Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Bottom of the Writer Cycle

Sometimes, writing feels a little bit like this:

Writing feels AWESOME sometimes. When you start a new wip or have a burst of inspiration for that chapter you're stuck on or that plot twist you wanted to include, everything in the entire universe is great. Every word (or at least most words) you write is pure gold and you're typing away for hours and hours. It all falls into place, and it all feels perfect.

And then there is the opposite end of that spectrum, when everything feels a little more like this:

Oh yeah, it gets real dramatic. This is when you think that everything you write is godawful and you are never in a million years going to make it past the slush pile ever and that you're just going to be writing horrible words you think are clever but really aren't until the end of time. You feel like even your friends don't want to talk to you, and why would they, you're a horrible person and nobody UNDERSTANDS. You get incredibly stressed out over little things that just add up until you're sobbing into your pillow at three in the morning and you don't even really know why.

Yep. That's been me the past few weeks. It wasn't fun. I tend to be more prone to such bouts of writerly depression in the summer, when I don't have things like homework and roommates and theatre practice to distract me from my sadly empty query inbox or that scene I just can't figure out.

But you know what? Last night, I wrote 2500 words and I KNOW they were (at least mostly) awesome. I sent out some more query letters and have high hopes that one or two might lead somewhere. I'm heading a bit more towards the happy dancing part than the "glass case of emotion" part of writerly life.

Here are three things that help me a little:

1. Just let it all out. I hate crying. I HATE crying. I don't like letting people see that I'm upset, but sometimes you just can't help it. So find an excuse! Get all stupidly choked up at the end of How to Train Your Dragon or something. I'm going to go see War Horse at Lincoln Center next week and I'm going to cry my eyes out and it's going to be awesome. Because then you're not crying because you're upset, you're crying because oh gosh it's just so beautiful. See what I did there?

2. WRITER FRIENDS. They actually do understand what this feels like, because I'm pretty sure every writer does it. This is when it's their job to pat you on the head and tell you you're wonderful no really they mean it, and it does make you feel better. :)

3. Maybe take a little break, but just keep on trucking. I've been researching a lot over the past few days, rather than actually writing down words, and I think that's helped. But like I said, yesterday I wrote a ton and sent out more queries. Writerly misery happens - but it also ends.

So next time you're feeling a little blue about your writing (or maybe a lot blue), maybe just give yourself a day or two and then pick yourself up again. You've got this, guys.


  1. This! This is so true! I'm glad you're writing again. :) That last picture "Like a Time Lord" is epic.

    Sidenote: I'm reading WAR HORSE right now. The book is quite good for letting out tears too.

    1. I haven't seen the film version but I saw the play while I was in London and it is BEAUTIFUL. I can't wait to see it again. :)

      And thanks! :)

  2. This is so, so, so true.

    I'm sending out queries just now and it's... painful, to say the very least. Caitlin, if you ever need to vent about the query trenches my inbox is always open.

    1. *gives cookie of query solidarity* Good luck to you! :)

  3. YAY for writer friendzzz! *hugs* Feel free to come pester me whenever you're feeling blue. :-) Major congrats on the wordcount, and glad to hear things are looking up!