Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Walking Through Storms...

... is probably safer than standing under a tree with your feet in a puddle during storms.

In theory.

What kind of storms do writers have to walk through?

False alarms and complications, like:

1. Exhaustion. Yes, K-12 and college students are extremely busy with school hours, homework load, sports, clubs, after school job, and social life. But adulthood has the same amount of constant running around and workload, plus your body doesn't have the same kind of 'up and go' thing going on. You can't stay up writing until 3AM and wake up at 5AM. You'll die.

2. Boredom . The novel you are writing just isn't holding your attention. It could be because you have been writing on it too much and it's actually starting to make you queasy!

3. Dread. You know it isn't going to be publishable in it's present state and you are overwhelmed by how much work needs to be done to make it work. A cazillionth revision. DIES.

4. Pain. You really don't want to finish the novel, because then you know it will have to go 'public' and you just don't want all that criticism. Seriously - sometimes it can feel just like numchucks smacking the soul.

5. Loss. You don't have it anymore. It could be you wrote a LOT of stuff up to five or six years ago and received some fierce criticism that really hurt your confidence. Or maybe you've forgotten how or are too exhausted every night to daydream.

6. Detachment. You talk to other writers but don't FEEL like they do. It isn't a poetic emotional thing for you. You sometimes look at it the same way your mom looks at her knitting. It's something she does. There might be a purpose in the end, but she knits because it's what she does in the evening and she likes to keep her hands busy. You start to feel out of the loop. Like you SHOULD feel all poetic about writing in order to write well.

7. Confusion. This happens when you received so much advice from people who told you to change your writing style or whatever. You want to take their advice to become better. Maybe so you can evolve into that type of writer who waxes poetic about why she writes. But each time you try X writing style, you find it doesn't fit. For example, I don't feel comfortable starting with ACTION.


These are the different facets of writer-burnout that I have experienced personally (see? total soul baring here), maybe not right now at this exact second, but in the past.

I assume everyone else has dark days like that too... I guess I wanted to air this subject so they know it's completely normal and shouldn't cause them to shut their laptops down forever.

It's very easy to get caught up in the moment and feel DOWN DOWN DOWN on yourself and the whole writing thing. If you dwell.

So don't dwell.


And on a more uplifting positive note -

I revised a chapter yesterday (working in the priest/administrator side plot I semi-mentioned yesterday). I also chopped 2000 words off this chapter. :O

Yes, I was in a state of shock too. But I did it.

I saved a backcopy of the chapter before the massive cut, but I don't think I'll need it.

By cutting those 2000 words and adding that side story, I think I steered the novel back onto a clean green path. If it accomplished anything, I'm sitting here looking forward to writing tonight.

Even if I'm too tired to daydream at night. :[


  1. That is such a great list, Catherine! I could relate to each of them. :-)

  2. What a terrific list about the different types of drawbacks we writers have to face. I am familiar with each one! Congrats on revising and condensing your chapter, and steering the ship back on course. That takes a lot of bravery and guts, so BRAVO my dear!


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