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5 tips for when you are in the depths of writing despair

Now that I have finally hopped on the bandwagon and learnt to use gifs (have they finally figured out how to pronounce it yet?) expect many gif ridden posts. Yes folks, I am going to be one of those annoying people who uses them to express their emotions. Actually though, for todays post gifs are quite apt. I am going to be rambling on about the crazy highs and cavernous lows of being a writer and I think these are best illustrated through the magic of moving images.

I am in the middle of attempting to write my very first, polished novel that makes sense, is actually readable and that I am proud of. I have being writing seriously for a few years now and in that time I have wrote 2 manuscripts that are now safely confined to the bottomless pits of hell. But this one is special to me and I really really want it to be good. This has led though to some unfortunate emotions.

They range from this:

tumblr_m43zlwi9CF1qa601io1_500

when I’m writing well and I know where I’m going and I am able to spell right and I don’t keep changing my mind.

And then there are times when I feel like doing this:

Typewriter-throwing

This is usually when I have NO idea what I am going to do next, everything I have ever written down has been utterly rubbish, insert authors name here is SO much better then me & etc.

When I first started writing every time I felt like that I would delete the work I had done and start over. I’d failed. I was awful. This was never going to be as good as my favourite books. I was convinced that nobody in the history of the world had ever written anything that was this bad.

I’m not going to say that I never feel this way anymore (in fact it is a regular occurrence) and that writing is plain sailing, but I have found other ways to deal with it then hitting the delete key.

#1 REALISE THAT EVERY OTHER WRITER/AUTHOR HAS FELT EXACTLY THE SAME WAY

I think writers often have a misconception about other writers, especially those that are published. That they skip off to their desks and polish often a perfect bestseller by lunchtime. THAT NEVER HAPPENS. Everybody, whether you’re J. K Rowling or Billy Nobody feels like a failure sometimes. One of my favourite authors, Libba Bray recently wrote an excellent post on writing despair. You are not alone.

#2 TAKE A BREAK FROM YOUR LAPTOP

Go swimming, maybe take the dog for a long walk, watch rubbish TV or read a book – just do anything else. Sometimes taking a break from writing is the best possible thing for your writing.

#3 REMEMBER THAT ALL WRITING, EVEN THE ABSOLUTE WORST WRITING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD IS STILL PRACTICE

The way I look at it is like this. The first time a carpenter makes a chair, it doesn’t even resemble a chair. The second, third, fourth and five times he makes it aren’t much better. The seventh, eighth and ninth are slightly better and by number ten it looks like a chair. On the one hundredth time he makes a chair it is the most beautiful, comfortable chair he has ever seen. But he never would have got to that level if he hadn’t made the previous one hundred chairs. Practice makes perfect! And anyway, re-reading your really old writing makes for lots of laughs!

#4 START ON ANOTHER PROJECT

I really love having a couple of ‘projects’ on the go at one time, because they act as a perfect buffer for each other. When one gets dicey, I switch to the other one!

#5 WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS READ SOME INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”
—Philip Roth

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”
—George Orwell

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway

What about you? What do you do when the going gets rough? Have you got any tips for feeling like the worst writer?

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