The Worst Time to Write


Last time I talked about the best times to write and ended it with a mention how ‘any time’ is ultimately the best time. By that point, I meant to stress you can’t limit yourself to specific times (unless you absolutely love strict routine and thrive under such!) because you will be stunting your creativity.

That being said, there are times more conducive to inspiration and creativity…these are not them.


1. If You Plan on Editing Simultaneously 

I’m only just starting to get the hang of “write now, edit later.”  I used to be firm about writing and editing at the same time, and it burdened my writing; not only would my word count be low at the end of the day, but I had to take more breaks because I would get so frustrated.

Break the habit of making things perfect or even coherent the first time around. Write simply to write, and your imagination will be set free.

2. When Your Priorities Aren’t Straight

Why are you writing? Who are you writing for — yourself? the readers? For the boss? For the teacher? Depending on the type of writing, you may have to take all that into consideration at some point, but don’t let it define your writing. Write for the story. Write to let your characters and message breathe.

3. When Confidence is Low

All I can think of at the moment is, “No one is going to like this little two-part post series,” but that’s not stopping me from writing it. I’ll get this written, examine why I wasn’t happy with it, make changes for the future and move on to the next.

But if your confidence is so low that you begin changing your writing to please others, then you are essentially lying to yourself and your readers.

4. Nowhere Near Dinner

The worst thing you can do is be writing, writing, writing, come upon a crucial scene, and be called to dinner (or realize you forgot to make dinner). Nothing turns me grumpy faster.

Be aware of time. If you know you’ll be writing for at least two hours but in half an hour you’ll have to stop for some event, hold off. (I love writing after dinner because then I can hole up in my room, everything is quiet, the lights are dim, and I can just write away to my heart’s content.)

5. When Others Tell You To 

I was once part of a writing group at my brain rehabilitation center, and every once in a while we would be called upon to read our work out loud. My palms would begin to sweat, my heart raced, and everyone around me sounded as though they were speaking in a tunnel. Time constraints + Forced to read something that wasn’t ready to be shared = My own personal nightmare.

If others are pressuring you to write that novel or short story you keep talking about, tell them to shut it and they’ll see it when they see it — if they ever do! Writing is personal and you have every right to keep it private; going into a writing session knowing there are already expectations from others will do nothing for your creativity.

6. When You Limit Yourself

I grew up in possession of wild imagination. It kept me company through a lonely childhood, and were I a whimsical-type, I’d say I still look back on my childlike imagination as an old friend.

I know I have the capacity for great imagination still, but when I sit down to write, my brain is cased in shrink-wrap. I allow self-doubt to creep in, reign in my creativity, and limit myself to the realistic.

Your dreams are worth sharing. Your creativity is worth exploring. Define your own definition of normal to be a thing of no expectations. Whatever your artistic bent, follow it with no inhibitions.


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