What Was I Thinking? Maybe I Should Quit Writing

stress (1)Let’s face it–we all have them. Days where nothing goes right. Nobody enjoys them, but if you’re a writer, you’re particularly vulnerable to them.

Writers need critiques to write their best. Sometimes, everyone needs some outside eyes on their work. But that means we have have to take criticism to improve, and some days there’s just too much of it. We start to doubt ourselves.

There may be non-inspiring mental dialogue to accompany this. “Who am I kidding? Why did I ever think I could write? There are people out there who’ve been doing this for longer than me, and they’re not published. Maybe I don’t deserve to succeed. My writing’s not good enough.”

And some of that may be true. Perhaps your writing isn’t up to standards–yet. There will be people who you think deserve to succeed–and don’t. Or maybe you’re just having a bad day.

Writing is a solitary activity. This can make it hard to deal with days where nothing seems to go right. Very few of us live with friends and family who can relate to a writing crisis. They give us this furrowed-brow puzzled look, clearly wondering why we’re so upset.

It might be that you’re stuck writing a scene. Or you’ve written a book, but nobody really likes it and they can’t tell you why. You’ve edited it umpteen times already, and now you’re thinking about putting aside this story that you really love. Your favorite short story has been rejected fifteen times. Or you might have gotten past all this, but now, having written a novel, you can’t come up with a decent 250 word query to save your life.

Whatever the cause, you’re not the only one. It might help if you talk to someone else in the same mental place. The writer’s group I’m in, AbsoluteWrite, has entire subforums devoted to dealing with writer’s block and rejection. If you tweet, you can talk to a few of your writer friends on Twitter. Or email your most supportive beta.

Even if for some reason you can’t reach out to someone who understands, please realize you’re not alone. As I’m writing this, I’ve just had a terrible day banging my head against the query brick wall.

But this day, this feeling, will pass. You’ll figure it out. And just like one of your characters, you’ll be stronger for having gone through it.

Keep writing.

Avid writer and reader, especially of fantasy. Learning about social networking and always interested in honing my writing skills. Contact me at cathleentownsend.com.

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Posted in Writing
9 comments on “What Was I Thinking? Maybe I Should Quit Writing
  1. taeray says:

    Thanks for posting this. It’s a nice reminder. I’m really scratching my head today trying to figure out my last hurdle for my book.

    Like

  2. Margaret Lesh says:

    Sometimes I think being a writer is the worst thing I could have ever done. It is such a roller coaster. It’s mostly good, though. I think we’re a special breed. (Only slightly damaged?) 😀

    Like

  3. mclesh says:

    Sometimes I think deciding to become a writer was the worst thing I could have done. It is such an emotional roller coaster. I think one has to be slightly damaged. But in a good way. 😉

    Like

  4. You really hit the nail on the head with this one. And, as one of those members of AW that had the privileged of reading your last query, don’t give up! It sounds crazy exciting and well thought out. Not to mention how brave it is to undergo the gauntlet of query critiquing..

    Like

    • You’re so kind. It’s just frustrating. I’ve got some ideas for re-doing my query, and I’m sure it’ll be better for it.

      As writers, we all know the frustration of doing it over again. It’s just my turn. 🙂

      Like

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