Pushing Through

Pushing Through


Fellow Writers,

A couple of days ago [as I wrote this], a woman in a FB writers group I follow shared that she was struggling with completing the first draft of her novel before school begins (she’s a teacher) and asked for advice for pushing through to the end. She only had a couple of chapters left. She said she’d been losing motivation for awhile and that the writing had been going very slowly.

When I asked her if she knew why she’d been slowing down, she said it was because she knew that the next step was “heavy editing,” which she wasn’t looking forward to, that she’d been letting herself “just WRITE” without worrying about “imperfections.”

My response was, “And your creative child is digging in her heels and making you drag her along, one step at a time? 🙂 Can you assure her that you are still in write/play mode, that she doesn’t need to worry about what’s coming next, that she may not even be invited to that party?”

Others in she group said, in essence, Just do it. Just power through and then reward yourself.

We all work differently. What works for one of us may not work for another. And what works for one of us on one project may not work on the next one.

But I’ve never been a fan of force. If I wouldn’t tell a student or coaching client to “Just do it” (and I never would), I’m not going to treat myself that way either.

Deadlines are important (especially when there’s a paycheck attached to them). Without self-imposed deadlines, I would never get any writing done. But I also view resistance as a cue to stop for a minute, to take a step back.


The great Toni Morrison said,

I tell my students there is such a thing as ‘writers block,’ and they should respect it. You shouldn’t write through it. It’s blocked because it ought to be blocked, because you haven’t got it right now.


And, I would add, you don’t want to crush all the fun out of it, to turn your creative self into a miserable, angry brat.

So when do you push ahead?

And when do you stop and reflect, let your imagination work things out away from your prying eyes and impatience?




Reprint of “Something to Consider,” August 21, 2019