Today’s Writing Life post topic is courtesy my friend Rei. HI, REI!
We all get there. We get to that point, especially during the revision process, where we look over our manuscript and think “What the hell is this?” We sigh and put it down, and some of us don’t come back to it for months. We feel weighed down, helpless, listless… We don’t know what to change and we don’t know what to keep, because, let’s face it, it’s all freaking terrible and we never want to look at it again.
You’re just overwhelmed! I’ve made the mistake of deleting and destroying every copy of a manuscript I have in my possession, and, believe me, the regret is twice as overwhelming as the listlessness. You try to rewrite and recapture all that you loved about the story, but it’s just gone. It’s not the same. The characters have moved on to other stories and mystical events that only imaginary people can take part in. (Those characters may want to revisit the story with you about five years later, I should note. Frost Moon punched me in the face again about six months ago, as if my main character was saying “You couldn’t do it right the first time, so let’s try this again. Now pay attention.”)
Your story does not suck. You fell in love with the journey and the characters for a reason. You just need to recapture that reason. What about the story struck you to begin with? What songs remind you of your characters? Take a walk. Enjoy a few deep breaths. Think about your characters the way you did when they started begging for their story to be penned. Don’t touch you manuscript for a few days to a week, and let the romance with your story rekindle itself.
You do not suck. Everyone needs a breather now and then. That does not make you less of a writer or less of a person. Even the strongest people need a few minutes now and again to just breathe. You are a writer. You are a story teller. The stories inside you won’t die while you’re taking a vacation. I promise, in this case, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and before long, your characters will be screaming to get out again. Just breathe.
Why the eff are you bothering? Because you love what you do. Because you’re filled with more than just the base need to exist. Your purpose is to pen a story that people will fall in love with, that they’ll learn from, that will change them. You create souls from nothing and put them on a page, parts of yourself, and you let people share in that with you.
Why are you bothering? Because what you do is important. It’s important to you, and it’s important to someone else out there, maybe hundreds of someones. Thousands. People who need a story to relate to.
Don’t sell yourself short, and always remember to breathe.
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