Wednesday, May 2, 2012

IWSG: Ups and Downs




I think most of us have ups and downs as aspiring writers, times where we are self-confident and in the zone as well as other times when we feel like maybe we don't have talent at all. 

I feel the most confident when I'm writing fiction or editing five days a week.  And I feel the worst when I take an extended break from writing.  I'm definitely in a low right now.

Over the last month, I've written a lot here for the A to Z Challenge.  The response has been amazing, and I'm really glad I did it, but somewhere along the way over the course of the month I lost my fiction-writing mojo.  My Muse left town for sure.

I have had a hard time sitting to write over the last six weeks because of a back injury that is taking its time getting better.  My kids have been sick.  I am sick.  And on and on.  The bottom line is I let a lot of time pass without touching my WIP, too much time, so much time that I feel completely disconnected from it and from myself as a writer.

So I did what I know you all would tell me to do.  I read some of my WIP.  I did some editing.  I entered the revisions I had from my critique partner for the first twenty chapters.  But the magic that usually happens when I do these things didn't.  I didn't get my groove back; I didn't reconnect.  I'm a little worried I never will.

It's probably just because I'm sick and completely burnt out from A-Z.  I know writing is the thing I need to do to get excited about writing.  But I want a break, a break from always expecting something of myself, of pushing myself to achieve something every day. 

I wonder if I'm done with writing.

But when I write those words, tears well up in my eyes.  I think the tears mean I love writing and don't want to toss my WIPs in the recycle bin.  But I'm not sure if the emotion is just from realizing I'm on on the brink of failure. 

43 comments:

  1. You can't fail if you don't quit!
    I wasn't sure I could write another book once I finished edits on CassaFire. I ended up taking a much longer break than anticipated and struggled to come up with an outline for the next book. Bouncing ideas off my critique partners helped and now I'm ready to dive back in again.
    Don't worry - when you feel bad, everything feels bad. It's like the negativity feeds on itself.

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    1. I'm feeling less sick this morning. It's beautiful outside after a week of rain. I'm feeling much more optimistic now. Maybe I'll start outlining a new story today.

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  2. Hang in there. I've lost a bunch of motivation as well. I'm not coming in and settling down from work until nearly 8 o'clock every night and it's really wearing me down. I just don't feel like doing much of anything.

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    1. Uggh. I wouldn't write if I had to work that late. When I was working full time all I could manage was a late night blog post.

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  3. it is probably just a bump--you sound like you love it too much too ever really quit!

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    1. I think it is a bump. And if I didn't write, all I'd have to do is clean, and that is just not right.

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  4. All you'd have to do is clean? ARRRRGH! Perish the thought. I used to be an immaculate housekeeper, but now that I'm (ahem) "mature", I decided nobody's gonna give me a eulogy based on my shiny kitchen floor, and my tombstone better not say "Here lies the owner of the cleanest toilet in the US of A." UGH! Don't worry. Your mojo isn't gone; maybe it's just taking a wee rest. If you can't get enthusiastic about your WIP right now, that's okay, too. Write something entirely different, just for the fun of it. Or read that book you've been wanting to get to for the past few months. The spark will return.

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    1. It's true, no one notices when it's clean. I think you're right, I need to set it aside until I'm excited about it again.

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  5. The A-Z does take it out of you, it saps your writing creativity but it's also well worth the effort - I stopped at "S" but I wasn't planning to! I just know you're going to get going very soon - we all are!

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    1. Honestly, the only reason I was writing anything was because of A-Z. It's probably good I did that or I would be feeling worse right about now.

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  6. Tonja, such a good post...my eyes welled up with tears. I know that your writing is not done, I can tell just by this post. One thing I have learned is to listen to our bodies. You are recovering from an injury, sick and tired from A2Z. I am feeling worn out from A2Z too. I just said to my guy, it is amazing what a little rest and what a difference even one day can make. Monday was awful and then Tuesday was a little better for me. Anyway, I am making this too long but want to say...hang in there! You're body is just tired and playing tricks on you. Before you know it, you will be back at your WIP kicking some butt! :-) Hugs.

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    1. Thanks. I do feel better today physically. I think I'm going to take the pressure off myself for the next week and see what happens.

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  7. I agree with everyone that it will all come back to you before you know it. Exhaustion combined with physical pain, not to mention taking care of your family, is enough to bring anyone down. You're so used to taking care of everyone else, that you just need more time to heal. Feel better and your mojo will return soon. You're a wonderful person, and a talented writer. We believe in you! Julie

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    1. Thanks, Julie. You're so sweet and always so positive.

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  8. You are not quitting! You just hit a little bump in the road. Give yourself a timeframe to relax, then make a plan or have a strategy. Read something inspirational. This month, instead of posting about my insecurities (of which there are many!) I posted about Tony Robbins and ended with a list of inspirational sites. I hope you come by to check it out:)

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    1. I did read it, and it was very inspiring. :)

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  9. Take a little break, then come back to it. You won't give up. You just need a recharge!

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  10. We all go through this. Put that WIP in a drawer and start fresh with a new story. You need to get excited about characters again. Think about the freshness of exploring new worlds. You are born to give stories to the world. I can tell just by reading these words. I hung up my writing for years. Sometimes it takes that. But you'll come back to it. Hopefully for us...it will be sooner than later.

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    1. That's a very kind thing to say. Thank you.

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  11. Aww, hugs. You've had a rough few weeks. Pain does crazy things to our brains. And you're sick. That's another crazy twist in our thinking. Take the break. Maybe write something else. You'll find your way back. I'm certain, even if you're not.

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    1. I think I'm going to do some reading and watch some old movies. Maybe get out of the house.

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  12. I have been exactly where you are. You are not done. Either your brain is asking for a break or its trying to tell you it has a problem with your story. That's all. It's not your fault.
    Give your brain the rest it needs. Read. Watch some movies. Feel better. Recharge. It will come back. It does come back.

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    1. Thanks for the positive energy. It will come back.

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  13. Hey Tonja, failure is NOT an option. I think A to Z fried more than a few brain cells (most of them mine). I've been away from my WIP for quite some time and lately the MUSE spoke to me(something I've learned you just cannot force).

    Take some deep breaths. Get yourself better. Get the kids better. It will be back. You will be back. Just hang in there. Oh, and I find chocolate helps. Yeah, lots and lots of chocolate.

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    1. That's great your muse spoke. :) I don't know where mine went, but she's not here. I know all of you know exactly what I mean. I could write, but it will be wasted time. The creativity is gone today. I do not have time to write this weekend. Maybe that's when my muse will show her face, huh?

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  14. I don't think you can stop writing. With all these people to read what you write... Tomorrow is another day. So I hope, you will find better tomorrow and keep writing. If I can keep writing, You can do that for sure.
    May be a walk outside will help you. May be you just have to take a small break. May be you need a friend.

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    1. Thanks. I will keep writing. I think I will set aside my WIP and start something new until I'm feeling inspired. Not today. Maybe tomorrow.

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  15. Tonja:

    I know how you feel. My life changed when Glowstick came to live me and its only been like 8 days now. I'm having a hard time just finding time to do it all. The blogs. The blog reading. Editing for others. My WIPs. It's tough but doodle write. Fart write. Read.

    It'll be okay.

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    1. I think Glowstick is worth it. My kids are too. You're right, we'll figure it out.

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  16. You're right, I think we all have the ups and downs... I've been a bit down since I've arrived back from vacation, unable to get into writing.. .but the other night I started reading my draft, and getting back into the feel of the story... it's done the trick as I'm back into it... I think sometimes it just takes time.

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    1. I think you're right. Patience has never been my thing.

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  17. I totally know what you mean! But don't give up! Maybe it's time to start on a new shiny project? Or go on pinterest and pin a bunch of inspirational images for your current WIP? Or maybe even do some sketches/paintings/photos of your own to get the creative juices flowing again. Those are some things that I do anyway, for what it's worth =)

    New follower BTW =)

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    1. I do like the idea of starting a new project. I don't do art, but maybe some gardening today is what I need or an outing with my little guy.

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  18. I could have written almost the same post in the past month. I've done a lot in April that didn't include writing on my manuscripts. I did too much. I've been trying to edit a New Adult novel and finish a YA one. I feel overwhelmed and unproductive on those two. So, I can understand some of your feelings. One thing that has helped me has to plan where I am going to submit. I did this last week. Knowing where I am going with this has helped. That motivation helped me rewrite the beginning of the New Adult MS. Sending good vibes your way over the internet...

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    1. Thanks, Brinda. A plan for completion is a really good idea.

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  19. Tonja, when we're sick or in pain it's almost impossible to write. I know from past experience. I always want to give up when the words aren't coming, but like you, I realize soon that writing is too important for me to let it go. Just focus on getting better and I'm sure the words will begin flowing again.
    Karen

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  20. Don't worry at all. You most definitely can't make these kind of decisions when you're sick and tired.

    Here's my trinity of things I do when I feel this way:

    1. Read. A lot. Nothing better to inspire your words than someone elses.
    2. Sleep. A lot. You need to take care of your body.
    3. Watch really great film and television. Somehow movies and shows rest me and rejuvinate my creativity better than almost anything else.

    Best of luck! Give yourself some time, and you'll get out of the slump for sure.

    Sarah Allen
    (my creative writing blog)

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    1. Unfortunately, I don't seem to have much time to do any of those things. Today, I make time for laundry.

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  21. I've been a spot like that. Not feeling well physically pulls your mood down low. I usually get by it by sitting down and just writing even if it seems to be crap.

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    1. That usually works for me especially if I tell myself I only have to write for 20 minutes with no huge expectations. Maybe tomorrow.

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  22. I know what you mean. After the A-Z craziness, I can't wait to get back to my own writing!
    Happy weekend!
    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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