I am currently going through the ‘everything I write is s**t’ phase, and that includes stories I have had published. I mean, what would they know?
This phase leads to the ‘why am I even bothering’ stage, hand in hand with the ‘I am wasting my time’ phase. Sound familiar?
What sets this in motion? Procrastination? Reading something awesome and profound by a fellow writer that we know we will never emulate? The phases of the moon? Or just a general dip in our biorhythms; a funk? If I had the answer I could probably write a book on it.
So what to do?
For starters, get up and stop sulking. Next, move away from that computer and note book! Now, set yourself a task you know is achievable and /or short. Like doing the dishes, or going for a walk. Load the washing machine or read a chapter of your favourite book. Weed the path. Whatever it is finish it. Achievement!
Now, tell yourself you can write. You are a writer. I. CAN’T. HEAR. YOU. That’s better. You are one of a big wonderful group of writers who go through this same phase over and over again.
Self doubt is a kicker. It sneaks up on us when we least expect it and we let it in. And it wants to stay. Don’t let it. Kick it back. In fact, kick it out. It will come back, like the proverbial bad penny, but next time you will be prepared; you will shut the door in it’s face before it gets the whole foot in.
In a timely moment before I was ready to post this, I read Charlotte Wood’s article in The Australian, written after she was awarded the Stella Prize 2016 for her novel The Natural Way of Things. She writes of almost giving up because no one would want to read it. And why and how she didn’t give up. So glad she didn’t.
5 thoughts on “Everything I write is s**t”
I can relate to this. I was just reading ‘How to be Happy’ by Dave Burton, which was quite a revelation. It sort of put this whole writer’s self loathing in perspective for me. When it comes to clinical depression, which is what he deals with in his book, it seems that for some people that hugely critical voice is constant – it doesn’t just come and go like it does for writers like you or me. I haven’t found, for myself, that a stern talking really helps if I am really in the dumps. However, if I acknowledge to myself that I am in a vulnerable space and try to be gentle with myself (easier said than done!) it seems to quieten things down to an extent. And you’re right – focusing on something else can flick the switch back.
Perspective is what it is about but hard to achieve often. No, the stern talking to doesn’t always work but to focus on something else can help me dig my way back 🙂
Pauline, also, this little devil that sits on your shoulder telling you this, will clap it hands in glee and do a little dance when you give in/give up. Sometimes you just got to suck it up, tell yourself, OK, maybe it is sh*t, realise you don’t always feel like this and just keep writing.
So true, and sometimes, weeks on, we read over it and it isn’t so bad after all, a few tweeks and it’s good 🙂