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Plodding and Prodding

I often feel, when I'm working on a book, that I have to slug through muck to make it to the end. It's the hard part of writing - writing when you don't feel like it or when the story isn't easy to write. In these cases, writing feels more like pulling a heavy load than a fun adventure.

In other cases, it isn't so much pulling a load as much as keeping the beast moving, hence the prodding part.

Both cases are filled with certain amounts of frustration and tension. Often, at the end of these days of writing, I feel worn out, tired, and cranky. Yet, I know the frustration is worth it at the end of the day.

If you plan on writing for any length of time, you will hit days like this, not to mention weeks and months. There will be stories that you want to write, but for whatever reason the writing doesn't come easily. At these times, one of the most important things to do is to take breaks, and allow your brain to relax.

I have found three primary ways to help myself detach from the tension of plodding and prodding.

  1. Get active. I have an active Labrador mix who enjoys taking walks with me. For others it might be running, kick-boxing or any other activity. The object is to move your body.
  2. Enjoy beauty. Finding something beautiful whether music, art, a favorite film or book helps you relax. It allows your brain to stop thinking. If you're like me, the brain doesn't stop thinking, but by allowing it to meander, I can relieve tension.
  3. Meditate. Take time to read scriptures or to contemplate deeper truths such as the immensity of God, or the beauty of creation. If you aren't religious, take time to focus on a favorite poem or song.
Regardless of how you relax and rest your brain, make certain you take the time to do so. By maintaining a healthy balance during the hard writing times, it alleviates some of the tension, and often gives a better perspective to the novel.


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