encouragement, writing advice

>In a Funk

>**** Congratulations to Robyn Leatherman who won the copy of TEEN Agents in the Plundered Parent Protocol!  ****

We all know that writers (and other artist types) are known for their moodiness.  The truth is writing, like many art forms, is a study in extremes.  Even without global success, writers like moi experience this phenomenon.  When you finish a story that’s been rolling around inside of you for a while, it is such an awesome high.  You feel exuberant and eager to share it with the world.  Then, eventually, you come crashing down when you realize it is obviously flawed and the world does not share your enthusiasm for the work you’ve done.

In addition to this unavoidable scenario, you, as writer, will stumble inevitably into the dreaded writer’s block.  After writing for weeks without stop, you suddenly find yourself crushed up against a wall of nothingness.  No words can be found, formed, and filled into the void that has become your latest manuscript.   It’s disheartening at the very least.  At the worst, it can be what leads to drunkeness and debauchery in so many of the world’s best artists.  I now can say I understand an inkling of their pain.

After finishing my recent novel, I found my mind aflood with imagery that needed to be expressed.  I wrote daily, almost obsessively, for months.  However, as I turned my attention to the sequel, I found myself slowing to a crawl.  I couldn’t help but focus on all the flaws in my original manuscript.  I began to worry about the reactions of those I had sent it to for feedback and review.  I thought I would snap out of this funk by shifting my attention to other writerly pursuits like this blog.  Alas, now the funk has spread. I began avoiding the computer altogether.  I find myself struggling to sit down and type even one sentence of inspiration for all of you lovely readers.

But, lo!  What do I see?  I have now finished three paragraphs.  They may not be brilliant, they are certainly flawed, but they are there.  They exist.  It’s a start.  I am reminded of a thought I recently read.  Some author more brilliant than I stated that to be a writer you must write every day.  (Okay, actually, ALL the writers I know say this, so that is no surprise.)  He goes on to explain that even if you write drivel three or four days in a row, on the next day you may write something brilliant.  This spark becomes a fire and soon enough you are writing again like never before.  What a wonderful thought!

Don’t give up when you hit that wall.  Keep writing.  Maybe you have to switch gears, write in a journal for a few days, write letters to your grandmother, write instructions on how to feed your pet gerbil.  I don’t know, but keep writing.  Write every day!  This is how you overcome, by continuing on even when life tries to slow you down.  Don’t give up.  The words will come eventually, but it is your job to be there when they arrive, ready to capture them and force them into submission.  Are you ready?

Gotta Write,
Heather

0 thoughts on “>In a Funk”

  1. >So recently, I did a thing. I keep going on about it, but it's relevant here so I'm going to go on about it one more time.

    I started a novel on November first, finished it just after Thanksgiving, got coached, story edited, line edited, helped make a cover, did promo copy, and had the whole thing published in January. I'm really proud of it, too. It's my best work.

    The reason this is pertinent is, after that, I couldn't write anything. I burned myself out for a bit. I wanted to write things, but it was like pulling teeth. I did manage one pretty good piece but, with some help, I'm discovering it had one major flaw (only one, thank goodness) but a lot of rough edges I just couldn't see.

    So I stopped writing. I didn't stop making stuff up, I have a couple other outlets for that. I also blogged, but not really much. But I did really stop that writing treadmill of putting words on paper every day.

    And it felt GOOD!

    I needed a break. But now, it's been a couple months. I've had the chance to read and watch some really great, inspiring pieces of fiction. The blogging got so crazy I was actually AHEAD for the first time ever. And now, words are starting to pour out over my brim like I'm an overfull cup.

    This isn't to argue with your advice of just pushing through. That's good advice. What worked for me may be a terrible idea for some, maybe most people. Take all of this with a grain of salt.

    But I discovered that sometimes, under extreme conditions, I HAVE to stop writing. But the best news I is, the longer I don't write, the greater the NEED to write becomes. It's a self correcting problem. Which is pretty cool to know about yourself.

  2. >Well, to be fair, I haven't given it long. It is driving me crazy that I can't seem to settle down and finish that series! Still, I sense that what you are saying may be true for me as well. I can already feel the ideas building up inside of me. It is just frustrating to not be able to put them down on paper.
    Then again, you mentioned that you kept blogging and this is exactly what I'm talking about – switching focus. I think sometimes we just need a little break from one format. I have a friend who loves fiction, she reads it obsessively, but then every once in a while, she'll get sick of it. So, she switches to nonfiction. She'll read three in a row, biography, self help or something otherwise helpful in real life, before she feels the itch to pick up another story and read. Maybe that's all the same thing at play here. My brain just needs a break from fiction for a while to recharge and in the meantime I can keep my writing skills sharp by writing something "in the real world."

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