Pushing the Wall, I mean. Pushing it hard when your energy's low or you need a short rest or you simply don't know how to handle a tricky part in your new book. You deserve a rest, God knows--your kids' voices shatter glass, your boss is a sadistic fool, you've been writing faithfully for (enter the number of years), what harm can there be if you slack off this once? You know how to do it. Hit the Snooze button on your alarm, again and again, and forget any guilt. It's just one day...or maybe two...You could take off a week, babe, and really recharge!
Then again, you'll throw off your momentum and feed the soft streak you've reined in so well, the temptation to take five in a creative crunch.
Two days ago temptation struck. I'd worked a brutal graveyard shift, had another coming up--and didn't feel like facing the narrative bind I was in: back story blues in the middle of a dramatic sequence. My timing might pass muster with polishing and editing...but my approach seemed staged.
Cut to the Yeah, Baby Moment: I'm seated at my 'office' in Starbucks, exhausted but functioning. As I've started to do lately when tired or stumped in the writing, I move the pencil more slowly and deliberately, immersing myself in the process. My energy begins to rise, along with my confidence. Something that I hadn't planned comes to mind: a special mental exercise that it would make a world of sense for Boss to do at this moment. Instead of back story talkety-talk, we'd have mental action that would accomplish two things: We'd learn something new about Boss and the scene would also justify the cover that I'd had in mind for more than a year--but couldn't relate to the tale. Until now.
The scene went on to write itself. I doubled my daily word quota, rebooted my shaken confidence--and earned a Yeah, Baby cover to boot. So count me in the club of strict, come hell or high water writers.