Writing When You Hate Writing

Some days, this is exactly how I feel.

Sometimes it's the novel's fault. As I plow through the draft, crap gets built on crap, building into a gargantuan pile of whatsit that I'm just going to have to fix later. Mistakes and weak plot points devolve into puzzles I no longer want to solve. And I've already used all my stock phrases and have to think of new ways to make people look, shout, cry, and laugh.

Sometimes it's the query process' fault. Being a tad insane, I've been charting my rejections and requests. There is a strong correlation with my mood. Like in August, when I got a bunch of requests and was writing 1,000 words a day, and the beginning of this month when I got some hard rejections and hit a bit of a slump.*

Sometimes it's just life's fault. Social workers come to visit. Kids are home on a day I expected to have to myself. Family issues just send out negative waves.

(It's never my fault, apparently. That would just be silly.)

Whatever the reason, I feel like things will never get better and I'll never get out of it. That's crap, of course, but it doesn't change how I feel.

So what do I do when this happens? Usually I try to plow forward, and sometimes I can. Other times, I have to take a break. Even though I know accomplishing something in writing will make me feel better, sometimes I have to accept that's something I can't do yet.

But what to do on that break? Man, I don't know. Sometimes playing a game works. Exercise. Mostly, though I just have to get off the internet and remind myself what my life's really about.

What do you do?

* I'm better now, but I don't think October will be breaking any records.


Jodi Meadows said...

I play with yarn. Duh.

Kristen Wixted said...

I wouldn't know. I'm perfect.
jk I usually get away from the computer too. I go for a walk or run or sometimes even watch something good on TV.

Matthew MacNish said...

The last time I was discouraged about my writing I nearly gave up. But that was before I started blogging, and got to know other writers. I've never felt that down about it since.

And sometimes you do have to step back and remember what really matters.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I walk. Go see a really cool new movie. Get obsessed with NCIS for a while. Hug my kids. Mostly, I know that it will pass, because the thing I love most is the writing. So I keep doing it.

Joshua McCune said...

I was very near my wit's end before April. Doubt. It doesn't go away, I've discovered. I could go all kumbayaish and say embrace it, but that's bullshit. You just plow on and remember (says the goose to the gander) to stop and enjoy the other things in life (that yoda guy's got some wisdom to him).

Laurel Garver said...

I work on something in another genre, usually short form stuff like poems or short stories. That way the suckiness and stuckness in a draft doesn't suck away all my enjoyment of creating. And building up a few publishing credits along the way is a good mood-lifter too.

Myrna Foster said...

I get more sleep. It usually helps my outlook.

Nancy Thompson said...

Anything BUT write.

Read. Watch movies. Read. Read some more. Cook & bake. Paint. Draw. Anything creative. Go for a long drive with the top down.

Just get my head OUT of the writing.

Angela Brown said...

Watch some anime shows.
Tickle my daughter because her laughter makes me feel alive.
Then I feel like writing.

Peggy Eddleman said...

Usually when I'm hating it all, it's either because I've let too many non-writing things pile up on my to-do list and they're weighing me down, or I haven't expended any creative energy recently. Fixing one usually fixes the other.

Glad you're doing better now! Best of luck with everything.

Victoria Dixon said...

Thanks so much for this, Adam. It helps to know you're not alone and I actually received another powerful blog-email on the exact same topic yesterday. Definitely not alone. Between two jedi masters pushing me, I have FINALLY managed to produce something this morning and I feel so much better for it. God bless!

As far as what I do about these moments - well, that depends. If I'm being weak-willed and depressed, I eat chocolate or something salty and loaded with too much fat. If I'm being honest and boot-campy, I take the dog for a walk, give myself an artist date or something else much more kind than a bar of Hersheys.

Heidi W said...

I go to the park with my son. After an hour in the sun watching him play in the sand--I'm usually ready to go again. It's something about seeing his face so filled with pleasure at something as simple as a pile of sand. It grounds me.