Just last week, I found myself huddled in the dark and watching the sci-fi movie Chronicle, which came out this May. The movie itself had an awesome concept – three teenagers stumble into a hole and make a discovery that gives them telekinetic abilities and changes their lives forever. It’s a great idea, but the execution wasn’t the best (I hear the film ‘In Time’ with Justin Timberlake suffered the same fate). Still, if you like everyday people becoming ‘super people,’ it’s definitely worth renting for a few bucks. I will warn you, though, it is shot from the first person camera angle (like Cloverfield). If you can get around both those things, I think it’s a decent hour and a half movie.
One of the conversations the characters had has been bouncing around in my brain for days now. While developing their powers, one of them mentions their abilities are like a muscle; they have to work it out gradually to make it grow stronger, but not to overwork it or they risk only hurting themselves.
As I sat on my couch and plugged numbers into Web Sudoku, I realized the idea can be applied to writing as well. While some people say it’s good to write every day, one must take writing advice as they would a dieting regime: you have to find something that works for you. Writing five hundred words every day religiously may work for you. It may also drain you and make writing a chore if you’re forcing yourself.
My suggestion? Start out small. A word, a list, or a sentence is just as acceptable as a paragraph or a page or two if that’s all your muses are throwing at you (or if they aren’t throwing at all). Don’t beat yourself up too badly if you have a few days where nothing comes to you; taking a break every once in a while to let your brain and creativity rest can do just as much good.