When Your Story Really, Really Sucks7:00 AM
It happens to the best of us. And the worst of us. And the in-between of us. And everyone else, really.
Making art is a dangerous thing. Writing a story is a risk.
The troublesome thing about stories is that stories are universal, stories are representations of truth and human nature and emotions, and we're just one-dimensional humans with our feet on the ground and a head full of other ideas and so, when the two things meet up, and that story has to come through even the most capable of human hands, it's going to come out mangled the first time. Or the first twenty times. Or the first one hundred times. We distort them; we take our ideas and our opinions and our emotions and the lines blur so quickly that what comes out is just a mess with not much resemblance to the lovely thing in our heads.
This is kind of just true. It happens to everyone, and we all love to complain about it. We've all been there.
Sometimes, your story just sucks. Or it feels that way, at least.
It's horrible. It's badly-written.
The characters aren't who they're supposed to be.
The plot doesn't move as quickly as it should.
Nothing works right and dangit, you don't know why, you just know that something isn't coming through during the translation from head to fingers.
It's an endless cycle and unfortunately, it's kind of the writer's curse. From what I can tell it doesn't go away.
But we can definitely fight the feeling. this is really just a note to me because i'm the worst at it.
So, lovely dear insecure writer whose story really sucks,
Take a deep breath.
And another one.
Close out the document.
Shut your computer, or close your notebook, or whatever else you're using, just turn it off.
Breathe again. Inhale, exhale, you know the drill. Slowly. Feel the air fill your lungs and come back out again. Take a second to be alive.
Go get a drink of water. Two, maybe. You need to keep hydrated.
Take a shower. Wash off the icky feelings.
Binge-watch a show. Binge-read a book. Turn on the music super-duper loud, as loud as you want. Drown yourself in something that makes you laugh, or inspires you, or tugs at your heart. Invest in someone else's story for a while.
You are not your story.
Your story is not its finished self. It's not polished. It's not complete. It hasn't reached its full potential, and you haven't hit the end. Frustration doesn't last forever.
Go to bed. Sleep is good for your brain.
Sit at the desk.
Open up the document.
Keep at it.
We call it a work-in-progress for a reason; and you have to work pretty hard to make progress at all. It won't be immediate. Maybe your story isn't in its best form right now.
But you're never stuck for good, and it's never hopeless.
Breathe, and remember why you're writing it.
Why you love it.
Why it's worth it.
And, even when you feel like it sucks, like it can't possibly be redeemed, like you're the worst, keep at it.
It's gonna be okay. I promise.