TL;DR Keep at it, rinse and repeat. Eventually, the word-count will add up.
I’m still in high school at this date and time. Miserable experience, I know. The long and the short of it is that I can’t write regularly. There’s sports and homework and tests and compulsory reading and the texts from friends on a Friday night that roughly translates to “u busy? lets hang lol” (atrocious punctuation included). Now, my friends are great and all, but you can’t exactly stop and tell them that: “Actually, guys, I want to stay in and work on my dorky sci-fi novel.”
No, you can’t. Same as you can’t seem to say no to your teachers or employers or even your family. All that’s left to do after the clock runs down is to say no to yourself and your projects and go to bed, hoping that the next day you will write at least a few pages.
Writing and finishing a piece is a tough job which takes time, I absolutely know and understand. But you know what will be a tougher and longer job? Rewrites. Edits. But more on that later.
Because, you see, it is physically impossible to edit a blank page with 0 words in the bottom bar of your Word document.
The blinking cursor is intimidating for sure. Get yourself a timed 5, 10, 20, 30 minutes a day. Go! Write the worst nonsense you can, but don’t stop, don’t let a 1-day gap between writing sessions become a week, a month, a story lying in your proverbial drawer, gathering dust. Or, you know, in your head or the Notes app on your phone.
I’ve been there. School and a lot of Stressful Stuff™️ inevitably got in the way. I stopped writing for almost a month. What used to be fun became a mountain looming above me – I was beyond late for all sorts of editing and re-writing deadlines that I’d set myself. The ‘write 20k this week or die’ alert from your Google Calendar is the stuff of nightmares, I’m sure you’ll agree.
What helped with both the stress and my slow progress was coming up with ideas and little story notes while I worked on my other commitments. At school, on the subway, buying groceries. When I re-read them, the world and characters I was building all along became richer, more thought-out and real.
Never stop thinking about your manuscript, finished or not. If you’re too busy to write, get inspired by the things keeping you busy. Being afraid of not writing enough, or not writing well isn’t a valid excuse.
See you after that great writing sesh.