How To Survive Alternating Between Hope & Despair When Writing… #Writing #Writers

#writer #amwriting

I heard the phrase, ‘alternating between hope and despair when writing,’ on one of my favourite podcasts, The Honest Authors, and I knew it would make a great blog post.

This phrase sums up a writer’s life perfectly because basically it is what we do best, other than write of course. One day reading our draft novel fills us with hope, goodness and warm tingling feelings. The next day the mere sight of that same draft leaves us with feelings of dread, hate and despair.

My feelings for my current draft change a lot… sometimes hourly. I flick from ‘loved up about my draft’ to ‘this draft is dead to me.’

I keep threatening to put up a calendar and smiley / sad face stickers to show writer mood variations over the course of a project. Would like to see which draft causes me to alternate between hope and despair more.

How does this happen? Why do our feelings for our literary offspring change so much?

I guess it is because writing is hard and requires a LOT of practice.

We are probably guilty of chasing a moving and unobtainable object called writing perfection.

Most of us have busy lives and things like exhaustion and stress have a part to play in disturbing our feelings too.

We get impatient with our progress.

So, how does one survive these fast changing emotions?

  • Self care is essential. Be kind to yourself because the pendulum of these strong emotions will take their toll on you.
  • Accept this emotional chaos is what you signed up for when you became a writer. It is in the Writer Job Description – must be able to swing from positive thoughts to negative thoughts over a project in a few hours. 
  • Feelings change and are temporary. The negative ones do eventually pass.
  • Focus on finishing the project and put all other thoughts aside.
  • Don’t expect any sympathy from loved ones. I think its best not to have expectations on this. The loved ones who don’t write themselves struggle to understand you and they will raise an unhelpful eyebrow at you in the depths of despair face down on the sofa…three hours on from dancing around the living room, shouting, ‘future bestselling author!’
  • Jump on Twitter and you will see that millions of other writers around the world are in the same boat; alternating between hope and despair with their writing.
  • Try to keep writing no matter what emotional state you are in. This is the one which I am curently having some success with. It takes a long time to master but in a sense you are moving all your emotions to one side, thanking them for showing up to support you and getting back to the task in hand. Writing when you have negative thoughts is actually quite therapeutic. I find that after about 250 words the negative thoughts subside and I am into calmer waters.

Just keep writing folks x

Check out the Honest Authors Podcast with Holly Seddon and Gillian McAllister. It is such a treat!

Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash

On Thursday I am supporting the publication day of this book on my blog 🙂

Coming Home to Ottercombe Bay

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I am a blonde writer of romantic comedy fiction.

16 thoughts on “How To Survive Alternating Between Hope & Despair When Writing… #Writing #Writers

  1. I am hardly ever able to write through all my emotions, once I get on an emotional train I get lost. That’s an area I need to try and work on. Thanks for the post!

  2. Great post! The swing of emotions is so relatable, and I find the best way to get through them is to just keep writing through the down swings. This April when I did Camp NaNo, I got very proud of my story at the end. I made sure to write down everything I was feeling so the next time I’m feeling down I can remember that it’s only temporary. Also, I’ll have to listen to that podcast now! I’m always looking for new ones.

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