Thursday, October 02, 2014

I hate to call it writer's block, but...

Trying not to be angsty, but lately I'm feeling really trapped. Like I'm going nowhere with my writing, and I can't seem to get into the proper headspace to work on Neverland. So I keep going back to Blood Promise and Until Morning, tweaking and tinkering in the hopes that something will spring out of that parched, barren wasteland of literary desolation.

... See, that's what I'm talking about. Literary desolation? It's like whatever I write comes out looking garbled and over-dramatic and cliched and ugh just altogether trying too hard.

It's just really frustrating when you want something so badly and you keep trying and trying and nothing seems to work. I can understand if it's just a bad day or two. But what if I can never feel that way about writing again? What else can I do?

Came across this little diary entry I scribbled in my notebook not too long ago, and it seems like I've been feeling this way for far too long.

Now you know how ugly my handwriting is when I'm upset, hmm. But if that's too illegible for you, here's a typeset version:

21 June 2014, 10pm:
I want to give up. It seems like everything I try is useless. But I hate having nothing to show for my efforts, if I give up now. Six years of trying to get published, and although I've published one book since, the dismal sales is demoralising. 
I know people keep saying to press on, to keep at it and one day I'll make it. But how many writers have died in obscurity, how many have had to give up their dream because the obstacles are too many and too impossible to scale? 
All those hours slaving away at a book; all that time spent editing, rewriting, querying; all those hundreds and hundreds of rejection letters. What are they all for? Maybe they are telling me something, one thing: that I'm just not good enough and that I should give up, stop wasting my time. I will never be good enough to join the ranks of the writing superstars - Laini Taylor, Sarah Dessen, Maggie Stiefvater... 
I hate that I'm even thinking of giving up, but maybe I have to. But how do you give up something that gives meaning to your life, without giving up on life itself?

I know, I know. I'm being over-dramatic and morose.

Kristen Lamb weighed in on writer's block in her recent blog post:
Creative people are a lot like tigers. We do a lot of what looks like laying around and warming our bellies in the sunshine. Yet, what we're really doing is powering up because, once we go after that first draft, those words can be more elusive than a gazelle that's doping.
Regular folks who clock in and clock out of jobs in cubicles are grazers. They do the same routine day after day. *munch, munch, munch*. I feel this is often why creative people feel so stifled in these environments. We're tigers stuffed in a non-tiger role.

Grazing. That's exactly what I'm doing. Day in, day out, munch munch munch on sad green grass. I need meat. I need a holiday. Ha!

I read somewhere that people listen to sad songs when they're feeling down in order to seek emotional validation, so here's me turning to Kodaline for some of that.

Sorry about the whining and wallowing. I'm just in a weird funk right now. I'm not usually this mopey, I promise!

Hope your week's going better than mine! :0)


Whiskoffee Purr said...

Steven Pressfield refers to your experience as the Resistance. All writers and creatives experience this from time to time. But you must endure and overcome.

Malcolm Gladwell shared about the 10,000 hour rule. It seems that the professionals who are good at what they are doing started out as amateurs, and amazingly he observes a pattern that these people's endeavours took off after putting in 10,000 hours of hard work.

In short, don't give up. Hang in there. Keep on pressing in. Overcome your resistance. Wake up every day and look into the mirror, telling the girl in it that she is awesome and she is a great writer.

Do this everday. Rinse and repeat.

Cheers! ;)

Joyce Chua said...

@whiskoffee purr: Thanks for the bout of encouragement! Much needed. Will press on! :)

val said...

hwaiting - may the god of writing descend upon you and bless you with words necessary to fill up your next bestseller :)

Joyce Chua said...

@val: Haha, I'd pray to that god! Thanks, love! :)