What I have realized in attempting my first novel (which is very much incomplete at this point as I'm just getting started):
Coffee is a friend. I cannot emphasize the importance of a good brew sitting beside you and allowing yourself to sip away into the depths of paradise as you explore your literary conscious. I dream of being able to have my one cup in the morning, or rather fantasize about it quite often, and grow increasingly excited for it as the night goes on and daylight is only a few hours away.
Crankiness is expected. When you cannot formulate a thought for whatever reason, be it any excuse you may conjure, you will likely lash out (esp at loved ones), which is expected (but not excusable), given the frustration of not knowing where the heck you’re going, whether or not you’re making any sense, and why the heck you cannot sit still and think cohesively. Feeling like you’re on the verge of giving up, but realizing that even that is hopeless, is yet another curious, yet unnerving side-effect of the cranky attitude you may experience.
Never is there enough time. There are many occasions I have such grandiose intentions. Take this past holiday weekend. I had three days off work, yet accomplished very little in terms of writing despite planning in my mind to write a bit each day. Another issue I had described to a friend this weekend how frustrating it is getting back to the piece and moving forward, particularly as I feel drained at the end of the work day and have no energy to think let alone write outside of work, during the work week, and if I do write, I beat myself up for it likely being incoherent given my lack of concentration. Proof: I can’t remember what I just wrote. I suck as a person and writer. Here we go. Okay, so Saturday, I did manage to keep my ass planted in a chair for an hour as I contemplated a plot, wrote a few lines, and pondered how pathetic my efforts are and will ever be. I decided to write from 9 o’clock to 10 o’clock tonight and succeeded, almost. I think I started twenty minutes after nine which isn’t too bad and is at least better than yesterday. At least I’m making up for it a bit, given that I took a break from nine to ten and resumed at eleven. The point is, no matter how minimal of a time period you write, it's all good, and there is always time, even if you need to sneak in five minutes before going to a party, for instance. It's pretty much therefore the difference between can't and won't. Make the time. Don't choose not to, but if you need a break, don't beat yourself up over it.
Perfectionism will weaken you and is your enemy, so stay clear of it. Do you promise you will write the same time every day, for the same number of minutes? What happens if you don’t? Inevitably, you will plunge into the depths of despair since you can’t even keep the commitment to your writing goals. Don’t believe this thought. This will merely prolong the state of writer’s dismay. You gotta do what you can do and let it go at that. The only promise you should make is that writing will be a priority; it is nothing more, nothing less. If you make it any less than a priority, you won’t ever make the time. If you make it more than a priority, you will find yourself daunted at the thought of actually doing it and obsessing over how little you accomplish and this will serve as an obstacle to continue forward with your efforts.
Be alert, or at least, you may feel better if you are at least somewhat awake. If you’re so fatigued that every swipe of the keys (or pencil/pen) is a drag and it’s killing you, then maybe you’re better off napping and resuming when you’re less lethargic. That’s not to say some of the most spot-on thoughts aren’t emanating from your subconscious onto the page when you can hardly keep your eyes open, so it’s not necessary that one be alert, I’m merely advising myself of this as I feel my head bobbing slowly back and forth and am hoping and praying I have the energy to press on with my novel writing tomorrow and that my current low level of energy and alertness doesn't have a delayed negative impact.
Don’t stop. It’s nearly impossible to stop writing nowadays when it’s a required part of our existence. Email is the primary method of communication for most workers. Journaling is easy as all you need is a pen or pencil, a notepad, and a few moments, however brief, to jot down your thoughts and feelings. Therefore, it could be perceived that to say not to stop writing is superfluous. However, when I say don’t stop, what I really mean, is to work towards your writing goals, to the best of your ability, each and every day. This is how one improves skill-wise in those particular writing endeavors. If you dedicate your time to writing emails and passing the time writing professional or other correspondence, sure this benefits you, but not to the same extent that writing a piece that you want to write for the betterment of society and yourself, on a more grand scale, will.
As they say, and I’m not sure who they is, or who this phrase belongs to, and I realize this contains my own personal adornments, but I leave you with:
Writing is not for the faint of heart, narrow of mind, or weak of soul.
Good luck in your writing pursuits. Keep on keeping on. We’re in this together.