The Ups and Downs of Writing

Photo credit: NormLanier on Flickr
So I’m in the middle of revision mode right now, working on a MS that I was about 95% sure I’d trunk and never look at again after I finished the first draft.

And. Well. I was wrong. Clearly.

Writing is an emotional, internal, weird thing. It tricks our brains into thinking we’re literary geniuses one day (or at least plot geniuses, or character geniuses, or otherwise this manuscript is the best thing ever geniuses), then has us pounding our faces on the keyboard the next, ready to toss every word we’ve ever written ever in the trash. Sometimes that cycle happens several times in a week. Or day, really. It happens pretty darn often.

And you know? It’s hard. It’s really legitimately tough to have confidence in your work and yourself one minute, and deal with crushing, joy-sucking doubt the next. It’s hard to call yourself a writer when you look at your work and wonder what the hell you’re thinking writing this nonsense.

It’s also totally 150% normal.

There are so many ups and downs to the writing life even before you attempt to get published (and after? Ha. Don’t even get me started).

But here’s the thing: writers of all stages, from brand new to published several times over all go through this. I’m not entirely sure why (though I’m guessing there’s some psychological explanation for it), though my guess is it has something to do with the fact that we writers tend to be internal types, and writing sort of forces us to be super internally focused, and the whole writing thing is super subjective and to be honest, the thought of showing people your writing can be kind of terrifying sometimes. Especially because those nagging doubts like to start making themselves known right about the time you hit send.


But there is good news to all this, namely that it really truly is completely normal, and just about every writer will, at some point, experience it (probably many times over). Which is good because when you experience it, you can know you’re really truly and honestly not alone.

Know the feeling won’t last.

Know other writers understand.

Know that this writing thing is hard, but what you’re doing? It’s fantastic and amazing and so very awesome. So go you.

Have you experienced the emotional ups and downs of writing? What do you do to help overcome it? 

Twitter-sized bites: 
Writer @Ava_Jae blogs about the emotional ups and downs of writing. What do you think? (Click to tweet)  
Writer @Ava_Jae says it's normal to doubt your writing ability one day and love your WIP the next. What do you think? (Click to tweet)


Farida Mestek said...

You describe it so accurately and it's good to know that it's normal and that it happens to the best of us. I guess for me the best way to deal with the downs is to talk it out and over with my CP, share ideas and tales of woe, ask for advice, etc, because otherwise I will just brood and go from apathy to depression unable to write or even read!

Sam Taylor said...

Thank you for this article. I've have been struggling a lot recently with feelings of inadequacy in my writing. It's good to know that I am not alone ... and a relief to know it's a normal feeling for all writers. (I'm not crazy!) I appreciate how much writers are able to help one another out through these ups and downs.

Sioux Trett said...

I reeeeeally needed this today. Thank you. Revisions are so much slower than I wanted them to be, and I keep finding myself fighting those same thoughts. It's nice to know that, although super frustrating, they're also normal. (And also, bonus points for the Everest pic. Well done.)

Ava Jae said...

CPs can be really really great for helping you get through this stuff. Absolutely a fantastic suggestion.

Ava Jae said...

You're so welcome, Sam! You're absolutely not alone, and as Farida said, CPs can be really great for helping us get through this stuff. Keep your chin up and most importantly, keep writing!

Ava Jae said...

You're so welcome, Sioux! It's absolutely normal (and I definitely get your slow revision frustration—I'm dealing with that right now myself).

(Also thank you. I thought it was especially appropriate when I came across it on Flickr. ^_^).

George McNeese said...

I have ridden the emotional roller coaster of writing too many times to count. I've ridden it so much to the point where I've given up on writing, only to come back and resolve to be totally focused on getting my work out there. I experience the lulls of writing due to fear and lack of discipline. But when I am writing, there a high that can't really be explained. As I continue this journey, I hope to experience more highs than lows, and hope to share my works and experiences to fellow writers.

Ava Jae said...

Great goals to have, George. Those ups and downs are hard, but you're part of a community that absolutely understands. I wish you all the best!

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