The Joy and Hell of Writing

You know the moment when you are revising a story and you’ve got most of the story done, and you know it’s good – maybe even better than good – but you’ve got one section that isn’t working and you’ve read it over so many times it doesn’t make any sense?

That’s the joy and the hell of writing.

Or when you are staring at a story that was flowing up until one minute ago, but now upon re-reading is a total mess that you hate and if you could bring yourself to do it, you’d delete the entire file?

That’s the joy and hell of writing.

And there are stories that you’ve finished and when you read it (at the moment it was done) you were so satisfied with yourself. It was an unquestionable fact that you were the next Faulkner and this was a masterwork. Of course, two weeks later when you looked at it again, you realized ten percent of the words were spelled incorrectly, you used the same word five times in three paragraphs, and you accidentally called the main character Elena and her name is Ellen. You wonder if someone else has been using your computer and changing your story just to mess with you. At least, you hope that’s what happened.

Yep, the joy and the hell of writing.

But it’s also the most difficult story you can’t bring yourself to work on because it’s so hard. Somehow you find yourself finishing it and you’re relieved just to be done with the damn thing. Then a friend reads it and tells you they cried, or laughed, or that the characters or dialogue stayed with them for days.

There’s a joy that comes from living through the torture.

What do you do to get yourself to the other side when you hit the wall in your writing? How do you keep going?



4 Responses

  1. I smack myself in the face.

  2. Have you been spying on me? It sounds just like my life!
    I’m afraid that sometimes when I hit a wall like that, I end up walking away from a story for months at a time. There was one that worked so perfectly – there are some fantastic moments and flow – but the ending continually fell flat. I worked on it for three years, sent it out to various places with various endings, and my last rejection has made me throw in the towel on it. It has frustrated me to the point where I think it just may not be meant to be, so I’m leaving it for now. Maybe in a few years I’ll look at it again and see if the glaringly obvious (to others I assume) problems with it will jump out at me.

    • Alas, that’s something we have in common. I have two stories that I really love and that I’ve been “working on” for two years now and sending them out … hoping to get them placed. It’s frustrating so I’m leaving them alone right now.

      Not sure if you’re looking for another point of view on that story, but I’d be happy to read it if you want a pair of fresh eyes. 🙂

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