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.
In lieu of LabLife this week, I thought I’d share one of the ‘projects’ my friends and I are attempting. It’s ambitious. Perhaps a little crazy. But it’s sure to be a wild ride (and already has been).
We are attempting to watch every movie ever made since we were born. That’s every movie since the start of November 1988.
That’s right. Every. Movie. Ever. Made.
We have few stipulations:
-They must have had a theatrical release
-If three out of four of us have watched it, we can skip
And that’s it.
If you want to follow our journey, check out our Instagram where we rate each movie, provide a brief (realistic and often comedic) synopsis, and share what we think the cultural impact of every movie was.
It happens. Things don’t flow. I used to go back and edit it until I was satisfied, and I stopped doing that. Sometimes, you have to write the rest of the story to know how to revise those problem sections. Inspiration can come from various places. So set it aside and come back to it later. Either it was better than you remembered, or it really is that bad. Either way, you will know what to do at that point.
That is so true, very wise words! I’m trying to get better at leaving it be when I get stuck. It’s definitely a work in progress though.