When Writing Is Tiring

7:23 PM


This month, with it being Camp NaNo and all, I want to focus on the discouraging moments in writing. Because let's face it: I've had a lot of those lately.


Let's not skim around the facts here. Writing is exhausting. 

We spend a lot of our time complaining about how tiring writing is, actually. We just don't want to write. Heck, I don't want to write. Like ever. Sometimes I get vaguely excited about it but then I sit down and boom, all the words go right out of my brain. No more words for me, thank you. Especially because Pariah is kicking my butt at the moment. I wanted to finish the thing and get it ready for betas by the end of last month, before the Camp madness. That did not happen. I got about halfway through. I don't beat myself up about writing as much as I used to, but it's still frustrating. Now that I'm distracted writing space battles it's hard to fit in time for Pariah, or wiggle away from my usual excuses. 

"Aimeeeee you could just take a break this month" 

"The betas won't care anyway!" 

"Your novel probably sucks. Pariah will crash and burn since it's going slowly. Just give up now." 

Some days I want to karate-chop the excuses in the throat. Other days I want to flop and binge-watch Star Trek or Castle and just...not think about it. What does it matter, anyway? I'm tired of slogging through every chapter. 
this is the most gloriously underrated movie, btw
But here's the deal: 

Writing isn't supposed to be easy.

I have to remind myself of that every day. I'm not owed being thrilled with my novel every time I sit down to write it. It won't be all dashing through the word count in a few hours, or reaching my goal in half the time. I'm not going to be some genius writer who gets things right all the time. Writing is 90% sucking and 10% fixing said sucky stuff. That's how it is. That has to be okay. One of the biggest dangers I see in a bunch of us teen writers (and heck, adult writers too) is that we get a little ways through a story idea, lose the thrill of it, and get distracted with some new plot bunny. I used to do that. I'm tempted to do that all the time! Wouldn't that be so much fun. 

But that's not what I want. 

Sometimes writing isn't pretty. Sometimes it's pushing away the delicious new plot bunny until later, or never, and learning how to say no. Sometimes it's rewriting the same chapter like five billion times. Sometimes it's slogging through 300 words an hour and hating every one of them. Sometimes it's banging your head against the wall  working through things no matter how long it takes. Goals aren't always going to be met. Plots aren't always going to plot. It's tiring to be a writer, folks. 

I just have to keep coming back to the Word doc, every day, and typing out the words. Even when I'd rather stab myself in the eye with a spork. I've just gotta be able to admit this: 

my whole writing motto, tbh.

How do you deal with writing slumps?

43 comments

  1. I don't deal with writing slumps. I violently deny their existence while crying tears of blood. Writing slumps are the worst.

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  2. I don`t deal, I cry and write crap. Robert Downy Jr. is a fabulous Sherlock.

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    1. I think crying is the general response here, and I feel that. xD

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  3. i read writing blogs and cry b/c writer's block

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  4. I've recently been trying to write more, so this is helpful motivation. (also a little depressing.) But this is so true and helpful. And doing this is hard. Good luck with your Camp NaNo novel! It sounds fabulous :)

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    1. Thank you! Good luck with your own difficult writing endeavors. <3

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  5. Sometimes writing isn't pretty. Amen. Sometimes it's just showing up to your desk because you know if you don't you're going to let this dream slip through your fingers. Sometimes it's sitting down and pounding out words that make you nauseous, because you know eventually, if you do, you'll hit words that make you know to the core of your being "this is why I'm here".

    Keep going, lovely Aimee! You are inspiring, and whenever I see you around social media it always makes my day a little brighter. And whenever you get tempted to give up, come back to read this and remember that the beta readers DO CARE SO MUCH. It's OK if it takes longer than you thought, so don't let waiting betas stress you, but use the thought of them eagerly waiting as a lifeline on rough days. I can't tell you how often I've anticipated Pariah with delight over the last few weeks.

    Write and be awesome!

    God bless,
    Schuyler

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    1. Awwwww thank you so much! you've been so encouraging about things, and I'm very excited to have you read Pariah. People like you keep me going, honestly.

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  6. *brains explodes* It's soooo tiring right now! I'm so dead. *turns into a zombie* I just power through it. #mostunhelpfuladviceever

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  7. This is so, so, so true. And the crazy things is, it's actually the terrible parts of writing that make the good parts worth it (not that that helps when you're in the middle of a writing slump, but...). I almost never "really" want to write either, because writing can be hard, and writing can be tedious, and there's no guarantee that it'll work out. But then when you're at your lowest point, it all somehow sorts itself out. Plus I don't think that writers are the most objective critics of their own work. There's a quote by Stephen King that says that giving up on a project because it's tough on you either creatively or emotionally is a bad idea. Sometimes you're doing good work but can't see it.
    I hope you come out of your writing slump soon, and best of luck on Camp NaNoWriMo!

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    1. Yes! I've found that it's important to talk about the difficult parts as well as the wonderful parts, even when it's frustrating. *sigh*

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  8. Ugh, writer's block is the worst. I usually start of with crying and then after I'm done I force myself to write something, and if that is too difficult I make it a game and see if I can write the crappiest scene ever, and that usually helps.

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    1. Sometimes a good cry is very helpful, really. xD

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  9. Firstly. *gives you chocolate and blankets* You got this. :3

    Secondly, I needed this. :) I'm beginning to learn that writing is /hard./ I was always in the bliss of first draft nonsense, but now I'm into the editing stage and it's harrrd. o.o I'm still trying to recover from the discouragement and frustration. My novel's going through a total rewrite when I thought I was in the alpha-reader stage. It's been hard trying to figure out how to make things flow smoothly again, and it's been maddeningly frustrating.

    But, I'm learning to try to look at old scenes from new angles, trying out new routes. So far, it's seems to be working for some places, and it's making the novel more fun to work with again, now that I have something new to try. :3 It feels fresh when I find new ways to do scenes.

    Don't give up, Aimee! You've made it this far. See your darling book through to the end. :D

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    1. *snuggles in blankets and noms on chocolate* Thank you so much! You guys are so encouraging and helpful.

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  10. Writing slumps are the worst. It just seems like there's absolutely no reason in putting another word down, which is awful. That, or you're just so worded-out you don't know what to do with it. Which is me right now with my NaNo project because I spit so many words out in the first few days that it's dragging now.

    And, yes, writing is hard. You're taking stuff THAT YOUR BRAIN MADE UP AND FIGURING OUT HOW TO PUT THE SAME 26 LETTERS IN ORDER TO MAKE IT A STORY AND I DON'T KNOW WHAT SOME PEOPLE THINK WRITING IS BUT IT'S REALLY HARD.

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    1. "worded-out" pretty much describes my existence. xD

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  11. yep. not gonna lie, this one hit home. Im on blogger because I'm avoiding my novel word doc actually. because Im stuck and dont know where to go with it. so....yeah. you got me.
    writing is not supposed to be easy. if it were, everyone would do it. (cliche but true.)
    thanks for the reminder.

    now go out there and kick Pariah right back

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  12. Omg so so much truth. SO MUCH TRUTH. (And also, just before I forget, but the RDJ and Jude Law Sherlock Holmes is my favourite of ever and feels and funny and explosions. <3333) AHEM. BUT BACK TO WRITING. I think writing is honestly romanticised a lot...whereas it's really a lot of frustration and crying and asking why one's brain is combusting instead of just WRITING DOWN A FEW WORDS HOW HARD CAN IT BE (Spoiler: very.) I totally agree with not chasing all the plot bunnies. Write the basic gist down? But dooooon't get into the habit of switching projects. *nods sagely*

    Also I deal with writing slumps by...crying. XD I'M KIDDING. (I'm not.) I let myself slump for a little while, but not too long. I think the more I write and the more I get confident in my style/methods, the less slumpy I feel? Which is really good. 0_0 And I also think the reward of having the finished doc is AMAZING and that's really what keeps me motivated. *nods*

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    1. My #1 piece of advice for people is always to stay on topic which sounds mean but like...you have to be able to finish things? *shrugs*

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  13. That sounds like me every day, all the time. I think the only time writing looks truly appealing to me is in those few moments right before I fall asleep. In that time, I'll sometimes catch a clear, vivid image of one of my characters, their world, or their emotions and I'll believe that my story will change the world.
    You described beautifully the rest of the time.
    I'm glad you don't beat yourself up so much anymore about not writing or meeting every goal.
    Perhaps the best way to move one through most of writing is to close your eyes and remember the beautiful, vivid dream you're trying to capture in words.
    Because that dream needs to be written.

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  14. I deal with writing slumps by ABSOLUTELY FREAKING OUT BECAUSE WHERE THE FREAK IS MY FREAKING OUTLINE!?!?!?! I then write as long as I can without screaming because I would SO MUCH RATHER read my story than write it. *transforms into a cat* *hisses at WIP* *hides in hole*

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  15. Haha writing slumps? What writing slumps? *Shoves evidence of obsessive Pinterest crafting and Netflix watching behind curtain*

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    1. *shoves Pinterest in general behind curtain*

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  16. But seriously, don't let it beat you. You're awesome, you can do it!

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  17. It's so awesome that you're willing to vent these frustrations and share with the rest of us that no, writing is not easy, not for anyone, and sometimes you just don't want to do it. Simple as that.
    I definitely experience that a lot and I always feel guilty about it. Everyone else seems so excited about their entire writing process but about 95% of the time I just want to do something, literally anything, else. Thanks for reminding me that I'm not the only one stumbling through the writing process.
    Good luck and keep your chin up!

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    1. Heh, this is pretty much the best way I have to lowkey whine about my writing struggles. Oh well.

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  18. Yes, indeed. It actually kind of gets on my nerves when the only thing people talk about is how great writing is and that it's magical and almost a spiritual experience for them because for me that is not what it is like at all. Like you said, it's hard. Sometimes it is a chore. And that is fine, but acting like it isn't only makes it that much harder and the reward that much less valuable.

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    1. Writing has so many benefits and high points, but I think it's way more important to talk about the low points and the fact that ost of the time, it's difficult and it sucks.

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  19. This. yes. thank you. *places stamp of approval*

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  20. A. MEN.

    I mostly deal with writing schlumps by listening to my favorite, most inspiring music, but I've also gotten in the habit of saving fascinating quotes/photos/inspiring posts in a secret Pinterest board for when I need them. And that always gets me through. ^.^

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    1. Ooh that's a good idea! Pinterest is a lifesaver for me sometimes.

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  21. Thanks so much for writing this! I see too many Tweets and posts about how "I'm passionately in love with my novel/character/scene/etc" and "I write every day because if I don't I'll DIE!" Social media can make it really easy to feel like you're the only writer who's not on fire 24/7.

    And yeah, some days we're going to feel like that, but a lot of days we're not, and I think it's good to own up to those not-brilliantly-inspired days and think about how to deal with them.

    Right now I'm dealing with slumps by refusing to break my #WriteChain. Even if it's just 100 really crappy words, at least I wrote something. I've got a few random side-stories that are unlikely to ever go anywhere because they're mostly plotless, but when I can't take my WIP and its problems, I go and hang out with those stories instead. It's not progress on the novel, but it's still writing practice.

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  22. This was such a great read. Thank you for being honest and objective and blunt about it. I know working with the 750 Words site has helped. I also do "chase plot bunnies" for a limited time so that I can feel the inspiration! And then I don't get distracted by them again. I find working on several projects also helps me out.

    But at the end of the day, I try really hard just to keep typing words. Good, bad or indifferent, just keep moving forward.

    Thanks again!

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    1. ALSO!! that is a fabulous movie -- I love those two Sherlock movies! Sass, explosions, friendships, personalities, bad choices... GREAT movies.

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