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It must be the first Wednesday of June, because here I am posting for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. In addition to the delight of many silly gifs in this post literally no one asked for, you get me as a co-host for the IWSG, along with the wonderful Cathrina Constantine, Natalie Aguirre, Joylene Nowell Butler, and Jacqui Murray!

And our question for this first day of June is:  When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end?

The answer has a lot to do with the dancing stuffy you see here. This is Gritty, the mascot for the Philadelphia Flyers NHL team. Gritty is 7 feet tall, bright orange, and known for doing the unexpected at random times in unanticipated ways.

I’m not saying we should strive to be 7 feet tall and bright orange, but I am saying we could all sometimes use the unexpected and slightly kookoo in our author lives. We can be gritty, in the way a little hard ball of rock sits in a shoe and refuses to be moved. We can be tough, tenacious, and determined.

How do I keep myself writing to the end? Sometimes, I won’t lie, it’s pure, gritted-teeth spite.

There are other methods to keep going, of which I will list a few. Some may resonate with you more than others. If you do end up throwing sweets at strangers, I would like to know how the writing goes afterward. Purely for research purposes, of course.

  • You write tenaciously, knowing you will get to THE END because you refuse to live in a universe where you do not finish this damn book and so reality will re-shape itself to your will through pure, unfiltered resolve.
  • Pretty sure this is what they call ‘visualization’ or ‘manifestation’ or something.
  • Anyway, it’s scientific, and if you can’t trust dodgy internet science facts, what can you trust?
  • You write for yourself, adding in all of your favorite tropes and the moments you really want to see. When the going gets tough, you add in any ridiculously self-indulgent thing because it’s your book and you can do what you want.
  • You take a break, read other things because they’re inspiring and remind you why you want to write, and then come back with fresh eyes and a new-bleeding heart to splatter on the page.
  • Since you’re writing what you would want to read, you start reading from the beginning and realize ‘holy blood of Hawthorne, I really want to know how this ends!’, so you get writing to find out.
  • Alternatively, you start reading from the beginning again and realize ‘this is not going in the right direction’ and abort mission. Some projects will need major reconstructive surgery to fix giant plot holes before they can reach the mythical THE END.
  • You take a break and give the book to trusted beta readers who will diagnose what’s going wrong, or at least tell you which part bored them so much they stopped reading, and then you know to add some explosions, a kitten or two, and probably aliens. All at once.
  • You take a break and read some of your writing manuals for a bit of a kick in the pants and to gain ideas for hurdling over that saggy middle.
  • A lot of these are following a theme, and that theme is taking a break.
  • My writing breaks are usually filled with my day job, and boring things like paying bills on time and cleaning the toilet, and honestly by the time that part is over I’m genuinely glad to escape back to my alternate reality.
  • So yay for the impetus that is fantasizing? I guess?
  • Fuck it. Escapism is a coping skill.
  • And if the choice is between living in a rapidly deteriorating capitalist hellscape or writing escapist fluff, BRING ON THE FLUFF, I SAY.
Am I advocating throwing an entire sheetcake at random strangers? Pretty much, yes. You’re welcome.