Writing shouldn't feel like drudgery. It should be fun and creative. You should feel like you're free when you write. Admit it, isn't that what attracted you to writing in the first place? That, or something along those lines? No one in their right mind sits down and says, I know what I'll do, I'll write a novel. That's an easy way to make big bucks. Or maybe I should put it this way, no one who has ever attempted to write a novel has ever come away saying it was easy (I'm sure there are exceptions to that, but trust me when I say I don't want to hear about them ;).
So we start out writing to be creative or free or have fun or tell a good story, or some other positive reason. And somewhere along the way the act of writing turns into drudgery. Something to be avoided. Something to dread. Something, dare I say it, not unlike work.
It happens. Maybe not to every writer, but I bet it's happened to a lot of us. Come on, show of hands. How many writers out there have experienced this at least once? Yeah, me too. Well, at some point, unless this writing is truly a hobby, most writers have to come to terms with the fact that writing is a job, and even jobs we love can sometimes feel like work. What do we do when that happens?
I can only speak for myself and say, it depends. About the only thing that stays constant for me when this happens is the need to take a step back. What changes is how big a step back I take and what I do once I'm there. Generally, though, I find taking a small step back and finding something in what I've written that I can be proud of does the trick. It may be a small thing, a sentence I'm proud of or a line of dialogue, so long as it's enough to keep me going.
When I need to take that bigger step back, it's usually because I need to remind myself why I write and ask myself the hard question: is it worth it? So far, the couple of times I've felt the need to ask that question the answer has been an unqualified Yes! I'll cross the No bridge if I ever come to it.
What do you do when you feel like writing has become work -- or maybe just something unpleasant you find yourself avoiding? How do you get back on track?