Dealing with the Writing Blues

Several of my writing friends have been experiencing what I like to call “writing lulls” over the last few weeks.  When these happen to me, they generally occur on the back of a depressing experience where your writing is involved.  An agent or editor wasn’t as enthused about your work as you are.  An author you admire disagreed with your interpretation of a character’s emotional responses.  Your writing group tore your manuscript to shreds.  Even if well intentioned, these things all hurt on a sublimely personal level.

There are deep, abiding emotions involved in this craft that we call writing.

I’m not going to list them all, but there are so many different emotions authors face every day, every time they turn on their computer to write, or open a file from an alpha or beta reader.  We all want what we write to be appreciated and enjoyed.  We all want for the stuff we’ve worked so hard on to actually mean something.  We all have the fear that we’ll get rejected and we’ll fail.  We need to recognize these emotions within ourselves and learn how to deal with them because, simply put, they’re not going away.

Michaelbrent Collings, bestselling horror author and all around purveyor and starlight champion of indie authors everywhere, said it this way:

“Every time I write a book – and I mean EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. – there’s a point where I realize I’m not going to be able to figure the story out, where I know that this is the one where I write total crap and everyone realizes how badly I really suck. Where I understand that THIS is the book that will make me a failure.

I push on. And so far I’ve managed to beat that feeling back long enough to make a liar out of it. But it is among the worst feelings of all, because it is the feeling that I’m not only doomed to fail, and I know it, but I also know that I will fail in a worthless endeavor.

And then, when I’m done, I go and do it again. On purpose.

Sigh. Apparently Momma raised at least one dumb kid.”

He’s right – and he has written literally dozens of bestsellers.  It’s an emotional, difficult process for all of us.  Every time.  And it doesn’t get any easier the more books you write.  I only have 3 books out and I’m probably even more nervous now as I writing the next book in the series than I was when I wrote the first book.  Why?  Because I’ve set my own bar and I have to be better than that bar the next time around.  I have to raise the bar each time.  And I am my own worst critic

J. Scott Savage recently shared the following. He is the author of several middle grade fantasy novels and recently launched his Mysteries of Cove series.

“Just a reminder that there will always be better writers than you. I will never have James Dashner’s crazy imagination, Brandon Sanderson’s world building, or Annette Luthy Lyon’s prose. But I will always be able to write the best J Scott Savage books. And that’s completely okay. People read your stories precisely because they are YOUR stories. Spend less time worrying about whether or not you are as good as someone else, and instead focus on being the best you.”

So keep writing.  Yes, you’ll be terrified, nervous, scared, nauseated, frightened, and insecure.  You’ll have days, moments, weeks, or even months where you’re convinced that nothing you do will work out.  You’ll have projects that you think will get the best of you.  There will be days where your crippling social anxiety will live up to its name.

But you’ll get through it.  You will overcome it.  You will keep writing and getting better and improving.  You will do it.  Because you are an author.  That’s what you do.

Categories: Musings | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Post navigation

4 thoughts on “Dealing with the Writing Blues

  1. Awesome post, Kevin. This really summed it up and also made me feel better. I’m totally sharing this.

    • Kevin L. Nielsen

      Thank you, Jessica. I’m glad it was able to make you feel better. Sometimes I think I need to re-read this at least a dozen times a day, but then I remind myself that every other writer does the same thing 🙂

  2. Norma Iris Montalvo

    Dear Kevin L. Nielsen,

    Wonderful post and very helpful! I want to write but feel inadequate. I don’t have certain skills that other writers have so I, feel inadequate, and limited in my ability to bring forth my writing. I lack knowledge in social media and have none.

    So, when family and other people say things like, “You? A writer?” it hurts, because all I have is a poem and had to write an accompanying letter to editor proving poem was mine. It hurt so badly that I stopped writing and editing. I even questioned God.

    Yet, I feel I am a writer – just not published. I have unedited stories and poems and still feel sick to my stomach that I may be making a fool of myself! Or wasting my time.

    Your words here hit warmly on my soul that I can honestly say: I cannot give up because of insensitive words but rise above them!

    The examples you’ve given me are just what I needed to pursue my dream and, as you say:

    Yes, you’ll be terrified, nervous, scared, nauseated, frightened, and insecure. You’ll have days, moments, weeks, or even months where you’re convinced that nothing you do will work out. You’ll have projects that you think will get the best of you. There will be days where your crippling social anxiety will live up to its name.

    But you’ll get through it. You will overcome it. You will keep writing and getting better and improving. You will do it. Because you are an author. That’s what you do.

    Thank you Kevin, I remain,
    Sincerely,
    Norma Iris Montalvo

    • Kevin L. Nielsen

      Keep on writing. It’s what you do.

Let me know what you think - post your opinion

Proudly powered by WordPress Theme: Adventure Journal by Contexture International.

%d bloggers like this: