every bit of bad writing you get out of your system makes room for the good stuff. You may not have figured out the perfect way to craft a scene, but you’ve definitely found a few ways that don’t work. That’s important information, too.
  4. Congratulate yourself for writing at all. Writing is hard work, and even more so on a bad writing day. ‘Tis better to have written and deleted than to never have written at all.