Saturday, November 16, 2013

We all have those days

I wrote 583 keepable words today.

I wrote 729 that I deleted.

I'm not sure how many I deleted yesterday. Or the day before.

I've been trying to start a novella. It hasn't been going well. I kept doing this thing, where I'd get an idea, well, a piece of an idea, and start writing. I'd get a couple hundred words in, and then kaput. My brain would sabotage me. "You've already done this." "Someone else has already done this, and better." "There's nothing here." "This is overdone." 

And things would just go flat.

I have seven different openings.

I've saved the openings. Most of them are, after all, things I am genuinely interested in, and you never know when you see a spark that you didn't see before.

The thing that finally worked, is I found a character. Her voice is in my head, and I want to know what happens next. And parts of those other ideas will probably find there way into this story.

Here is the thing about writing: some days suck. It's like life that way. 

It doesn't mean you aren't a writer. It doesn't mean you won't find your story.

Keep trying.

I wrote 583 keepable words today.


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. It's helpful to know that other writers have bad days too, when you feel lost and the words aren't flowing. I've been using November to try to edit the pieces-parts of my novel and string the bits together, and in doing so, I came to a hard realization: I needed to throw most of a 6,000 word section away because it no longer fit the plot. I'd been avoiding this area because I kept trying to find a way to make it work and it just wasn't happening. I finally realized a few days ago that bending the circumstances to fit wasn't realistic or sensible; all it was doing was frustrating and confusing me (and would likely do the same to readers). I woke up this morning and looked at it again, trying to see if I was making the right choice -- so many words and scenes to just throw away. Writing new words today to bridge the gap was hard. I feel like I'm groping around blind, trying to do a jigsaw blindfolded. But I'm still trying. I threw away 6,000 words, but I wrote 1,600 new ones. I guess any progress makes for a good day.

  2. I know that cutting that many words at once hurts, but I believe that one of the most important things about being a writer is knowing when the words are wrong, as well as knowing when they are right. What matters at the end is that you've told the right story, and that's what you've realized how to do. So good for you - I'd say you did great work.

  3. Hey Cheryl, you don't have to actually throw them away either ... just open a new file and tuck them safely away . If you're lucky they might even be tempted to breed while you're not looking!

  4. Just found your blog on the superhighway. (I searched 'strange blog' on Google.) I used to fixate on words, now I try to see them as the finger that points to the moon. It's the moon that's beautiful, not the finger. Probably that explains my poor writing, but I guess it makes me a little happier and freer when I release the stories spilling from my heart. I don't know if I am making sense, but anyway, good luck with your novella.

  5. It's really useful to understand that alternative writers have unhealthy days too, once you feel lost and also the words are not flowing.