{February 25, 2012}   A Writer’s Mood Swings

“I’m never going to finish this book! There are too many things I don’t know about and I can’t find the answers. My characters are one-dimensional. It was a stupid, stupid idea!”

The next day, read the novel: “This is pretty good. I like these characters. I can see what drives them and their conflict.  All I have to do is figure out a few things and write them into the story.”

The next several days: put off writing by doing all kinds of tasks to reorganize book. Do research on the Internet, rewrite half-assed outline, come up with yet another writing/revision schedule, import document into a software program so I can move scenes around, print out what I’ve written because I decide I want to read it on paper and jot notes. In other words, deluding myself to think I’m writing my book when there is actually no writing involved.

Several more days: procrastinate by working on unappealing tasks–even taxes–to avoid tackling problems in my book.

Get bummed out because I’ve been working on this book for what seems like forever and see no end in sight. Why did I become a writer anyway? Why do I seek out impersonal rejection on a regular basis by people (agents and editors) who I’ve never met?

Find a note from a reader who says they couldn’t put down one of my books and stayed up all night. Remember that I’ve loved writing since sixth grade and took on that role in every job I’ve had. Recall authors speaking at conferences who’ve felt the same way I do in this isolating field. Look at how much I’ve written so far instead of what’s left to go. Remember the way I’ve finished previous books is to get on a routine and have a clear deadline ahead.

Get over the self-doubting, suck it up, and bring my netbook to a cafe without Wifi. I have to resist the frequent temptation of looking something up on the Internet and straying off track. Write a few good pages and get excited about the book again.

Repeat all of the above multiple times.

Does any of this sound familiar to you?


Lisa, I’ve been there, until I founf Writing_GIAM 100×100. It sets your goal 100 words per day for 100 days. Research and editiing do count but you post everyday word count or time spent editing or on research. I am proud to say after numerous tries at the beginning I am now almost to the end of a full year of not missing a single day. I worked through my husband’s death and the memorial service all of that with the writing. Now I am dealing with moving. I moved Saturday sat down with only ten minutes until midnight to write 100 words. I ended with 130 new words. These words may not make the final draft but for now they are there. Today will be day 345. I find I do best late at night. I plan to start next week or the one after working out a routine. I want to get up and walk to the end of my street and back every day. Then come home shower and dress, sit down at the computer and write. I don’t know if will work or not. Today I’m procrastinating with dealing with more boxes. I have to have the hose to the washer checked, it is leaking at the faucet, and this afternoon I pick up my two great nieces from school. But when I get home after ten tonight I can sit down here and write. I no longer have to be bugged by my sister wanting my attention or needing a drink and having to go downstairs to get it. Now I sit here and can focus. The count last night after plumbing fun with over flowing toilet and mopping all the water up with microfiber cloths-didn’t have a mop yet. I found it was 11:35 when I sat down in front of the computer. I wrote 200 words in no time. I had paused at 52 thinking ugh I need 48 more darn it. When I checked again I had 176. I was shooting for four more and stopped at 200 even lol. I like ending on zero or five that is my thing for some reason it seems even. If it is less than zero or five I work to get there, I have typed three or four useless (sort of) words like the other night I needed 4 words I typed “She shook her head.” There four words even word count-even in my mind. I’m hurting so bad from the shoving, pushing, pulling and lifting on Saturday I can barely move. I know movement will help but my hamstring says not. That;s why I figure another week or so of working around here before I tackle the walking. I really don’t want to use my husband’s walker- he never used it-to walk up and down the street. I don’t feel old enough at 60 to need it lol. Silly but it makes me think I’m old to think about using it. Congratulations on being published I haven’t made it that far yet. Maybe one day if I keep working at it. Now I need to get off the computer and get busy.

Jo Anne Pinney says:

I watch BBC a lot, and there’s a program on there called TV Book Club. One of the presenters once stated that (some high number – I don’t remember the exact figure – but it was like 80%) of successful writers are, or have been, clinically depressed at some point in their lives. Makes you wonder why some of us have a propensity to be writers…. You are not alone…. I find all sorts of excuses not to write…. Yeah, like commenting on blogs. 🙂 Happy Writing!

Thanks, ladies.
Kathy, I’m going to check out Writing_GIAM 100×100. It sounds like a program that will keep me on track instead of waiting for November to participate in NaNoWriMo – writing 50,000 words in one month!
Jo Anne, I’ll look for that program on BBC, too. It’s so strange — I’m super productive in work and daily life with tasks lists galore, but when it comes to writing, I procrastinate big time. Oh well, that’s one of the reasons I like writers’ conferences — knowing you are not alone.
Good luck with your writing!

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