I’ve been having a beastly time with the chapters I’m working on now. My characters are not speaking to me. That’s a writerly, romantic way of saying I’ve lost contact with them, I’m not seeing them.
I’ve hit that patch of despond every writer knows:
“I should give up writing.”
“I’m no good at this.”
When not writing (that is, wrestling), I’ve been compulsively reading a wonderful novel: The Lovers by Vendela Vida.
It’s a short, elegant, emotionally gripping story.
And word perfect—the sort of novel that makes any writer envious. In my present mood, I was flushed with a feeling of awe mixed with inadequacy, and so it was with relief that I read in the acknowledgement the author’s long list of readers who had helped the novel through “its early and inelegant forms.”
This is a beautiful novel, and I find it perversely reassuring to know that it, too, was once an ugly duckling.
Jordan, that's so true. Thank you.
I'm glad you found this book. When frustrated by writer's block, I often find that reading a great book or essay can inspire one to get back in the saddle and plug away at one's own work. The intimidation factor aside, it tends to remind you of the heights can be ascended via the written word — and why you chose this profession, in spite of all the difficulties it entails, in the first place.
Such good advice! Thank you so much, jgreenedh and Erika.
Oh, Sandra, I think it's something all writers go through. You are a master storyteller, and if you published a to-do list, I'd buy it and love it.
My dear writer friend and critique partner is a big advocate of putting work away when it's not speaking to you. Take a weekend and travel. Do yoga. See a movie. Or three. You'll come back to it with new eyes and see what it's trying to tell you.
Be kind to yourself. You are, truly, one of my favorite writers!
You're good at this, there can be no doubt. Good enough, in fact, that I had to stop reading The Last Great Dance on Earth while waiting for an appointment because I was sitting in the waiting room with tears streaming down my face. If you don't question your abilities how can you progress as a writer? Generations to come will read your novels and reflect on what a great writer you are.
Dear jreenedh, thank you SO much. That really helps! ???
Wait! You have a ton of fans cheering for you- Can you hear us?
When I read your books, it feels like they squeeze my heart with emotion! I think that someday soon, you will sit down with your manuscript and everything will be crystal clear to you and then off you'll go again! When something doesn't 'feel' right, it is so hard to move forward but there is always a reason for that feeling.
Just be patient with yourself. You're the best. :)