“Fight through it” — this is an inspirational saying that my friend and mentor Dr. Rob Gilbert often invokes on his Success Hotline (973.743.4690). One morning just recently a version of this tailor-made for us popped into my head: “Write through it.” This is a three-word little pep talk that really packs some power. I’ve jotted it down on a 3×5 pink index card and propped it up by my writing desk where I can see it easily. It’s already proven helpful to me in wrestling with some wordsmithing problems that you may be encountering yourself. A few examples:
When you’re feeling tired and sluggish: write through it. Whether you’re physically, emotionally, or mentally fatigued, if you fight through it by writing through it, you’ll often find yourself becoming more involved and energized. When this happens, your tiredness just seems to drop away and often you’ll find you have a second wind — a burst of creativity that takes you somewhere unexpected and exciting.
When you’re feeling distracted and scattered: write through it. Sometimes we come to the page with too much on our mind and we feel too fragmented to focus. But just the act of putting one sentence together and then another can seduce us into tapping our powers of concentration and intention — and this can free us to give undivided attention to the job at hand. When this happens, our ability to focus can actually intensify.
When you’re feeling stuck on a thorny plot point or dissatisfied with a chunk of description or dialogue: write through it. As Dr. Gilbert says, “Don’t get frustrated, get fascinated.” Challenge yourself to come up with three possible new plot paths or to rewrite your dialogue with more wit and verve. Plow through your Roget’s Thesaurus and come up with a handful of sexier verbs to spice up your prose. Force yourself to extract 20 words from a page and see if your writing is tighter and sprightlier. In short, figure out ways to write through your problem by going over, under, around, and through it. Play with it and maybe, just maybe, it will play with you — and something wonderful will emerge.
Any suggestions for writing through a rough patch in a project? I’d love to hear them.