Last week I offered three ways I battle those troublesome writing blahs. First, I tell myself, “It’s going to be okay.” Making a big deal out of something going wrong only leads to frustration and stress. Second, “Remember the Love.” Recalling why I write—because I love it!—snaps me out of a slump. And finally, “This One’s for You.” This pushes me to focus on my first and most important reader, the Lord (of course).
I promised to finish with three more tips. Here you go:
“You must complete everything you start,” my inner parent chides. And so I finish—reading a book, cleaning a toilet, eating a plate of Thai food, crafting and re-crafting an impossible scene … But when I’m in that depressed, “writing’s lame” mode, it helps to allow myself to shift focus for a while. I don’t have to finish that troubling scene right now. It can wait. I give myself permission to put aside the project that’s tormenting me and write something fun. It’s okay. I won’t get in trouble if I don’t finish this scene right now. Really. I promise.
Somebody Slap Me
Writing is a solitary thing. Even when crouched over my computer in a busy Starbucks, I’m still existing in my own world, alone with my stories. I like that about writing. But it can be detrimental too. It’s easy to lose perspective. Negative self talk scowls its nasty voice, saying I’m not good enough, my words deserve a big F—fail! And sometimes this sends me spiraling, wanting to give up. When this happens, I often attempt a self-help project. “I can get myself out of this one.” Problem is, this rarely works. What I really need when I’m wallowing in self pity is someone to tug me out, give me a kick in the rump, and tell me to set my fingers to typing. That’s why I have my critique group. What a relief to receive their words of empathy followed by a kick in the pants. “Thanks, I needed that.”
The Way He Sees It
Remember those quotes on Starbucks cups? I miss them. A friend of mine was in a slump and read this: “The humble improve,” by Wynton Marsalis. Snapped her right out of it. Early on in my writing career an editor encouraged me with this quote, “Never be afraid to write a [crummy] first draft.” How often has that propelled me onward? How about this one,
Keep at it! The one talent that's indispensable to a writer is persistence. You must write the book, else there is no book. It will not finish itself. Do not try to commit art. Just tell the story. Tom Clancy
See, it works. Can you think of more inspiring writing quotes? Share!
I hope you never succumb to the writing blahs, but if you do, give yourself a moment to whine, then come back more determined than ever to build the best story you can—and have fun!