When Your Own Bad Writing Makes You Sick

Ever look back and read work you’ve done in the past to realize it sucks so bad you almost feel physically ill?

Yep, that happened to me in a big way Sunday. The previous week my son started school on Wednesday, so I started working on my new novel with gusto (I’d been waiting all summer to start!), but realized I had some background information and research that needed to be done first. Then I got the bright idea to read the half completed first draft of my second novel (Dark Territories) over the weekend. God, what a horrible, awful, terrible disappointment that turned out to be.

I couldn’t even get all the way through two chapters before I decided I’d had enough, because I was real close to vomiting. Yeah, it was that bad. And I can’t even pinpoint one specific thing that was terrible. There was a well balanced amount of terribleness from stiff and completely out of character dialogue to plot leaps that would make a mountain goat proud. There were tie-ins from one story arc to another that left me wondering exactly how much I had to drink that day. And please don’t even get me started on my long windedness. I could probably make a schooner set sail with all that blustering air moving about in each scene.

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Taking Time Away From the Writing Journey

Don’t you just hate it when something comes along to interrupt your writing journey? Everything is scheduled out, deadlines are set, motivation to rush full steam ahead is not a problem- then the unthinkable happens. You go on vacation (maybe not such a bad thing), work requires a lot of overtime, you have a family emergency, you get the Flu, or some other reason life takes a sidetrack that wasn’t expected, or something that’s just down right inconvenient for your writing journey. It makes you groan deep within, because you know you’ll have to put your writing aside for a time in order to put your full focus onto the interruption.

I recently was the victim of a nasty strain of the Flu, which effectively wiped me out for 2 weeks soild. It came like a thief in the night and left me a pale version of myself. As I lay with aching head and raging fever, my only real though was that my writing would have to take a back seat and all my grand plans were gone. I knew even then, I’d have to take a break and climb the mountain of sick procrastination to get back to writing again at some point. It was one of those moments in the writing journey that can’t be avoided. And I realized that like it or not, taking a break from writing is necessary, even if it’s forced upon you.

I had to remind myself that in this situation, it’s important to give yourself permission to be less dedicated to writing and do something else besides be a writer. Sometimes giving your full attention to something else can be beneficial to you as a writer and your personal self. This allows for you to stop feeling guilty for not writing (which is a useless thing to feel) and it can actually broaden your experiences as a writer.

How does one get back to writing after time away? I think the best thing is to wait until you have fully disentangled yourself from the reason you where pulled from writing. Once this interruption is gone, it will be easier to focus on what needs to be done. It might be difficult to think of what should be next, because there is probably a mountain of things that need to be completed and caught up on. That’s usually when a deep breath comes in handy, so not to get too overwhelmed, and a reminder to take one step at a time. Enjoy each step and chalk the setback to a learning experience, or even a situation that might find itself in a story some day.

Give each moment deep concentration, whether the moment is good or bad. Look at all things as an opportunity to fill the notebook, even if it’s for a later time. Realize your imitations and work with them, not against them. It will make life so much easier in the long run. Enjoy each step that is taken, whether it’s on the path of writing, or a slight detour through the walk of life, because you’ll never know what’s around the next corner.