Do you ever have times when your work life and writing life collide? When the frustrations of work spill into your writing, and vice versa?
That has been my problem over the past couple weeks. The combination of critical feedback from grant writing and a few incredibly harsh reviewer comments on one of my papers at work made working on our novel a lot less enjoyable than usual. In fact, the chapter I produced over the past couple weeks is probably the worst one I’ve written in a long time.
It was one of those chapters where nothing came naturally, and even though I was writing at a decent pace, there was no flow. My characters were flat, the description lacklustre, and the whole chapter felt like it chopped and changed between events. I cringed every time I re-read it, and spent almost an entire week trying to edit it into something passable, but in the end, I gave up.
The chapter was driving me crazy, and I started to feel like every edit made the chapter worse.
I am usually proud of my writing, and I hate producing work that I know isn’t up to scratch. But on this occasion, I decided it was in my best interest to move on. Get a fresh start on a new chapter, and put this nightmare chapter behind me.
I’ve learned a lot over the past few years of creative and academic writing. First, dwelling on mistakes and reliving harsh feedback is unhelpful overall. Take the criticism on board and move on. Writers have good days and bad days (or weeks) but eventually things will turn around. They always do. Second, you can’t produce perfect writing all time. And that’s OK.
I’m looking forward to starting fresh on a new chapter and following my own advice. Hopefully, it will go better than my previous chapter.
Do you ever have bad writing days, weeks, or months? How do you get through it? Let me know in the comments below.