We’ve all suffered from writers block at one time or another. It is that point where you can’t find the words or the ideas. Everything you write is rubbish. Everything you have already written is rubbish. In fact, everything is rubbish.
Hopefully you can find a way past this before it gets any worse. However, if like me, you find yourself in that deep dark pit that I call writers despair, fear not – there is hope!
We all talk about writers block openly however writers despair gets little mention. It’s almost a taboo subject. I believe this is because it is the deepest darkest parts of us. The part where we believe ourselves to be unworthy. We consider ourselves utter failures and essentially, we give up. What’s more, we sink into a depressive state. We are no longer fun or interesting. We are misery and pain, trapped within hopelessness. Why would we want expose this vulnerable part of ourselves to anyone?
The past few days, without realizing, I have been on a downward spiral. It started with a question I asked myself about the plot in my latest book. Should I do this, or should I do that. What if I do this, no – I’ll do that, but what if it’s doesn’t make sense??!! Then I wrote about 6k words, which to be quite honest, need deleting.
Gradually I found myself writing less and tweeting more. Basically, I was using social networking as a way to put off writing because I didn’t know what to write. I no longer knew how to write. The plot alluded me. My description (which has always received praise) was crap, my dialogue – abominable, my characters – off the rails.
We writers are fickle little things. The more I wrote, the worse I felt. The less I wrote, the worse I felt. You see the problem here? Whether I wrote or not I felt crappy. I was wallowing in self-pity and suffocating in self-loathing. Not attractive qualities. These are the parts of us that we don’t like to talk about. But we should.
With writers block some people get past it by ‘writing through it’ or finding inspiration. However, what happens when you can’t? When the mere thought of putting pen to paper or fingers to keys makes your skin slick and your heart race. What do we do then?
I’ll tell you what I did. I allowed it to consume me. I became irritable. A delight to be around, I was most certainly not. I felt like crying, then I felt like laughing maniacally, then I felt like destroying everything that I had written because it was only fit for the bin. I sunk into the depths of writers hell. What was I thinking? I was not a writer! No one would want to read this, or anything else I had penned. Forget it; it was just a dream. All of this went through my head.
Seriously, doom and gloom – that was me! So how did I pull myself out of it?
In short – I didn’t.
Other writers did.
This morning I received my MS back from a wonderful Beta reader. She grabbed me under the armpits and hauled my ass out of the chasm of despair. She gave me detailed and constructive feedback, praised my work and advised of any changes she felt necessary. She made me feel like I could write.
Yes, I could write.
Then, later today, I received a tweet. I tweeted last night: “I give up for the night. At the point where I think the whole last chapter is rubbish #writerproblems”
The reply I received today was: “You’re not giving up, you’re taking a break and coming back stronger.”
And there we have it, muddy and bruised, I was out of the pit that I had fallen into.
Neither of these writers knew what I was going through. Both of them just made contact at the right time. They didn’t know because I didn’t tell them or anyone else. I didn’t express my anger or frustrations. Now I know I should have.
We need to talk to each other about this. We need to air our feelings and in turn we need to be willing to listen to others whenever they happen to fall into despair. It is not whining; it is genuine turmoil. We should not feel as though it is a taboo subject because it shouldn’t be. There is an army of writers on Twitter more than willing to drag you from despair, allow them to.
For now, I’m going to take a beat and do some editing. Well, it doesn’t cure itself in a day!
And to @ReadWriteLove28 and @DarrylDonaghue – thank you. I live to write another day.