Monday, April 26, 2010

Urgh.

On the good news front, I'm at 50 followers!  Thanks to all of my bloggerland friends who signed up to follow my blog.  Halfway to a hundred and hopefully a really great contest for all of you!

And that's kind of it for good news as far as my writing goes. I may have perhaps jinxed myself with all my 'hey, I'm almost at 65k words' bragging.  I opened my WIP on Friday night and read over what I wrote the night before.  My brain did that thing where it fragments all the writing and instead of it coming together in a coherent way, a sentence here, a phrase there, a word here popped out at me.  All of it sounded trite and uninspired and frankly like nothing that was good for anything except perhaps fire starting. 

I've been in this mental writing place before so I restrained myself from deleting it all and told myself things would be better the next day.  They weren't.  And they hadn't improved any as of last night.  So here's what I did.  I decided if I couldn't come up with anything new to add I'd go back to the first and edit, hoping that immersing myself in the story would create a cozy corner in my brain for the muse to come and dwell.  No muse visit, but the editing seems to be going okay.  However, several times last night I found my finger hovering perilously near the delete key with the intent to wipe out every single one of those 65kish words. 

I know I'm not the only one who's experienced a writerly funk.  Any ideas as to how to pull myself together and get myself out of it? 

27 comments:

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Oh Angie, how I feel your pain. I went through that a couple of times. You. Need. Time. And. Space. from it. Let it sit for a few weeks and then pick it up again. Trust me, it works. :) Try not to feel down on yourself. We all go through this crap ;)

Mia said...

No! Don't delete all of it!!

I suppose it depends how you write but most people say a first draft doesn't have to be good it just has to be written. Remember that ;~) Also, I happen to be a clean up as you go sort of person so I have MANY moments like this when I go back through the thing editing it. It works for me whilst the muse is on strike.

I agree, leave it for a while and then go back to it. If things are still bothering you then, you might change them slightly.

It's difficult when you get to a certain point, because the end seems so far away. I was in that place last week but I took a break and now it's working again :~)

Hope this helps and you feel less bleh about it soon :~D

Jen said...

AHHH DON'T DO IT!!! Did that help?

Keep those words, they meant something to you, they meant enough for you to take the time to write them all. I know the feeling of being trapped inside your own mind unable to write the words. I find that going for a nice walk, watching trash tv (bravo channel!), eating a cookie, or two, or three, followed by a cup of tea will soothe the soul.

I hope you are able to get out of the writer's funk and make the muse come back. Mine throws a fit sometimes, and man does that make me angry!

Joanne said...

When I get in a situation like that, I try coming at the story from some completely different, adding some never-think-it-will-work scene, or page, or paragraph. I just go somewhere with it that I'd NEVER consider. It's amazing how doing that somehow opens up avenues of thoughts, and how often that scene does stay in place, giving a nice twist to the plot. Best wishes!

Piedmont Writer said...

DON'T DELETE!!!! You might need those words, thoughts, crazy phrases later.

My own personal fix is to put it away, forget about it, and then clean. yeah, the closets, the yard, the garage, all those things I haven't been doing.

I also like to do what Joanne does. Come at it from a completely different angle. Write the end chapter when you go back. Write a curveball and see what happens.

Just don't worry, and don't delete. It'll all come out the way you want it sooner or later.

Matthew Rush said...

Take what I say with a grain of salt because I am unpublished and a complete novice but my suggestion would be: do not delete anything until you have completed at the least first draft, all the way through.

It may make more sense later but even if it doesn't you'll know for sure because (most) everything will be written.

Just my opinion. Oh and a drink and a movie, or taking the dog for a walk always helps me, but then you said it's already been a few days so ...

Faith E. Hough said...

Make that 51 followers. ;)
When I get stuck, the best thing is just to cut what isn't working out of my document, SAVE it somewhere, and start again. Other than that...read read read. There is nothing that helps me get out a tight place in writing than reading great books!

Creepy Query Girl said...

Hi there! Thanks for visiting my blog. I have had experiences like that before- don't delete! Just put it away for a while or work on something new. Editing is good but only after you've had some time away from it. Or if you have a critics group- beta reader- they might be able to give you some insight to the things that could/should go. Good Luck!

Melissa J. Cunningham said...

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and becoming a follower! I'll return the favor! Love your post. This is such a great way to make friends. Love it!

Talli Roland said...

Congrats on the almost-50 followers!

Sometimes the best thing is to step away from the computer and take a day off. Go for a walk for do something totally unrelated to writing.

Good luck! Sending you postive writing vibes.

Ee Leen Lee said...

if you're stuck on a story perhaps it was started in the wrong place?

to get out of funks i do something not related to writing, like dancing or baking. A bit of distance is always good

Cynthia Reese said...

Don't you DARE delete!

I'd try this first. Open a new Word doc, and start over from the beginning, WITHOUT LOOKING AT YOUR OLD MS.

Works. Promise. :-)

Crystal Cook said...

I agree with everyone, but especially Joanne, Anne, and Faith. Take it somewhere entirely new, and read, read, read.

I just keep on writing, it usually is a big pile of crap but away I go!

DON'T DELETE IT!!!!!!!!!!!

:)

Old Kitty said...

Hi

Awwww I've just come over to say hello and came crashing into a midst of a writing emergency!!

:-)

STEP away from the delete key!!! LOL!!

Sometimes it's just maybe your whole being saying - take a rest, have break, go for a walk, clear your mind and just take it easy for a moment or two!!

65k is an amazing, amazing achievement and all too often writers don't pat themselves enough on the back to say "well done" and "good for you"!

So well done and good for you!

Take care
x

Palindrome said...

Whatever you do, do not delete it!

Nothing's permanent until it's published.

Just keep writing from where you left off and finish, take a break and then go back and read all of it. It may not be that bad.

I know my feelings towards my writings always depends on my self-confidence for the day or time...it'll pass.

Shannon said...

Don't delete!

Slowly step away from the computer. Go engage in something else until it calls you back. Allow yourself to miss the manuscript. By the time you do, you'll know where to go next.

KarenG said...

You have to give yourself permission to suck before you can be good. Go forward and finish your story before you go back and reread.

Angie Paxton said...

Thank you all for talking me down from the delete button edge. Based on the advice here, I went for a long walk today and listened to some of my favorite music while walking. I actually figured out where the story needs to go and gave myself, as KarenG put it, permission to suck for the first draft. Wiht the ideas I cranked out today I actually realized I'm only about 4 chapters away from finishing the first draft which gave me some serious incentive to keep going. Quitting now would be like giving up on the .2 part of a 26.2 marathon. Thanks everyone! Your comments were so helpful and the crisis has been averted - for now ;^)

JustineDell said...

Yikes! Whatever you do, don't delete! Finish that first draft first, then go back and edit like crazy...but don't delete.

It may do you some good to take some time away from the wip for a while. Get a massage. Go out with some friends. Take a staycation somewhere in your town. Don' think about it. Then, out of nowhere...it will happen. ;-)

~JD

Jaydee Morgan said...

I've felt that way too - please, don't delete what you have. When this happens, I fall into the editing stage (I need to feel like it's fixed somewhat before I can carry on). Even if it's not what you want, try to carry on. It's hard but you really do have to try to ignore the "its crap" moments on the first draft.

Alexandra Crocodile said...

Oh, I hear you! Sometimes I read something I've written, and it's terrible - and I just feel like deleting the whole damn thing. Ugh indeed:)

I'd reccomend doind something else, and let that project stew for a little while. Not that long, but as long as you need - work on a short story or something! Just to get your mind off things...

Jojomama said...

It can be so frustrating! It really helps me to talk with other writers. I hit the proverbial wall so many times while writing my novel! Anyway I'm done and submitting to a great agent by request...I know it is only the beginning even though it feels like the summation of all my work! Anyway keep plugging away...I found that compiling a playlist of music that fit the mood of my book really helped me!
Best of luck!
http://jostorm.blogspot.com/

laughingwolf said...

what works for me: i work on some other piece[s], and the old bean comes up with new ideas

probably because i'm no longer immediately concerned about the one giving me problems...

Rebecca @ Diary of a Virgin Novelist said...

UGH - I hate that place. Despise it! The only semi-cure I know is a special coffee drink, headphones and timed writing. LIke exercise, just do it.

Ann Best said...
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Ann Best said...
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Ann Best said...

Sorry, Angie, for my above deletions. This is one of those mornings. And I haven't even tried to write yet. Pretty much goes along with YOUR writing frustrations. I guess we've all been there as writers and bloggers. I posted a comment, it got posted twice, then I tried to delete it and they're both gone. So I'm trying again.

I think patience is queen bee here. Sometimes something we've written gives us fits, or just doesn't work the way we've written it. Stand back, but NEVER DELETE. Miracles can happen, maybe years later. This happened to me with my current almost published novel--20 years later when I revisited the first somewhat clumsy version I saw its potential, though it still needed a lot of revision. In the interim I had kept writing--more clumsy stuff, some good stuff. And sometimes tossed stuff that now I wish I hadn't. DON'T DELETE.