5 Low Down Dirty Tricks For Days When You’d Rather Swallow A Pinecone Than Write

This: It’s what’s for dinner.

No matter how much you love writing, no matter how much it tickles your fancy*—whatever that fancy is—there are days when doing it sucks balls. Giant, unpleasantly hairy, sentient alien balls that, apres sucking, are planning to raze the planet to the bedrock.

Unless that is what happens to tickle your fancy. In which case, disregard previous statement. And, you know, ew.**

Anyway, my point is that sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes because of the material, sometimes because of your own brain. Yesterday, I started off the day with a rejection letter, which didn’t do much for my motivation. Some days it just doesn’t want to get done.

Which is when you have to cheat.

I might have a few methods I use. Might.

If you’re looking for ways to get ‘er done on the crappiest of days…*slides you this list under the table*… you might find this of interest.

Steph Snow’s Low-Down Dirty Tricks For Crappy Writing Days

1. Bribery. Hey, it works for toddlers, it works for me. Sometimes you just need that carrot. For example, yesterday I promised myself that I could have an extra comic from the local comic store if I ground out the word count. Yes, I am essentially a 12-year-old in some ways.

2. Enlisting Friends. Meatspace friends, online friends, whatever. Ask someone for a motivation boost. Just, you know, don’t do it like a whiny little brat.
Yesterday, my friend Kat came over in the morning to make cookies and talk writing. Between the chat and the copious amounts of refined sugar, I had the needed boost to finish off ALL THE THINGS in the afternoon.

3. Public Shaming. Ah, social media. You’re so good at this. It’s the flip side of the ‘enlist friends’ scenario. Announcing that you will do something in public invokes the good ol’ social pressure. You have to do it then, or other people will know. And judge you with their smug, judge-y faces. Those jerks.

4. Get To The Good Bits. Note that this only works if what you have to do isn’t a specific project that’s on a deadline. Deadlines trump all. But sometimes, on a longer project, you can get around the bullshit roadblocks by switching to a different part. Write the bit you really want to: the fight scene, the part with the robot butlers, the time warp orgy. Whatever.

5. Just Grind It Out. All right, not so much a trick this one. But I will say that there have been days, really awful shitty days, when all I thought I was managing to do was smear half-dead ideas on the page until closing time. I hated what I’d done and thought it wasn’t worth a syphillitic monkey’s fart.
Until I read it over the next day. Then it realized that it wasn’t bad. It might not have been perfect—though there have been moments when the shittiest, hardest pages ended up being the ones I liked best—but it was far from the word abortion I thought. So, if all else fails, keep in mmd that you could be dead fucking wrong about the quality of the work you’ll produce. It might give you the juice you need to hit that word count.

Got your cheat sheet? Good. Then get out of here and write some words, you little badgers. It’s okay to use these tricks on the DL. I won’t tell anyone.

*Fancy Tickling is illegal in two provinces and nine states.
**Not that I’m judging you. But, seriously, man, where do you even get a fetish like that?

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12 thoughts on “5 Low Down Dirty Tricks For Days When You’d Rather Swallow A Pinecone Than Write

  1. The proposed alternative of swallowing said pine cone would cure most cases of writers block! Another tip, for days when you really can’t face it, have some very small side projects – poems or short stories – on the go, that you’re not normally allowed to work on. On a crappy day, a finished poem or outlined short story can give you a lift, help you feel like you achieved something or might even help you work out knots in your novel (Or might just save you from devouring said pine cone whole) Not sure how reliable tip is, as haven’t actually finished novel yet…..

  2. I browse a ton of blogs every day, but always wind up reading yours word for word. Always good stuff here. I decided to write out some character sheets last night, (with a pen) because I just wasn’t into other writing. I got stuff done, and it helped. I also admit to having a robot butler in my book on Amazon.

  3. Grind it out is definitely my method. Or I write the good bits, leaving the hard parts for later. Or… oh, let’s face it, on days like that I like to get roaring drunk. Then I write something with a pen, on actual paper, which I almost never do otherwise. If what I have then written is halfway legible, it’s usually good. Or, at the very least, interesting. As far as swallowing pine-cones goes, I’ll have to concur with Mr. Bartleby: I’d would prefer not to.

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