Hi again , Leelans!
Today Warden posted another “Friday is for writers” post on her Facebook Page , this time she talked about how mood swings affect her writing , how her strength is male characters , and female characters being her weakness , as are writing the endings for her books.
Wardens makes it very clear ,that to be a good writer , you need to know your strength and weakness. So that you can work on getting better.
She also talks about how important it is to take some time off, to focus on ones mental health.
“Friday is for Writers
Mood Rings and Other Sh*t
One of the things I’ve found to be true- and I do not like this slice of reality- is that my mood effects my opinion of my work. Not so much when I’m drafting. When I’m laying new tracks on the page, that’s one kind of zone. It goes fast or slow, feels rough or smooth, and I suppose my mood can effect the speed of things. But for me, how I’m feeling can intrude on my workspace when I’m editing. On a day when I’m feeling focused and positive, I can cook right a long and see the good in things. When I’m feeling exhausted and overwhelmed, the filter through which I assess my work can go fun house on me in a bad way. Everything becomes sh*t.
I’m wondering if the same isn’t true for you all. I firmly believe that writers need to have a very honest and unsentimental catalogue of their strengths and weaknesses. Strengths: I do male voices very well. I’m pretty good at action. I’m good at description and I’ve got a knack for line by line construction. Weaknesses: I suck at endings. I rush them, usually because I’m so relieved to have made it to the end in one piece (LOVER UNBOUND is a prime example of this. THE CHOSEN is a book where I consciously tried to take more time.) I still need to work on my female people (Marissa in LOVER REVEALED, although she’s gotten better.) I can grow more there. Sometimes, my voice gets in the way of the reader. It’s too much quippy sh*t that can be distracts. (Logos, over use of slang, ‘d at the ends of made up words, the fact that I insist on putting a ? at the end of a question in dialogue if, when the person said it in my head, they make it like a statement, with no inflection.) I take for granted that my readers will remember things that they shouldn’t have to. (Every book.) As hard as my research assistant and I work at continuity within the series, and as much as we scrub the books, we still miss things from time to time. (Every book.) Nothing I ever write meets the standard in my head. (Every book.) I get sidetracked by the world building because I’m so fascinated by it that I can short change the romance. (But I’ve identified this as a problem, and I’m getting back to basics, eg., THE SAVIOR.) I flood the books with too many people because I’m fascinated by them. I leave open, unresolved storylines…
The list goes on and on.
Anywho, you need to be clear with yourself about what you’re good and bad at. Don’t rely on others to give you this opinion. Read your stuff and make your own decision about its value, and for godsakes, don’t be blinded by the effort it takes to write something, even if you love it, even if your fingers bled on the keyboard. Bottom line, no one cares about how hard it was for you (unless they are your personal friends and family,) and you shouldn’t, either. People read for an escape and they read to be entertained. That you worked your butt off is something you should take personal pride in, but you shouldn’t expect your readers to care about it, and you shouldn’t use that as a shield against the crap that’s on the page. (We all write crap. We also all write brilliant stuff. The key is to know the difference, and fix the latter.)
And this is where the mood problem comes in.
The tricky part, as we sift through what we’ve put on the page, is to be objective while we edit, revise, and refine. But on a bad day, I can decide everything is crap, and bad days can have nothing to do with the writing (kid is sick, dog is sick, husband worried about something, money worries, toothache.) I can remember struggling with being exhausted and overwhelmed, and I talked to Sue about how I was feeling (Sue Grafton, my mentor.) Sue was great for kicking me in the can and getting me over myself. She said, when you’re thinking everything is sh*t, take a break, clear your head, come back at it. And then trust that you have a sufficiently objective sense of what you’re doing so that you can judge accurately even when you’re not feeling kind about your words.
Trust your process. And try the following.
Step one: Identify that you’re in a bad head space. Step two: Label it as such. Step three: Mental health break. Step four: Reframe your frustration, disappointment, whatever, with your words as something that is temporary. At least some part of it is mood, I guarantee this. Step five: Gently come back to the work. Step six: Know that the mood with shift, and you will probably feel better the next time you work. Don’t get caught up in it.
Rinse and repeat.
Writing is so hard. I don’t care whether it’s the career you make money from or something you do for self expression or a lark you’re just trying out. It requires long hours alone, dedication to an end product that could suck, and the ability to tolerate bucket loads of self doubt. Sometimes, I don’t know why I keep doing it. I know you’ve felt the same. At the end of the day, however, we just have to. Writers write. It’s how we’re hardwired.
I hope this is not too dour a post. My mantras to share with you are the same: Believe, believe, believe. And: Magic happens. We are the same, us lot. We are all in this big pool of letters, putting together that which gives us buoyancy, the stories in our head.
Sending love and hugs from the front lines, J.R. “
These 6 steps to write is absolutely motivational.
Cause nothing is more frustrating than life, interrupting your second world. And since it is your brain who has to be functioning to get your second world down to the paper , you have to treat it as a machine , and machines do break , and when they do , you have to just change the broken parts . Maybe change the oil , some filters , and you`re good to go!
As Warden says : “Writers write. It’s how we’re hardwired.”
Until next time,