Writer Ups & Downs

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. πŸ™‚ (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. πŸ˜›

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. πŸ˜‰

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

Thanks for reading! ^_^

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34 thoughts on “Writer Ups & Downs

    • Yes indeed! …And oh my goodness, that made me laugh. XD That’s epic. πŸ˜€

      Thank you!! And yes, the best things happen in the wee hours in our minds! πŸ˜‰

      Thanks for reading, m’dear! ❀

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  1. It’s been my experience that sometimes when burnout hits, there’s truly nothing for it but to just break and not let guilt get to you. If you just can’t seem to come up with anything really good (by your own standards), then it usually means you’re suffering and about to hit a burnout, and just stepping away is usually helpful.

    If it makes you feel any better, it took me a total of 5 years (and not all at once) from developing the characters and trying to configure a plot to finishing Volume 1. So remember that. πŸ™‚ Proving that it just takes time, and may not come all at once.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ok, so first off: I love your little snippet of poetry. It’s lovely. I want it on my wall someday.

    Second off: I totally feel you with the extremes thing. I know how to write consistently, and I can write consistently, but sometimes it feels like I write ALL THE THINGS (during NaNo events) or I write NONE OF THE THINGS (between NaNo events). It can be hard to find motivation. It’s hard to sit down and do something that is hard even though it’s also something we love. It’s hard to go through and do what we need to do to make our stories the best possible. It’s HARD. And it’s worthwhile in the end, but often you can’t see that in the middle; all you can see is that it’s been a long day and reading The Invisible Library seems so much easier and more fun than writing right now. Yeah. I feel you.

    That said, I also know that writing with friends makes writing a lot easier, at least for me. So if you need an accountability buddy or someone to do a long-term wordwar with or just some encouragement, let me know and I’ll be happy to help.

    Best of luck with the writerlyness!

    Liked by 1 person

    • EEP. REALLY?? You have no idea how much my day was made that you like my little poetry thing that much! THANK YOU! ^_^ ❀

      Yes, all the things during NaNo, and… not all the things other times. XD I feel you! Motivation is HARD. Funny you should say that about The Invisible Library… πŸ˜‰

      Writing with friends is awesome, and I'm really grateful I have y'all! Thanks so much for the offer as well! ❀

      Thank youuu! Best of luck on your writerlyness too! ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I definitely have ups and downs – I can get into phases where I’m super excited about everything I’ve been working on, and phases where I can barely get motivation to pick up my computer. But I’ve found that music and reading blog posts about writing definitely helps me get in the mood of WRITE ALL THE THINGS lol.

    I really loved that bit of poetry you wrote! It made me feel proud to be a writer. πŸ™‚ Awesome post! – Abi

    Liked by 1 person

    • There definitely seem to be ups and downs like that for me as well. Glad I’m not alone! Ooh, music and blog posts about writing can be good for motivation, yes! πŸ™‚

      EEP THANK YOU SO MUCH!! It makes me so happy that you liked the poetry bit! ❀ Thanks so much for dropping by, Abi! ^_^

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  4. Okay, THIS POST THOUGH. You brought on soooo many good points that I have NEVER thought of. We writers DO live in extremes. :O This…this has never occurred to me. But it’s truuuue. I mean, naturally I’m a pretty laid back, carefree person, but with my writing it’s different. I’m either feeling on a writing high or low or absurdly excited about something or depressed. It just…YES. Extremes!

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” <— That is so true, I can't! I always thought that line made no sense. And here I am living it all the time. xD But yes, maybe it IS because with stories there is no middle road either. We're all melodramatic. *also guilty*

    Wow. I've just never thought about this. YOU ARE BRILLIANT.

    Man, do I understand your struggle with trying to make decisions. The writers' life is hard with that, because we supposed to be strict with ourselves and keep a schedule and try to have self-discipline. BUT, on the flip side, I also think it's super important we go with the flow, let our creative selves loose in whatever way we like best (like you writing stories via snippets for example). We each have our own creative…flairs I guess you could call them, and that's how we bring out our voices and produce some of the best content. So…it's a fine balance, as always. Ups and downs. xD That describes the writers' life perfectly.

    But I LOVE your list of things you need to remember. It's a good idea to have that! I think we often make things harder on ourselves because wee forget about the things that help, the little tips and tricks we've picked up over the years. I think all us writers need a list like that!

    I just loved this post okay! I hope you'll be able to figure out what you need to do. Just don't forget to be kind to yourself. I'm learning that it's OKAY to take breaks and go with the flow. I still sometimes feel guilty about it…but I know I SHOULDN'T. Taking breaks and doing what we feel like with our writing can be the best thing for us. *nods* And don't forget to remember all you've accomplished! Because you've accomplished SO MUCH!!!

    Also, YOUR POEM. I AM IN LOVE!!! You come up with the wittiest poems. I love them so much!

    Liked by 1 person

    • *squeaks* I’m glad you liked! πŸ˜€ Heheh, writing can turn us carefree people into insaneness. XD Aaall the extremes! And super melodramatic. πŸ˜‰ (Not that that’s a bad thing… *cough*)

      SO MANY HARD DECISIONS. I’m literally no closer to deciding these things, but at least I know they need to be decided! XD …I’m the worst at making decisions. -_- AND YOU’RE SO RIGHT THOUGH! :O It is hard because we’re strict but need to go with the flow tooooo and just. *collapses* ALL THE CONFUSION.

      I should write this list on a sticky note by my desk or something because I’m constantly forgetting. XD I also tend to learn things about myself as a writer during NaNo because I’m writing SO MUCH, and then promptly forget because I drop all things writing the second NaNo is over, and don’t come back for awhile, so I lose all that insight… The problems with extremes, right? πŸ˜‰

      Aww, thank you!! I’m so glad you liked the post! And thanks for your encouragement!! ^_^ I NEED those reminders so much! ❀ *hugs you*

      Oh my goodness, THANKS!! It makes me extremely happy when people like my poetry bits! ❀ Just — THANK YOU SO MUCH, LAURI! ^__^

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  5. “being a book character is a poor career choice,” <—- I LOVE THIS! Our poor characters, we put them through so much. But I think you're right, I think we do it because we tend to think in extremes. Because if it isn't extreme, it's kind of a boring, ho-hum kind of story. And while it's nice to have those moments in our stories sometimes (every now and then I'd like to see a character actually be ABLE to sit down to a nice meal or get that quiet chat with a friend without being interrupted by the WORLD ENDING) but you can't dwell there in a story… unless it's at the very end, and then it's over and so is the story and that's a whole 'nother sort of extreme.

    I love your poem! It's just… got that satisfying ring of truth to it. Brilliant!

    I totally know what you mean. I often need to write things out so that I can understand what it is I'm thinking.

    I hope that you can get your questions figured out and answered. And, hey, maybe try mixing it up a bit. If you are excited about that Nanowrimo story… why not write it NOW? I mean, sure, it means you might have to do something else in November, but I've found that it's better to write about something I'm excited about WHEN I'm excited about it… waiting can make it even better, but sometimes it drains it of its color a bit… if you know what I mean. Just a thought. Everyone works differently. And that's okay. You write YOUR way, because that's the only way you can tell your stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Eheheh, I’m glad that amused you. XD And I love your thoughts on the subject! So true. (I enjoy those times of happiness without, as you so hilariously put it, THE WORLD ENDING interrupting them. XD But I think of those as the super-happy times, too, sooo that’s kind of me being biased due to all the calamities in books. :P) And yes, that’s another kind of extreme, being over!

      Thank youuuu! I’m so so so pleased you liked the poem! ^_^

      Writing things out can be SO helpful. Glad I’m not the only one. πŸ™‚

      Thank you! I am bad at answering questions and making decisions, sooo… we’ll see. πŸ˜› Hmm, that IS a thought… (I’m also scared of starting things, which is another topic altogether. XD) Very true thoughts, although sometimes the story isn’t READY yet, even if it’s very colorful and exciting. Thanks for your thoughts! I shall think about them! And thanks for your encouraging words!! ❀

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  6. Progress is progress right? And writing short stories is practicing your writing skill because you’re writing. ^ ^ I have trouble writing short stories. XD I keep wanting to get more attached to the characters, but I have to hold back because of the limited word count. Best wishes with your writing!

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    • Yes indeed! πŸ˜€ And I’ve been enjoying being able to write bite-sized stories if only because I can FINISH them… πŸ˜› I’m usually the same way where my stories end up super long, but sometimes it works out. I know what you mean about getting attached, but I just get attached anyway. XD Sometimes I love my short story characters even more and I don’t know why. o.o Thank you, Tori! Best wishes on your writing as well! ❀

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  7. I too have been having some major ups and downs in my writing life. On the one hand, I’ve been blogging scheduling posts a lot more, but on the other…writing has kind of fallen to the wayside. XD And yes, word sprints and music help me SO. MUCH.

    Also, THAT POEM AT THE END. ^_^ LOVE IT!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, I’m sorry… and also glad… whatever you say when there are ups AND downs. XD Yay for blogging! But yeah, less, writing… Ahem. Same. πŸ˜› YAY FOR WORDSPRINTS AND MUSIC! πŸ˜€

      Eep, thanks so much, Madeline!! ❀ That makes my day. So glad you liked it! ^_^

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Lovely poem! And I like what you said at the beginning about us writers seeing things in extremes because that is how stories are written… and because we’re huge drama queens. *flips hair*
    Anyway, it sounds like you have some big decisions to make! I wish you all the luck with them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank youuu! Ahaha! *dying of laughter at your hair flip* So true, though. XD
      Yeah… I’m really bad at decisions, so I don’t even know if I’ll make any… πŸ˜› I’m bad like that… Ahem. >.> But thanks, Abbey! ^_^

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  9. YASS for ups and downs!! It can be so hard to keep writing. I definitely had to stop and recharge when the semester ended for me- school totally wrecked me and I took a good two weeks off from my novel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one! Yes, it’s super hard to keep writing. o.o Taking breaks after school is definitely a good plan to recharge! I hope you’re doing better now! Thanks for stopping by, Katie! πŸ™‚ Happy writing to you! ^_^

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  10. Pingback: Guest post: The writer and the tortoise – redesign life

  11. I hear you, Deborah!
    It’s okay, just take lots of deep breaths. πŸ™‚

    I’m in that “just keep writing, just keep writing” phase, with no “harsh goals” beyond a certain word count every month. (Did you know Scrivener has a word count goal ticker box? It DOES!!! πŸ™‚ )
    But you may already know that. I may be the person you’re fighting against becoming in your writing life!!! πŸ˜‰ (It’s okay. I’d fight too… but I’m too exhausted. πŸ˜‰ )

    Take care and sleep a lot!
    Elizabeth

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha, thanks for your comment! ^_^ I go back and forth between trying to do goals and trying to not force myself… I don’t actually have deadlines myself as I’m not a published author yet, so at the moment I don’t NEED to push myself… I’ve decided to try a Camp NaNo goal of 30 hours this month to see if that will help get me inspired. πŸ™‚ And YES, I love the Scrivener wordcount features!! πŸ˜€

      Thanks so much for your encouragement, dear! ❀

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