What Happens When You Hate Your Writing?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
I'm gearing up for Write Across Nebraska, the Nebraska Writer's Guild version of NaNoWriMo that lasts one weekend in July. Typically, I write around 1,000 words a day, but during this event, I want to try to get at least 2,500 words (realistically, I'm aiming for 5,000) in finished product form.

The problem: Lately, I hate what I've been writing. It's not bad writing. It's just not. . . it just doesn't. . . ok, I hate it.

I went through a similar experience about fifteen years ago when I taught Creative Writing to a group of high school students. I could write a poem on demand, revise throughout the day, and present a final draft the next day in class. Some times, the writing was good and revision made it sing. Several of those pieces were accepted by anthologies and some of the first online poetry zines. But eventually, I found myself regurgitating poems and stories that all whispered the same message. And that message said: This writing stinks!

After six months of writing nothing but junk - and bitchslapping myself back to reality with the knowledge that every piece isn't going to be a masterpiece - I rediscovered my writing groove.

Now, if I've learned anything about writing since I first began (gosh, that was a long time ago), I know that it's normal not to like what translates from mind to hand to paper, because sometimes, those words that are composed on the page simply aren't good.

And that's ok.

I also know that some times, you just need to write and write and write and get all that unnecessary storytelling out of the way and eventually, you'll get to a place where you are once again comfortable and pleased with your writing output.

Hopefully, I'm getting the rubbish out of my system and by July 12, I will be able to narrow in on the story that's bumping around my brain.

And most important, I will be satisfied with what I write.

What strategies do you use to get over "hating" what you write?

by LuAnn Schindler


Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Sioux Roslawski said...

LuAnn--Sometimes I let it sit for a while and don't write. Sometimes I switch to a different piece of writing--revise it perhaps, if it's a piece I like but needs revision--and that might help. Sometimes just "bulling it through" (which I read in a book about Julia Child, and she used that term)--just shoving along (like you suggested)helps and eventually, something decent inevitably DOES emerge.

SE Hudnall said...

I end up using a variety of methods. Sometimes the first one I chose will work and sometimes it takes a combination.

1. Put the work aside for just a bit. Things may look more workable later in the day or the week.
2. Work on something else or do something entirely different like get out of the house!
3. Archive it. Bury it deep. Dig it up months later and look at it. Is it salvageable? Where is it decent? Where does suck? Pitch it or use it.
4. If it's poetry, handwrite it and put it in an album. My grandchildren may be amused by it one day.
5. Wad it into a very small ball, attach a piece of string. Instant cat toy!
6. Patch that hole in your writing hovel letting in the cold north wind.
7. Stuff it into a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Roast marshmallows or make s'mores.
8. Bury it deep in the backyard and toast it farewell with the beverage of your choice. I prefer bourbon.
9. Ask a friend to look at it. If they groan at the same places you do, see alternatives 4 – 8. If they don’t, love them even though they are blind----and look at another alternative.
10. Accept that I am not perfect and take joy in the fact; everyday I can do something I love----write.

Margo Dill said...

Sometimes, I have a glass of wine. That makes all writing better. :) No seriously, this is a great post, adn sometimes, I feel like there is no use in me pursuing this career any longer because I can't write. I have dumb ideas. I can't think of anything as brilliant as writer A, B, and C. I guess I kind of do what Sioux said. I just bully through it and see what my critique group thinks.

Mardra said...

Oh yeah. yeah...yeah...yeah...

But also - What is his Write Across Nebraska? I'm checking that our Right NOW.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Well, yes. This. This is that universal writer secret, whispered about in critique groups, conferences, back rooms in bars. :-)

Sometimes, the writing just stinks. I don't delete it ('cause you never know if there's just a teeny tiny spark of something good in it) but I kinda bury it, deep in the belly of my laptop.

Then I wait for the good stuff to return. Sometimes, that can be a rather lo-o-o-o-ong wait. Umbrella drinks are called for. :-)

Unknown said...

Oh this was unfortunately timely for me. I've been in a real "yuk" place with my writing and ideas. I've tried not to let it get me down, continue to feed the creativity and just keep writing. I've been calling it my summer slump and am trusting it's temporary. Glad to know I'm not alone!

LuAnn Schindler said...

Julie - I met with my writing partner last week and we both decided we were going to work our way out of the slumps we've been in. I've felt better about what I've been writing the last couple of days....maybe I just needed a break. :)

Mardra - Write Across Nebraska is a weekend of writing, sponsored by the Nebraska Writers Guild - nebraskawriters.org.

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top