Natalie and I stood on a street corner in Manhattan and asked a woman to take our picture on a disposable camera. We're happy, 20, sweat-dewy, smoking cigarettes because we are Cool.
"You girls! I want you girls to have stories!" the woman spewed after clicking the flash. In my memory, she is wearing a bathrobe.
We laughed with admiration at the woman, kooky as she might be, because we wanted stories too. We wanted material, narratives of afternoons, plots to relay to our friends, and then to write down later or call each other up and laugh.
Non-writing keeps my writing afloat. As important as it is to sit down and commit myself to filling the page—10 minutes a day, 500 words a day, whatever the goal is—it's just as vital to walk away, every now and again, from writing. To go get my stories.
I've found that the best thing I can do to help my writing is, paradoxically, non-writing. I do something meditative: run, go to yoga, listen to music on my fire escape. Or I get an ice cream, see a friend, call my mom. Distance. Non-writing is good for the head and for the writing.
I don't mean to suggest you ought to give in to the temptation of procrastination when it rears its head, and I do think the only way to get anything written is to write it. But I hope that once you've written what you need to and find that it isn't half dreadful, you'll go out and find more stories.