Sometimes I Fail At Writing

7:00 AM

At last, I've returned for good! Summer camp and missions trips and all that fun stuff is finished, so we can return to our usual schedule (hopefully). I see my guest posters did a lovely job, of course, and no one died while I was gone, so it's almost a shame to take things back from them. 

But now you're stuck with me again, so here goes nothing. (You'll hear all about my missions trip on Saturday because I have thoughts on it and I like rambling, so stay tuned for that.) 

Today we are going to be talking about failure. Specifically, failure in writing. 

"Oh, yes," you're probably thinking. "I really missed this kind of thing from Aimee."

I've accomplished a lot so far this year in terms of writing. More than I realize, I'm sure, because I have perfectionism issues, as many writers do, and lately I've gotten more and more frustrated and felt like more and more of a failure and it's generally been not-good. For one thing, I was intending to get Pariah out to betas in June. Early June. Now it's almost August and I'm getting a little closer to finding betas, but not really, and I'm months behind "where I'm supposed to be". Needless to say, this is frustrating. 

So, I've been a little obsessed lately with the idea of me being a failure. I mean, how the heck am I ever supposed to be any kind of serious, dedicated writer if I can't even reach my goals on time? If I can't even create a plot that doesn't fall through ten billion times when I should have been able to see those plot holes and logical flaws right away? How could I have let myself get seven drafts in before I realized that most of these characters weren't even properly developed and need a lot of work? 

But the more I think about it, the more I realize that this year of frustration and 'failure' and 'not reaching deadlines' has taught me a lot more than doing 'perfectly' would have. 

For one thing, I learned a lot about plotting, and I learned it the hard way. Specifically, the fact that once you're seven drafts in you can't really afford to wing it anymore. You have to have a plan. Which I suck at, but I'm improving, and having some kind of plan is making things better and smoother. 

Secondly, 'deadlines' mean nothing here. This is a first novel, and I need to remind myself that. I should be taking time. The more I rush to finish things and stay with some kind of schedule that I made up in the first place, and the more I freak out about not being on that schedule, the worse it is for that poor novel of mine. If I need to take time to work stuff out, so be it. (This is something I've not yet gotten into my head and heart, but something I'm really working on, because it's screwing me up.) 

Also: it is getting better. Which is something I and many, many authors have a hard time with, I think. All I can see is the suckiness and plot holes because I've spent way too long rooming with this stupid little story and I'm all caught up in the mistakes and what I'm doing wrong. But if I take the time to look back at previous drafts and previous plots and the way the characters used to be, I really AM getting better. Vastly better, in fact. And with every draft and every rewrite things feel smoother, and I'm one more of those infuriating rewrites closer to someday in the next fifty years or so actually having a completed manuscript that I can start to query. Which is pretty dang awesome, when you think about it. 

So yes, it often feels like the above gif. 

Screw that, it pretty much always feels like the above gif. But I'm trying to remind myself of those three things I put up there, and get it into my head that I'm not a failure. 

This applies to you all, too. Just in case I need to say it again. 

You're learning, even if it feels like you're not. 

Taking your time is okay -- it's for the best, in fact.

It's getting better, even if you can't see it. 

I hope you all feel englightened and slightly less like failures, because these are important things to remember. So there. 

Now that I've given you some wisdom to think on, here's some news: 
  • I'M POSTING ON ANOTHER BLOG NOW. That's right, I'm officially a blogger for the brand-new, very fancy Young Writers' Treehouse, which is pretty dang awesome if I do say so myself. (I helped set it up and all that stuffs.) It's a bit like this blog only more professional and there's a lot of awesome bloggers contributing and adding unique voices, and there are already several posts up, so you should go check that out and definitely follow it right now. My very first post goes up on Friday and I'm rather proud of it, so check it out, pretty please? 
  • I WILL be collecting beta readers for Pariah in August, for real this time. If you're interested, find the 'shoot me a message' form on the righthand side of this very blog and do, indeed, shoot me a message letting me know you're interested, so that I can add you to the list and get you more information on this and such. Don't worry, I won't lock you into a blood oath that you'll definitely read it. But I do want to get information out to interested people first. 
  • There might very possibly be exciting blog news coming up in August and I'm a bit nervous about it aw yesssss
  • I have an Instagram now and I post pretty pictures and sometimes those pictures have cats in them. My username is @barricadeofbooks and I'd love to follow all you lovely peeps.

What do you do when you're in a writing slump? Did you miss me while I was gone this week? How do you keep yourself positive when you feel like a writing failure? Comment away.


  1. I don't really write, but I want to. I never find the time. I'm generally very hard on myself with things like deadlines, so it's good to know that I'm not the only one! But seriously, a novel is a big job. Be easy on yourself. And planning. Planning is good.

    1. Yeah, time is a difficult thing with writing. Thanks! :)

  2. *scrambles desperately for message box* GO AIMEE GO. You definitely have made some great points about deadlines not being the #1 important thing, so long as we're learning and improving as writers. I'm SUCH a planning freak now -- I've begun planning for my NaNo novel already.

    PS: I mean, I definitely agree you don't always have to meet deadlines, but I've found myWriteClub super helpful for deadlines. Just to toss it out there.

    1. *desperately adds you to beta list*

      MyWriteClub is basically life now. I love the deadlines and the charts and the everything. It's been really encouraging, and I'm glad I found it. Yesssss. Planning is hard for me, but I think I'm starting to find a good in-between place.

  3. I feel this way a lot, I think. Like, I have a drafted post similar to this from a few weeks ago when I was really frustrated with my writing, and one line that I still think about often is, "Just because no one complains about it doesn't mean you don't suck at something." It can feel that way a lot with writing—but I think what your post ultimately reminded me today is that writing is not a goal, but rather a process. And just choosing partake in that process helps, even if you can't see it.

    I'm super excited to hear about your exciting blog news, and I look forward to looking at your new blog!

    1. Yessss. I'm often feeling awful about writing because I'm a goal/results-oriented person and writing is such a hard thing to measure and define. *sighs*

  4. You have no idea how much I needed this right now.

    Thank you so much for your awesome encouragement. Sometimes I just need someone to tell me to go easy on myself.

    Which brings me too-- go easy on YOURself!! You are doing awesome, Aimee. I mean, it's better to have seven sucky drafts, each less sucky than the last, then just that horrible, shameful, terrible first draft. Honestly, there are so many people who never got as far as you have. You are doing just great. :)

    1. I'm so glad you found it encouraging! Going easy on ourselves seems to be a hard thing for writers, and it's easy to see why. I often lose sight of all the quite frankly awesome things I've done in light of how much further I have to go, and forget everything I've learned. Keep writing! :)

  5. Ugh I know that feeling, where you think you should be doing so much better when your writing, but then you don't seem to be making much progress. I get like that every so often, especially when people start asking when my book is going to be finished, and I'm like 'no time soon', and then I wonder if I'm a failure because it's not done yet, or everyone else seems to be doing so well and be giving their books to betas and sharing awesome quotes and mine's not ready yet. But at the same time, I totally agree that writing is not all about the deadlines and comparing progress, and that you're probably making progress when you don't see it. I wish I had some wise words to add to that, but frankly I think you summed everything up better than I could.

    Anyway, getting to the beta stage is big, so congratulations on being so close to that! And I'm so excited about the new blog. It's going to be so amazing, isn't it?

    1. There's not much to say to this that you haven't already. :P I'm constantly discouraged by not hitting deadlines that don't even matter and such, which is difficult for me, but I feel like I'm getting better at that.

      Thanks so much! I agree; it's a super cool project and I'm delighted to be a part of it.

  6. *runs wildly for instagram* YAY. I AM SO GLAD YOU'VE CAVED TO THAT GLORIOUS PLACE. Seriously instagram is tied with twitter for my favourite social media platform. Such fun. ^_^
    Ahhh, I totally agree with this post, too, by the way. I really suck at editing because it takes me sooo looooong. Like I wrote the darn book in a week, but I've been editing for a month and STILL NOT DONE. *hyperventilates* It is very important to understand there's different processes for different things. I love the "You're learning, even if it feels like you're not." because that is so so true. If we're working at writing, even if it's slow, we're learning. x)

    1. Ha, I kind of suck at it so far, but I'm getting there! I don't have a camera, just my phone, but oh well. I'll learn.
      Editing is the WORST. *hands out cake*

  7. Deadlines ate terrible. The funny thing is that just as I opened this post, I was considering completely swearing off deadlines for my first novel, at least until I actually have a grasp of how the whole writing thing works. Deadlines only ever seem to discourage me. According to my brother Patrick and several others, I'm already to I much of a perfectionist... and it sounds like you are, too. So this is me encouraging you, for whatever good it might do, to swear off those deadlines. Also, please stop beating yourself up so much. I happen to think your writing is brilliant. The world needs Pariah. The world needs you.

    1. Haha, sometimes deadlines help and sometimes they don't -- I've not had much success with them except during NaNo, but oh well. It's a skill I'm trying to teach myself.

      And thanks so much -- that means a lot. :D

  8. You are back! Yay! :D

    This was an awesome post!

    I tend to beat myself up about writing. Or just everything. I keep finding failure after failure to stack onto the pile until I'm almost drowning in it. That's usually when I mentally slap myself and say something like, "Look at all this self pity lying around! Snap out of it!" And then I charge forth again.

    This was a good pep talk. Very helpful. Because, yeah, I'm kind of behind "schedule" too. I loathe deadlines. . .

    1. Thank you! I do enjoy writing pep-talk-ish things. I beat myself up a lot too, so I think it's an important reminder.

  9. Thank you for this post! I've had similar feelings of failure recently, but you're right: the story is /so much better/ than it was, and taking my time is okay. :)
    Also, I tagged you for the Unpopular Opinions Tag! Don't feel obligated, but if you want to do it, here's the link:


    1. Thank you! *will get to the tags soon*

  10. Aaaaagggghhhh don't feel awful about your writing because I HAVE read some of it and it is amazing. And I wouldn't say that if I didn't mean it, so yes, take breaks and keep yourself relatively sane but keep going. Also, it's worth noting that I admire your determination immensely, because when I'm in a writing slump I don't infuse myself with positivity . . . I ignore the fact that I have a project to work on. Bad habit. I would be trying to work on it except for the fact that I've mastered the art of forgetting.
    Congrats on being on another blog!

    1. Ahhhh thank you! <3 I think I'm surviving/staying sane lately, so that's good. Good luck with your own writing -- I know it's fantastic, too. :D

    2. At least some measure of sanity is fantastic. And surviving. That's a good thing too.
      Thanks. :)

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hey. hey. talk to me. i'm a fan of comments and flailing with you. go for it.