Writers write because without being able to do so, we go a bit nuts, don’t we? Between the character voices crowding our head and the endless plot bunnies jumping in demanding to be written, if we’re not writing, we’re thinking of writing. I think that’s unique to what we do. We don’t ever have a break, even if we run into those frustrating days where the voices go quiet. On those days, we start worrying about why and we try to make them come back.
Those days, weeks, even months aside…there’s another downfall to writing I want to chat about. It’s something that can be completely crippling, and something no one really told me about until I discovered it drafting and revising my first book, and the next, then the next after that.
Okay, so every book I have ever written…
What I’m talking about are those days where you’re absolutely 100% certain you’ve broken your book. The days where the words are horrible, you’re convinced you have the weakest plot in the history of forever, everything is terrible, horrible, and no good. Those days.
Those days suck. Hard. They’re the ones that make you question everything from word choice, to that possibly misplaced comma, even your life choices—
And that’s where you have to stop those spiraling thoughts.
Those words you wrote the day before weren’t exactly horrible, the entire book isn’t rubbish, and the challenge you’re up against is worth the battle.
As writers we’re always going to battle with self-doubt. I’m convinced this is because we’re constantly vulnerable as we write. We open ourselves up to sharing our characters stories on the page and some days, we do in fact bleed onto the page. I think it’s easy to romanticize the good days, the honeymoon phase, even those shiny new ideas we have that are impatient to be written. And it is completely frustrating and a bit of a shock when you finally hit this uglier phase of writing a book.
I’m here to say it’s okay to step away for an hour, a day—however long you need to—so you can have fresh eyes on that book I promise you did in fact not break. I’m here to say it won’t be easy because there comes a time when writing is no longer putting words on a page, but requires a bit more thought and finesse. You know when you spend an hour polishing instead of actually writing, or deleting instead of adding to your word count.
This is when writing suddenly becomes work and the fun is gone. And even if you think your love for writing is gone, I promise it’s not. And I promise you’re going to fall in love with your book again even if it doesn’t seem like that’s possible.
It’s easier to throw your hands up and move onto to something new, something that seems like it’ll be a breeze to write. It’s easier to close out of your current project, consider it broken, and try to forget it. It’s easier, but it’s not the answer.
I’m here to say that you should embrace both the good writing days and the bad because when you finish, when you query an agent and go on submission, or when decide to self-publish, when you finally get to hold your book in your hands, it will be completely worth the stress, tears, and hard work.
So keep at it. Keep writing, keep plotting, keep revising. Keep focus on one sentence at a time if you need to—one page, one chapter. Little by little you’re going to get there, and soon you’ll have a finished book and that is the most amazing feeling ever.
Rebecca writes smart and gritty New Adult romances as well as historical romances, featuring flawed characters struggling to find their place in the world. She’s a lover of rainy days, an unabashed anglophile, and a devote Earl Grey tea drinker. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and their very spoiled cat, Bella. A wanderlust connoisseur, Rebecca can be caught daydreaming about her next travel adventure when not writing.
She is the author of EVERLY AFTER, BETWEEN EVERYTHING AND US, and the upcoming releases ETIQUETTE WITH THE DEVIL, A PROPER SCANDAL, and ANYTHING MORE THAN NOW.
Rebecca loves hearing from readers and writers. You can follow her @beckapaula or find out more about her and her books at www.rebeccapaula.com.