Have you ever felt like what you are writing is junk and it stinks to high heaven? I've been going through that emotional roller coaster for the last few days. I pick up my WIP (work in progress) and start to re-read the last chapter I was working on and grit my teeth, while inside my head I'm saying: Eeew!
That's when I have to bring out the big guns and shoot away at those feelings. Some people advise you to continue writing and break through the funk. I recently I read something that had a different take on getting through the doldrums. And that was to study the craft of writing!
Analyze successful stories. Writers should ask questions when reading and then use their findings to help strengthen their work. For example:
- How does the writer make me turn the page?
- Why am I drawn to the lead character?
- When are the stakes raised?
- How does the writer integrate minor characters?
- What makes a scene work?
- What's the key to conflict?
- How does the writer handle dialogue?
Another thing you can do is have people give you feedback - editors, critique groups, trusted and objective friends. Feedback will help set you in a direction of action. What you can correct or what is already working in your WIP. One thing you don't want to do is throw out the baby with the bath water. In other words, keep what is good and edit the rest.
Here is one last thought when you are reading: Writers write with fresh voices.
- Explore all facets of a story - then concentrate on feeling your story as well as writing it.
- Read a wide variety of material - writers need to read outside their genre - even poetry - to expand their stylistic range.
Remember that the most important thing is to keep writing while you do your studying. Don't be defeated by lack of inspiration. Continue writing and get that first draft finished. Then you can go back through and edit what needs to be polished.
Are you going through the writing doldrums? Or have you had those feelings lately, that say you aren't really a writer? Have you read any good books lately?
"Fear reveals itself through our excuses."