Excuse me while I don’t sneeze – my dental surgeon gave me strict instructions not to sneeze, or blow my nose over the next week. Yesterday I had a tooth extracted, and those were the instructions I was left with, along with some pain medication which doesn’t appear to be very useful, some salt water to gargle with, and one big ache. Being semi-lucid, I figure I’ll just type up this Insecure Writer’s Support Group post, anyways.
Not sneezing is particularly hard here in Australia during the high allergy season, I’m telling you. But for the physical blehs – I know that time, an ice-pack strapped to my cheek, and lots of gargling will make all the difference. If only it were that easy for a case of the writing blehs.
Rachel Harrie posted a blog on Monday – How do you deal with a case of the bleh?
It’s one of those topics – a meme that is guaranteed to be on someone’s blog during every week in our writing world.
Here she is –
I’ve been struck down with a bad case of the Bleh over the last few weeks. You all know the symptoms I’m sure: general lethargy, inability to write much, the beloved manuscript you’ve worked on for months (years?) looks like it has a bad case of Spotty Needsmorerevision-itis and you simply don’t know where to start, shiny new ideas start creeping around the house and whispering to you that you should drop everything and work on them, emails get backed up because you haven’t responded, you’re behind on visiting all the places your friends hang out on the interweb, etc etc etc.
Rach then asks how we all deal with a case of the blehs. Hmmm?
I’m not so sure, because I’m currently stuck in one myself, and it pretty much meets all the criteria Rach lists above. And it’s been weeks – weeks that I initially used all my biggest Arnie-the-Scape-Alpaca excuses to feed – I was trying to write over the school summer holidays, it was after Christmas, I intended not doing much anyway, I would get back into it properly when…blah blah bleh.
These are the things I’ve tried to self-medicate my way through the bless –
I’m trying to recreate the enthusiasm for my work in progress by thinking around it – literally – producing serial ideas for more stories using the same characters. However, sexy new ideas don’t make something I’ve lived with for months look that appealing anymore. Bad marriage? Maybe. Bad writer – definately, I’ve abandoned my toddler for a new baby.
I’m trying to get into the story more by researching more aspects of the psychology necessary with several characters – that adds depth to the story. I should have been a research assistant in another life, however. All research, lovely. Writing, not so good.
I’m trying to remind myself that successful writers ‘just write’. And that they write through the blehs. It’s all about discipline – that’s what a thousand writer’s blogs continuously preach about. Well – discipline, marketing, promotion, publishing, submitting, building a social media presence, oh – and writing too. discipline – one of those monkeys on my back.
I’m trying to plan in the discipline with deadlines, goals (aka ROW80 checkins etc) and targets for other work. I’m an over-planner, but until I began being a writer, I’d not struck the fact that I’m good at planning, just not so hot at follow-through. Now that’s pretty obvious and made public by this blog. *Sigh*
Where to from now?
I believe each of us goes through these stages of falling out of love with our works in progress. That doesn’t make it any easier to work through, but I’m seeing it as a learning curve. Previously I wrote novels in one month – that kitchen-sink approach left no time to get all bleh-bleh.
I’m sure others can provide some advice on how they get through such periods of living in blehdom, but deep down, this is a personal battle. And I’m going to win it, I Promise – as a minimum – before I have to go back to have the hole in my jaw looked at. And can blow my nose again.
You can find more insecure writers here.