Sunday, August 24, 2008

Writerly Blues

I've noticed different phases when I write. There are times when words flow from me, magical and strong. Fresh ideas, brilliant phrases that light up my computer screen. Then there are times when I'm bored. I don't want to write because I feel empty of words.

And then there are the blues. These seem to come at the end of my manuscripts and during the revision process.

I'm having them right now with the first manuscript I ever finished. My style of writing is different with that one. The tone is different. I'm almost done with my gazillionth revision. Yay. But I almost wasn't going to market this story, except for one person's words.

One person.

This manuscript was critiqued by harlequin. Yep, I paid for it and am forever grateful that I did. But every time I wonder whether this story is worth publishing, I remember the end of the critique letter. The part where the critiquer said that my story was beautiful and intriguing.


Was it Mark Twain who said he could live on one good compliment for a month?


I've been living on it for a year.


These blues come and go. I know that from past experience. But when they're here, it's great to have an anchor to hold on to until they pass.


Publishing is an arduous road. Rejection hides in crevices, it waits over every hill. What boosts your morale when the writing blues strike? What gives you inspiration to keep writing?

6 comments:

tina gray said...

What a great compliment to hold onto! And that editor didn't have to say that, so you know it was sincere.

What do I do to heal my tattered writer's spirit? Well, for one thing, I roller blade. :-) I've found that when I get out and do something physically stimulating, it helps wash out the negative thoughts and has a dual effect: 1). fresh ideas start pouring in, and 2). I feel empowered and positive. Then I'm ready to get back in the driver's seat and take the wheel from my infernal internal editor.

Also, I do what you do. I pull out those filed away comments and praises I received in the past, be they from respected writer friends or agents/editors. It's great that you tuck those away, because they really can be like manna in the desert at times.

Way to go on your word count! I see you made some progress on your WIP despite your blues. I can't wait until next week when I can finally delve back into my WIP. This weekend is too crazy with school starting tomorrow.

Jessica said...

Physical exercise is always a plus. My mom says it boosts endorphins. So does chocolate, I've heard.
:-)
Well thank goodness the blues are only for that manuscript. I'm still in love with my wip but I'm sure eventually we'll get into a tiff.

Kristen Painter said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

What keeps me writing? Rereading my own words and realizing I'm good. If that sounds arrogant, I don't mean it to, it's just having that faith in myself.

Jessica said...

Hi Kristen,
I know what you mean. There are some passages where I want to slap myself upside the head but there are others where I know, just know, that the writing is strong and moving.
We need that feeling, I think, on this difficult road to publishing.

Sarah said...

I feel like you read my mind this week! I have definitely been dealing with the blues lately.

When I get down about my writing I try to remind myself why I started doing this in the first place.

Yes, I love to write, but it goes deeper than that. Not to sound sentimental, but I love the written word. It's the way the Lord chose to speak to us, and for good reason. A good story has the power to change someone's life. It doesn't have to be deep or thought-provoking, it just needs to be told well.

You're obviously a talented writer if an editor gave you such a great compliment. I'll be praying for you on your journey to publishdom (I just made that word up).

Have a good week!

Jessica said...

Haha, well, talented is subjective. But I don't know that it was an editor. I paid for a critique through their critique service, not through a conference. Sorry, I didn't mean to mislead anyone.
I totally agree with you on the written word thing.Someone once told me that I should read more non-fiction because fiction was like candy, entertaining but non-nutritious.
I knew he was crazy, lol.
Jesus taught people using stories. I learn from stories.
Stories are one of the best ways to reach a person, in my opinion. Thanks for stopping by, Sarah.