Thursday, August 22, 2013

Scared of the Manuscript

Some days (like yesterday), I adore my manuscript-in-progress. I think about it all the time, I dream about it, I can scarcely pull myself away from the screen. On these days I'll write anywhere between 7,000 to 10,000 words, and it'll scarcely feel like work at all, so deeply am I invested in the story, the characters, the themes.

Other days (like today) I find myself utterly terrified to look at the thing.

Seriously, I've been so bad all day. Everything went so beautifully yesterday, I should have leapt out of bed this morning, rushed to the manuscript, and breezed through another several thousand words. Instead, I've been making excuses. The dog needs to go out. The cats need brushing. The dishes need washing. I should probably make the bed now. Don't I have some edits that need looking over? Surely there's something wonderful happening on twitter! The bathroom needs cleaning.

(I cleaned a bathroom rather than write. What is wrong with me?)

I even drove half an hour away to meet my husband for lunch--partly because I wanted to see his handsome face, but mostly (truth be told) because I wanted to escape the manuscript, which sits in my laptop, accusing me in silence.

Often these scared days come a day or two after an adoration day--something to do with the balance of nature, I would imagine. Actions and equal-and-opposite-reactions, etc.

There is no moral or message to this post, dear readers. It is simply an observation. Please (please!) tell me I am not the only one . . . .


Hannah said...

Oh, poor Anne! I'm sure you're not the only one! As I'm still struggling to daily work in my novel, I'm so impressed to hear you wrote 7,000 to 10,000 words! Incredible! I'm sure you're just worn out.

That happened to me after writing a bunch on one of my Cinderella stories. After spending all day on it, I was sure it was horrible by evening! But I was back to feeling good about it in the morning!

Listen to some inspirational music!

Clara said...

Oh, Anne Elisabeth! You aren't the only one! I have had days exactly like the one you just described in your post. Hannah is right- listen to inspirational music! I myself like to listen to Brian Crain. He does lovely piano favorites are "Song for Sienna", "A Walk in the Forest", "Butterfly Waltz", and "Song From Rome". For some reason those songs really get my creative juices flowing!

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

That is good advice, Hannah . . . I'm going to go pull up some pretty songs right now.

And I can hardly wait to read your Cinderella stories!

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

Oooh, thank you for the suggestions, Clara Darling! I'm going to go look those up. :)

Bookishqueen said...

I have that problem often. I end up not letting myself do anything else until I write another page, then I can take a ten min break and do another page.

Jenelle Leanne said...

I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one! (And I, too, am super impressed by your 7-10 thousand words in a single day achievements... that's an entire week of writing for me!)

Cleaning the bathroom instead of writing is pretty impressive... :)

I recommend Christmas music. I know it's odd... but seriously, instrumental Christmas music almost always helps break me out of that sort of non-writing funk. (That, or a good thunderstorm... but that's a bit harder to control... LOL!)

Anonymous said...

I know how you feel! Just be grateful that your blah-days seem to be a balance to the woot-days rather than the norm. My blah-days are the norm where writing is concerned, and I hate it! X-D

BTW, just finished Dragonwitch and am dealing with serious withdrawal (and not just from Eanrin). The next book can't come soon enough for me!

Carmel Elizabeth said...

You are definitely not alone - though I personally have never been one to sit down and write 7,000 words very often! ;)

I think it's healthy to have some off-days, so as to refresh yourself in what's going on around you, and to avoid getting your head too wrapped up in your own work. :) It also makes you appreciate the 7k-word days!

-Bree Holloway

Jenny Freitag said...

This is a timely post. I just had one such moment last night, due to a number of things, but also because I have had a few "good" days with my manuscript. I swiftly descended into pout-and-avoidance mode, and even had a little cry and half believed that my writing is complete rubbish and nothing will go right for me ever again. So no, you are absolutely not the only one who has "bad" days and runs from the manuscript. :)

S.F. Gorske said...

Definitely true! I think I'm actually having one of these moments right now...back to work? Or not?

But I also think it's okay to have an off-day once in a while--mainly because your books are just so good!

Meredith said...

Oh, goodness! Blah days are definitely nothing to be ashamed of. For me, its a perfect excuse to read someone else's writing, to immerse myself in someone else's world. I agree with the other commentors about music helping, too. I think it might be our brains needing a respite. They've had a good work out and need to rejuvenate. Since you've recently been sick, I imagine that might play a major part, too. Have a wonderful weekend and please take some more time to relax. God bless.

Jenn said...

Sometimes when I write a few thousand words in a day (especially my 5k+ days) I have to take a day or two off so that I can replenish my creative juices. :P

Unknown said...

You are definitely not alone, Anne Elisabeth. I started writing one of my Cinderella stories, feeling really good about it, and then I got stuck. I hated it. Wanted to give up and just cry. Turns out all I needed was to brainstorm about it with Hannah--who helped me so much--and then I felt good about it again. Actually, I felt better about the story than I had to begin with. Sometimes all you need is some encouragement from fellow writers to keep on going. :) Hope you're feeling better about the manuscript!

Molly said...

ugh. That's today for me. I should be working on my Cinderella story but I'm trying to avoid it with all sorts of excuses.

I write my stories on the computer, when I'm stuck, I haul out my notebook (That goes EVERYWHERE with me) and my special pen and I go outside and write.
It's kind of weird, but that helps me pull through until I clear the writer's block. (like today)

J. L. Mbewe said...

The consensus! You are not alone! :-D

I have days like that some not related to writing, some it is. I haven't quite figured out this emotional pendulum madness, but I think it has something to do with needing a break like Meredith said. You're pouring so much creativity out, you need to refill it up. Same thing, I think, in all areas of our lives whether it be parenting, marriage, other jobs, etc... unless...that's just me? I find my writer's journey has paralleled with my life's journey, growing in both areas at a time.

Well, my time is up! Going to go run in the sprinklers with the kiddos. Don't know why I thought I could get any writing done on the weekends. ;-)

Wishing you a great and restful rest of the weekend!