Don’t Lose Yourself in Writing

Don’t Lose Yourself in Writing

December 26, 2017 Writing Advice 2

Hello Lovely Writers,

As the holidays and year end tackle us in full force, I am reminded of something very important. I spend so much time planning, scheduling, writing, editing, and working on book-related tasks that sometimes I forget why I love what I do. Sometimes I forget that I am Heidi Angell, not Heidi the writer, Heidi the Storyteller, I am not my story.

I have already seen some of you out there doing the same. You are lamenting not hitting your word count goals. You are crying that you absolutely hate your characters. Some want to scrap your work and just start over. 

Suddenly so many of my writer friends are saying things like “This is horrible, I suck, I can’t DO this! What ever made me think I wanted to be a writer?”

Kick those negative thoughts to the curb! Take a deep cleansing breath. Take a moment to remember why you love this, why you wanted to do this.  

Even though I am stressed, even though I am scrambling, even though I have this horrible fear that I am going to totally flop on my face and fail, I am also exhilarated by the people rallying around me to help, I am thrilled as I read through the work I am fixing and go “Hot damn, that’s actually pretty good writing!” 

 Writing is an adventure, publishing is an epic adventure. And the key part of adventure is that we have to open ourselves up to danger. We have to struggle, we have to fight. Unfortunately, we don’t live in the fantasy realm, and it isn’t guaranteed that if you just stay true to the path, you will eventually make it.

But if you don’t stay true, then you can never make it, right?

So, here’s to the madness that is this profession of writing. Here’s to the chaos, the stress, the tears, the hair pulling, the deep depression, the highs, the exhilaration, and the hope.

Remember, no matter how you feel about your current WIP, don’t let those negative thoughts reflect on how you feel about yourself. You are not your writing project. You are you, and  from me to you:

If you are feeling overwhelmed, take a step back. Remind yourselves what it was that inspired you to write this story. Share your favorite bit you’ve done on your project so far with your fellow Our Write Siders in the comments below.

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

Heidi Angell is a bibliophile, lexicomaniac, and wordsmith. When she isn’t writing or reading, she enjoys helping fellow authors on their writing adventures. Learn more at www.heidiangell.com

 

2 Responses

  1. Heidi Angell says:

    In the spirit of sharing, here’s what I’ve been working on:

    It’s strange what you don’t notice about the places you go every day. I had been in this hotel room going on four days, but couldn’t tell you anything about the bathroom except that there was a toilet, a decent-sized garden tub, and a sink with a wall of mirror behind it that had good enough lighting to shave.
    I flipped the light switch on, scanning the small room frantically. There were no windows, and the two vents were too small to fit more than an arm through. Being trapped in here would be worse than being trapped in the room. I spun out of the bathroom, and froze as a giant crack echoed through the small room. Two days ago, I would not have considered this a small space. I thought it was quite palatial when I rented it for the event. I had wanted a space that would impress a female guest.
    Now, it was closing in on me fast. I circled around the bed, past the couch and hesitated in front of the TV at the foot of the bed when another loud crack echoed from the door. I thought the doors were reinforced steel and marveled that I could see gaps of light coming through the door. The gaps expanding with each crunch of the mob outside. If they’d made that much progress in ten minutes, I didn’t have much longer before they got in.
    I needed a weapon! The closest potential weapon was a standing lamp next to the mini-fridge. Grabbing for it, I thanked God that it wasn’t attached to the floor. Still, the thing was awkward. I figured the weighted base was my best defense, most certainly heavy enough to bludgeon someone.
    I took a step back and tested a swing. It was heavy and unwieldy. Another large crack from the door had me stumbling backward. Scanning the room, there were no better weapons. The bedside lamp next to the clock was too small, the TV too large. No, this behemoth was my only defense.
    Staring transfixed, I flinched with each slam of the door. Every time the crack of the hinges giving echoed through the room, I involuntarily took a step back.
    I found my back pressed against the balcony window. The interminable waiting was killing me. Staring avidly, I realized that the top hinge was almost completely ripped from the wall, the middle hinge was only holding by a thread. I could see arms and shoulders forcing through, scrabbling for purchase, for a way to force the gap wider even as others continued to crash against it, opening that dismal gap more now with each thrust. I had no idea what I would do once they got through. It couldn’t be long. Glancing at the clock I was shocked to see 2:30 am flashing at me. The assault had been going on for at least 30 minutes. Where were the cops? As another crack echoed, I readied myself. I doubted that they would come at me one at a time like they did in the old Kung-fu movies.
    The lock on the door seemed to be holding. Perhaps that would slow them down? Maybe I should be closer to the door, so I could take them out as they forced their way through. My brain screamed at me to move the dresser to block the doorway and slow their approach, while another part demanded that I go nowhere near the mass of tangled body parts trying to squeeze and pull themselves through the door. Terror gripped me almost as hard as I gripped the lamp in frozen knuckles locked white and straining with the tension.
    A quick rap on the glass behind me caused my heart to explode. I whipped about in terror, and the lamp slammed into the wall. The reverberation caused me to drop it. I may, or may not, have let loose a very loud and very unmanly scream.

  2. Great advice, Heidi.

    My fiction WIP makes me very sad, and my non-fiction WIP makes me really angry, so I have to regularly take time out from both of them. The good news is that I think those emotions are signs that I am doing them right because it’s not self-criticism, but the content, that’s eliciting my emotion. So I’ll just have to be patient, allow myself to step back, and let them evolve in their own time.

    Thank you for posting.

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