Though it’s true that I’ve been busy with other things in my life over the last few weeks, it’s also true that I’ve hit a bit of a lull in my writing. Frankly, I haven’t written anything worthwhile in what seems like weeks. It feels like I’ve entirely run out of good ideas for stories, and on those rare occasions when an idea does pop up, I’m only able to write a few paragraphs before I realize it wasn’t such a great idea after all and scrap it. It feels like, after a good year of writing and churning out content, I’ve completely hit a stall.
So, what do I do? I’m honestly not one of those guys that can just keep writing no matter how bad the quality is. Some can do it – the goal isn’t quality, but quantity, writing in the hopes that sheer volume will somehow give them the practice needed to improve their skill. These are generally the folks who succeed at NaNoWriMo every year. I think there’s some value in that philosophy, but I’m not totally sold on it either. Mainly because, from what I’ve read at least, those who adhere to this way of thinking often don’t improve all that much as they go along, continuing to churn out nothing but drivel year after year. Sure, you can write a 150,000 word novel, but if it stinks and you aren’t really growing as a writer, then what was the point?
Personally, I’ve tried this method, and it just doesn’t work for me. If I’m writing something and feel like it’s not very good, I’ll either obsess over it until I’ve improved it, or I’ll throw it out. There’s no way I can take the beginning of a story that I know isn’t going to work and force myself to follow through with it until it’s done, regardless of the outcome. This of course presents a few issues though. Like anything else, the only way for me to get better as a writer is to practice all the time. That means I need to be writing something every day. But if I can’t think of anything to write, what am I to do?
So you see the issue I’ve been having. I don’t have a solution. I know what needs to be done, it’s just a matter of doing it. Now that I have a couple of published stories under my belt (one that appeared in the eighth-most challenging market according to Duotrope), I know that I’ve reached a level of skill in my writing that I can actually churn out a decent story now and then. However, I don’t want to stall here. It’s time to progress to the next level, where the quality of my writing is consistently good enough to be published. The only way it’ll get there is for me to buckle down and start writing something. Anything.
I just have to start.