Monday, April 13, 2015

I Hate Writing (Said Someone Else)

by Rich, lover of all things writing

In the world of romantic partnerships, there has never been one more fragile than that between an author and their writing. The emotional swings between the joy and pure hatred of their work make Taylor Swift swoon in giddy horror at the amount of break-up songs she would need to write. These emotional flips can take place at any moment in the writing process. An author can be humming along one minute, elated at the creation of a new universe, and hold their laptop out the window the next minute in an attempt to scare it into producing better material.

I’ve seen this in person, and not just in the bathroom mirror. I recently talked down an author – name withheld to prevent a tire slashing – who went on a rant about their writing and how they didn’t need to have anyone review it because they knew they wrote good-like. I knew this author had issues coming up with new material, particularly on a deadline. Combined with other pressures, the author could barely open a Word document without retching.

Many of you are in the same boat right now, mentally chastising me for coming up with the idea for this column. To you, and the other authors who are on a trial separation with their writing, here is some advice to consider once your blood pressure recedes.

Take a step back: Like you do in situations where amped-up emotions lead to possible confrontations it’s best to take a step away from your pad, laptop, or Smith-Corona typewriter when you feel anger start to simmer. You can’t make a logical decision when your mind is full of malice and you have an urge to break all of your pens.

Change the environment: Many of us work in environments that lack natural light, fresh air, and adequate sources of caffeine. Hours spent in these locations without human contact can turn the most joyful person into a candidate for the patron saint of crankiness. Before succumbing to the Dark Side, get out as fast as you can, even if it’s a short walk or bike ride to the neighborhood park or coffee ship.

Socialize, darn it: It’s human nature to make personal contact with others, be it a friend or writing colleague. This type of socialization helps lighten moods, clears the cranial cobwebs, fortifies you with wine, and, if there are cameras around, sets up an episode for a reality series titled Angry Writers Gone Good. By the way, making this connection via social media or instant messaging does not count.

Heed this advice and you may have a chance reconciling with your writing. Oh, new batteries for the mouse and cleaning your computer screen help as well.

What advice do you have for authors who hate their writing?

Podcast Alert: Mark Leslie, the Director of Writing Life at Kobo, is interviewed on the NCW Podcast today. Listen at the Northern Colorado Website, iTunes, PodOmatic, or the PodOmatic app for Android and Apple.


JC Lynne said...

Must be something in the air.....see Wednesday's post. :P

Patricia Stoltey said...

This too shall pass. I'm in a "I love writing" phase at the moment, but it never lasts forever. I just need to write fast before it all blows away.

April Moore said...

I suggest getting away from it and try writing something else to get the writing mojo flowing again. Coming back with a clearer mind and fresh insight can make all the difference--and it's much better than throwing the laptop across the room.

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