Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How Low Can You Go?


I think every writer has low points. Point where we truly believe we are the worst writer ever, that we should just give it up before everyone points and laughs. We look at the words that yesterday seemed so achingly brilliant and want to cry because today they are complete trash.  Writers get in some pretty low spots.  Spots where it’s hard to get out of.

But we also have some pretty good highs.  The shiny new idea that highjacks our brains, making us giddy with hope and joy.  The electricity of writing that perfect scene or of figuring out the motivation behind one of our characters.  It’s tingly and new and if we could we’d float up to rejoice with the clouds. 

Would we have the good times without the lows? You know the saying “the higher you fly the farther you fall”  The highs and lows balance each other out.  If we couldn’t feel the despair we’d never know the joy. Sure the low points are discouraging and depressing but I’ll take them if that’s the only way to experience the pure pleasure of writing. 

20 comments:

  1. Sara,
    You nailed it--balance is the key. But it takes both parts of the cycle to reach it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We do need to find that balance so one side or the other doesn't consume us.

      Delete
  2. Thank you for this perspective! Lately I've been in the "low" camp. I've worked so, so hard on one of my manuscripts, but it just doesn't seem good enough. But that "high" feeling you get when something goes right? Nothing can compare.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry to hear you've been in the lows. Is it time to put the MS away for a couple weeks and do something that will give you that high again? Just enough to remember why you write. Whatever you do good luck.

      Delete
  3. Balance is definitely the key. I don't know if the highs quite cancel the lows, though. I love writing and do it because I have to, cos otherwise I'd explode, but argh! I suck!
    And yet... shiny new idea!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I wouldn't mind to be off balance with more highs than lows. But you're right, we do enjoy the highs more when we know the lows so well.

    I've been in a low spot for a while and finally decided to do just what you suggested to Shelley. I put my raked-across-the-coals MS away and started on a new, shiny story. And now I'm in a happy place. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you're in a happy place. There may be a time in the future where it's right to pull the old MS out and fix it, but for now enjoy the high!

      Delete
  5. I think there's something to be learned from those low points, too. It makes us scrutinize our work and find a way back to the good writing place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point. We do learn more at the low points. We search more anyway.

      Delete
  6. Oh, so true! Sometimes when I feel like I'm scraping the bottom of the barrel, something amazing will come along and I'm back on top again. You learn to work through both. ^_^

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You do have to learn to work through both, and each can be difficult in their own ways. The high is just more fun.

      Delete
  7. I really like what Joanne said. There's definitely something to be learned from the low points. If we think of it as a relationship, for every low point that we work through with writing it makes us stronger than ever before. The high points are so wonderful, but the low points are (unfortunately) needed, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's true, we get stronger with each low point and hopefully that strength helps so that each low point isn't as low as the previous one.

      Delete
  8. Being a writer is DEFINITELY a roller coaster of insanity.

    But yes - the highs just have to pull us through the lows..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Roller coaster of insanity. That's a great description!

      Delete
  9. Oh yes, writing is most certainly a roller coaster. Add to that being published and then having the pressure of sales and producing new work... but then you get a lovely email from a reader, and it's all worth it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those reader letters have got to be great! I could see how they could get an author through a lot of discouragement.

      Delete
  10. I don't think I could descibe the highs and lows better than you have here - this says it all!

    ReplyDelete