In many ways, my latest work-in-progress, Carillon’s Corpus, has been one of the most difficult books I’ve ever written. So much happened while I was writing it—both in my private life and in the outer world. It has felt like I’ve been swinging from one catastrophe to the next.
There have been many days I didn’t feel like writing. Some days, I gave myself a break and either took the day off or gave myself a small vacation from writing. Others, I wrote anyway. I have a habit of writing every day, even if it’s just a thousand words. A thousand words builds up over time, and it will often lead to two or three thousand.
The sad truth is, words don’t always flow, even for “experienced” writers that have finished multiple novels. Sometimes the muse doesn’t sing to you. Sometimes she turns her back or leaves the room entirely.
You don’t always need her. Write anyway. It’s easier to get something down rather than hide from your book. You can edit and revise a heap of jumbled words. If you write nothing, all you have at the end of the day is…nothing.
I’m unhappy with this manuscript. I know the places where I felt like I was working in a freezing garret all alone. Still, I have clay now. I can mold it into something I like. I can crush it between my hands and let it ooze out my fingers.
The best advice I can give any aspiring writer is: learn to love revising and editing. They are your best friends. Unlike that slinky, fickle muse, they are steadfast companions ready to help you as much as you want.
Sometimes, you have to take a break. There’s no shame in that. If you can, however, write even if it hurts. Write when the world is tumbling into chaos. Write when your heart is breaking. Write when your thoughts are dull, dusty things that don’t want to coalesce into anything sensible. Know that in the end, editing and revising will be there to help you make sense of it all.