Life in Writing
Every author has a moment where they just don’t like anything they’ve written. After hours of work they come up with a whole lot of words that don’t flow, and don’t fit the story. In the end, everything they’d just worked to create gets deleted. This is what I call the “I suck” phase of writing. It’s the worst part of writing, and unfortunately, it’s a pretty big chunk of what writing is. On the plus side, the pay-off of finishing that novel is worth every second of the “I suck” phase, but you have to make it through first. So when the time comes that you just don’t like your writing, here are a few things to think about before you start telling yourself that you suck.
1. You May Just be in a Rut
Writing requires inspiration, and that can be hard to get when you’re stuck in a routine. The good news about being in a rut is that it means your writing isn’t bad. It just needs you need to try something new. It can be something small, or large. You can try something as small as doing laundry on Tuesday instead of Saturday, or you can go try skydiving for the first time. Whether it’s big or little, a change in your routine can be an easy step to get you out of the “I suck” phase of your writing.
2. First Drafts are Never Perfect
Nobody gets it right on their first try, not even best sellers. It’s totally fine if your first draft isn’t exactly what you want. It’s even totally fine if it’s not good at all. You can always go back and change it later. In the end, the final draft is all that really matters. Remembering that the draft you’re writing won’t be the end is a great way to keep yourself motivated during the “I suck” phase of your writing.
3. Your Writing May Not Actually be Bad
We are our own worst critics. As authors we can get so saturated with writing that all we can see are the flaws in our creations. Sometimes we even see flaws that aren’t there. If you keep feeling like your writing isn’t working, you may need to just set it aside for a while and read it again when you’re in a better frame of mind. Another easy alternative is to get somebody you trust to read through it and get their opinion on the story. What you thought was awful, they might think is great. A little time and some fresh eyes can go a long way in getting you through the “I suck” phase of your writing.
If you found this advice helpful, check out a few of these other writing tips:
Learning from a Master
Flash Fiction: Why you Should be Writing it
4 Types of POV and How to Use Them
4 Things to Consider When Writing a Book Blurb
Daniel M. Quilter is the author of A Soul Divided. On this blog he'll interview other authors, review books, share nerd wisdom from popular sci-fi and fantasy, and occasionally share his insights on writing. See a list of his works or see what he's working on.
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