Stuck

Being-A-Writer-Is-Easy-It-s-Like-Riding-A-Bike


I’m stuck.

Last week I was stuck.

The week before that, I got stuck.

And now I’m trapped in an endless vortex of soul-sucking stuck.

Writing can be fun. It can be really, really fun. The act of putting words where there were no words can divvy out a thrill like no other. The act of reading those words back and realizing they have come together to form a cohesive, INTELLIGENT, eloquently stated thought that no one else has come out with before is fuc@king exhilarating.

And Sometimes Writing Sucks.

I have been editing my book long enough to know that on certain occasions it’s best to walk away. I have also been editing it long enough to know that if I keep walking away it will never get finished.

It’s a double-edged, mother-loving, ambition-crushing, brain-stewing PAPERCUT.

I have a stack of beta-readers ready and waiting to help with my WIP. I have the time I need to attack the thing while the hellions are in school. In fact, I calculated that if I have sixteen good days of editing in a row, I will be DONE in sixteen days.

And I can’t get through a paragraph.

Yesterday I washed the rugs. I cleaned the windows and put the screens back in. I went for a walk. Yesterday, I finished the laundry, and then washed all the winter coats and put them into storage. Yesterday, I didn’t edit a single word. I opened my manuscript, cringed, died a little, and closed it. And opened it. And closed it again.

In truth, I have no idea why I’m stuck. I tried writer’s wine. I tried editor’s wine. And then I realized that if I plan on going to work tonight to earn actual REAL money, and not the theoretical kind that will so OBVIOUSLY come once I finish my brilliant book (if I ever do), I should probably stop drinking.

While writing can be fun, editing can be tedious. It can be really, really tedious. The act of replacing the right words for the wrong ones can suck your soul dry like nothing else. The act of reading those edits back and realizing you’ve made a mockery of the English language that no one will ever, EVER be able to untangle is fuc@king exhausting.

*takes deep breath*

It could be argued that a good amount of wallow is healthy in every activity worth tackling.

So, instead of writing today I’ve decided to do just that.

Wallow.

To everyone out there in the trenches, to everyone killing it, everyone kind of muddling their way through, and everyone stuck in a rut of wallow with me, I salute you.

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*raises writing wine glass*

*sees that it’s empty*

*raises editing wine glass*

*extends toast*

I love you guys.


49 thoughts on “Stuck

  1. When we get to the end of one project we throw our arms in the air to celebrate. We are pumped up with pride that we persevered unto the end. Then why do we put ourselves, almost immediately, into the frying pan when we have beaten the fire?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. You can do this. Some unsolicited advice (that you’ve probably already thought of)? I put my first novel down for a good year and never looked at it. Started other projects and got excited about those. Then finally decided to readdress the novel. I found the time away refreshing and empowering. Another option is to hire an independent editor. Either way, best of luck. T

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Trevor.
      I’ll be fine once I get through this part. It’ll just take a little longer than I anticipated.
      Not to say that I don’t appreciate your advice. If things really go south, I’ll follow it. After all, you emerged from the trenches with a great book! I would be foolish not to listen to you.

      Like

  3. What is this “stuck” thing of which you speak?

    Okay, on a project as large as a novel, I get it. I’ve got three novels in various stages of development, though I’m focusing on writing the first draft one chapter per week, and so far, it’s working. That said, I’ve been planning on writing a novel for well over a year, and so far, nothing has been completed. I have high hopes of the fantasy saga I’m currently crafting.

    Of course, once I get the bloody first draft done, then I may hit the editing snag. Not looking forward to that.

    However, I have found a treasure trove of anthologies and magazines (print and digital) spewing out open submissions, so much so, I can’t respond to them all by creating something publishable within the required time frames.

    Thus far, I have managed to submit five short stories, plan to submit two more by the end of the month, two more in May, and that’s just for starters.

    No one has gotten back to me yet to either accept (Yay) or reject (Boo) my stories, but it keeps me busy. Plus, deadlines are terrifically motivating. Short stories pay anything from two to six cents per word, so I’ll never get rich, but it would be nice to be published and paid.

    In the absence of an outside authority (editor, agent) cracking the whip over you, consider setting your own milestones and sticking to them. Even if your first edits are lousy, at least it’s action, and I suspect once you build up some momentum, you’ll just keep going. Of course that means the laundry won’t get done and everyone will end up having popcorn for dinner, but art requires sacrifice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You writers. 🙂 Do what I tell photographers who are stuck. DO SOMETHING. Put the pen to paper, fingers to computer, whatever. And, just write. Anything. Do that for about two hours a day. You’ll break the block.

    You might actually write something new that is the start of a different book.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lol I know what that feels like. Fellow person in the trenches here. ^_^ But thankfully, I’ve written the past couple days. My problem was fighting my inner critic. That’s what I wrote for this week’s blog post. Hang in there! Cheers!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You do make me smile, Jenny. And a bit green with envy… you have finished writing your book which is a lot more than many (yep, me) can say. And your house is clean!
    You’re on the last lap of the race now. 🏃‍♀️Keep looking ahead and filling up that gigantic wine glass. Where do you put the goldfish when you use it?
    You’re nearly there, you’re nearly there, you’re nearly there. This can be chanted in front of your sparkling bathroom mirror every morning.
    Thanks for the chuckle. Can’t wait to read the book!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Self editing is a chore. I would give it, as it is, to someone else to read and ask for their advice. Then you can look at it with fresh eyes when it comes back.
    Someone said it takes NINE edits to make a perfect book. If I did that i would be so tired of it I would give up writing novels for ever.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. When I read this post yesterday afternoon, I was in the middle of a BIG wallow. Still in my pajamas. No shower. Looking at my Fitbit to see if it was 5 o’clock somewhere. And why? Editing a chapter of my book for Kate Johnston’s writing class. Can I cross out a word? What if it is, in fact, a special word?
    Finished this afternoon. Guess I got unstucked. Showered and dressed but still I wallow because there’s more story in front of me.
    I am so jealous of those of you who have youth in your favor. You have time. I am an older writer and just need to get this story told…

    Like

  9. Martha Beck: “Think of a problem that’s had you stumped for a while: Your preschooler won’t nap, you can’ make yourself exercise, you need to cut expenses without sacrificing quality of life. With this challenge in your mind, read a few paragraphs in several totally unrelated books. Then relax. Play with your cat, wash the dishes, watch the neighbors through binoculars. Think of the problem periodically, then drop it again. This process encourages eureka epiphanies, like those moments in TV dramas where the brilliant doctor or sleuth gets the “ping” of insight that solves the case. Your first few ideas may not be perfect—many will be awful—but there are more where they came from. Once you begin encouraging the right brain to churn out solutions, it will do so more and more abundantly.”

    Like

  10. I know that stuckiness. I take a break from a story by…becoming stuck on other projects. Then I feel like editing wasn’t so bad after all compared to writing a whole ‘nother world from scratch.

    Hope you can climb out of the hole, get your legs free from the tar, or if you’re Winnie the Pooh, find some friends who can pull you out of Rabbit’s hole while singing a song 😛

    Like

  11. “It’s a double-edged, mother-loving, ambition-crushing, brain-stewing PAPERCUT.” Loved that line tremendously! For someone who is stuck, this is a great piece! 🙂 You’ll get it done when you want it to be done.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Love this so much I’m weeping. YES! I scream from my immaculate home. YES! I mumble while reaching for my pen to write another project on a list busy with check marks.
    Organize Pantry
    Dig out garden
    Go through winter sweaters.

    My heart is weeping,because I KNOW how much stuck sucks.

    Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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