It’s a funny thing: it seems the writers’ life consists mostly of ups and downs.
I mean, there’s all these times when we’re either SUPER EXCITED about writing and just so energized, and other times when we’re super down about it and think our writing is worthless etc. etc.
One moment we are all:
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!
And the next:
Quoth the raven: Nevermore.
Our writer lives are a series of mountains and valleys. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
It seems that there’s not an even road, where we are just quietly content in where we are in our writing, things going smoothly but not exciting (because if it’s going smoothly, that IS exciting), or just generally “meh, it’s okay” (because thinking that rockets one quickly to: “there must be something wrong with it if I’m feeling that way about it!” which turns to super down), and it’s all extremes.
(I’m generalizing, and if you’re not this way, then just ignore everything I said. XD)
But I suppose it makes sense, since writers are primarily storytellers, and in a story, things mostly ARE extremes. It’s either enormously happy for our heroes or super-super-enormously, extravagantly bad for our heroes. (Usually the latter; being a book character is a poor career choice, let me tell you. XD) Because in a story, if it was just meandering along a flat place where things were okay or all right, then… there wouldn’t be much of a story.
Perhaps we writers are attuned to that (and are also dramatic souls *cough* *guilty*) and tend to take it in extreme emotions one way or the other.
I’m not saying this is good or bad. XD I’ve just been thinking about it. 🙂 (Again, if you’re not this way, forgive my ramblings and let me know otherwise. :P)
I’ve been going through some writer ups and downs this year myself.
I’ve been writing short stories, which means I’ve been finishing things! But that also means I haven’t been making progress on novels.
I’ve been writing in small dashes of this-and-that, not focusing on any one thing, which means I haven’t made any serious progress on ANYTHING. But I HAVE somehow amassed about 20,000 words of writing this year!
I’ve had some great “clicking” moments that have resulted in excitement over various stories! But I’ve also not been excited enough about one thing to focus on it.
I’ve been writing in snippets, so I haven’t made consistent progress. But I’ve been using Scrivener and that has helped with my snippet tendencies and I’m getting fun inspired scenes down!
I’ve (hopefully) decided what to write for NaNo and gotten super excited about it! But NaNo is 4 months away. (That’s both good and bad. XD)
I’ve written three short stories this year, which total 14,700 words (Wintertale, A Tale of Two Boxes, and a Kedran’s Wood “fanfiction” that will never see publication but was fun to get me back into the series). I’m 2000 words into another short story, Invisible Beauty, and almost finished. I’ve written at least a thousand words of The Secret of Kedran’s Wood a.k.a. KW2 (I haven’t been keeping very good track, just trying to get further since I’ve been stuck) and a snatch of KW3. I’ve written 1700 words of snippets of The Other Half of Everything. And a couple lines of random other things. Plus various plotting I’ve done.
In a way, it’s not very much for six months. In another way, it’s far better than I was doing this time last year during my huge burnout!
Plus, I’ve been doing a LOT of reading and reviewing, getting my story-and-writing-fix that way.
I’m at the point where I have decisions to make of which paths to take as I wander these mountains and valleys of my writing… and these decisions, too, are huge opposite decisions, in keeping with the ups-and-downs-extremes theme of this post. XD
I either need to get seriously back into writing soon, OR take a serious break in order to recharge.
I either need to buckle down and decide that I will focus on one specific story and pick it and stick to it, OR embrace my work-on-multiple-things-at-once thing I’ve been doing slightly and make it work for me.
I either need to start writing in order again and focus on getting things done that way, OR I need to embrace my scribble-snippets-out-of-order-all-over-the-place thing I’ve been doing and make that work for me too. (Scrivener might help. But it’s hard to sew the quilt-pieces together once I’ve made them, so… I don’t know.)
I also need to remember tips that I’ve learned in the past that I don’t always remember to put into practice, such as:
- Draft zero. This is a huge friend of mine, or at least has been in the past, and it could really help me if I’d remember to use it.
- Timers and wordsprints. Especially the awesome wordsprint timer on the NaNo site. This is also super helpful for if I want to write something and just don’t have the motivation. I’ve only used it for NaNo and Camp so far, but the amount of progress that can happen in 15-or-20 minutes with this thing is astounding, so I should probably go for it again sometime.
- Music. I know music can be super inspiring and get me in the grove, but I just don’t remember to listen to it much. (It doesn’t help that the speakers on my laptop are shot, so I have to remember to use earbuds, and I just don’t.)
- A time to focus. I don’t write when I can’t focus, which means I just don’t have a time for it in my life right now. I need to set aside a time every day, or at least occasionally, to block out distractions and just open my Scrivener documents and at least TRY. Normally those times come at night and I’m either too tired, or I decide to read or write a review instead. Problems. 😛
Anyway. There’s a bit of a ramble on what’s up with my writing life of late, and its ups and downs, and partially just to remind myself of some things I should know. (Does that ever happen to you?) Writing is how I understand things in my life, so writing this out helped show me where I am, which is helpful. 😉
I’m going to leave you with a scribble of poetry that was meandering around my head at 2 a.m. when I was trying to sleep but instead thinking about all these things.
Writer ups and writer downs
We will don our paper crowns
Take up our most loyal pens
Find out where the story ends