5 Things to Do When You Feel Like Your Writing Stinks


We've all been there. We're happily typing along on our novel when it hits us: what we have written actually kind of feels... terrible.


Maybe you realize that you should have gone a different direction, or maybe you realize that you've lost all sense of direction completely. Maybe you feel like what you've written, your precious novel, is actually kind of a big steaming pile of poo.


But take heart! That is only how you feel. And here is what to do when you feel this way.

1. Remind yourself why you love this story.

Look at your Pinterest board, if you have one. Listen to your playlist. Read over a scene you were particularly proud of. See? It's not all that bad. This novel is your baby, and you love it. Maybe you just need a little reminding of how and why.


2. Reformat.

I usually write in Google Docs, which means things can get a little sloppy. If this is the case with you, maybe it's time to format your document to "look" more like a real novel. Something about this really helps me psychologically see my novel better, because it looks like its on its way to getting published. If you've already formatted your document, maybe it's time for you to write in a different font, style, or size.


3. Character journal

Sometimes with large casts, like the one I have right now, it's hard to figure out what to do with all the characters. It can be even harder to know what each character is feeling or thinking. This is where it can be helpful to sit down with each of them and get to know their inner thoughts. Write out a scene with them, interview them, or write a journal entry from their perspective. Even if you don't use the actual words in the novel, it will help you mentally feel like you've got a better grip on where you're going.


4. Restructure. 

If you have to, change around scenes. Shake up plotlines. Try something totally off-the-wall. Delete a character. Restructure your sagging beginning. Do whatever it takes to make your story work again. While it's usually better to wait till the end to edit, you should fix things if it would help you get your show back on the road. But before you do that...


5. Take a breather.

Chances are, it isn't as bad as you think. Taking some time to step away will allow you to get some distance, which will allow you to see things more objectively. When you come back, it could be you still think your writing stinks, but hopefully the time away will help you in fixing the problems. Whatever happens, taking a break is never a bad idea--as long as you keep writing later on.


Bonus! Write a blog post about it.

That's what I'm doing right now, and it's helping. Right? ... Right?



What do you do when you feel like your writing stinks? Sound off in the comments!

10 comments:

  1. I love the character journal idea! My favourite plan of attack when I get into a writing slump is to write a scene that really has nothing to do with the actual plot--just a fun little scribble of a story to spark me back into the story. It also helps me when my characters start acting out of character because they're being dragged down by the monotony of my writing. Self-insertion scribbles with your characters are great too, because it can be like talking with a friend.

    As always, your gif skills are on point. :)

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    1. That's another good idea--writing a fluff scene. I should've put this in my post! EVERYBODY, READ ELY'S COMMENT. :D

      I actually need to do that now with my current WIP. ;) I got frustrated with it yesterday, hence this post. Thanks for the suggestion! I totally agree that you need to let your characters loose sometimes and just write for the fun of it.

      Thank you so much! I had so much fun finding gifs for this post. My favorite is probably the "I don't wike it" one. I don't know how into Marvel you are, but if you haven't seen the interview that gif was from, you must. xD

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  2. Oh my gosh, your gifs are the best. AND SO ACCURATE.
    You know what's also accurate? All of this post. I've had to do things like this a lot lately because I handed my precious novel over to beta readers and then made the mistake of rereading the novel and got wildly insecure. And I'm pretty sure I do this every time I start a new draft of anything. *le sigh* But Pinterest boards definitely help because they're pretty and make me feel all warm and fuzzy about the story, as well as working on plot and restructuring things. I also like to get out a piece of paper and write down everything I love about the book. All the positives I can think of. No negatives. By the end, I've written down way more than I thought I would, and I feel way better about myself. :)

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    1. Haha, thank you so much! I know, right? This is honestly based from personal experience--I'm at 25k in my WIP and it feels like it's going nowhere. I hope you can feel better about yours soon! From the little pieces I've heard about your novels, they sound amazing!

      I agree. Pinterest is great. It's like a highlights reel or "best of" of your novel. It helps me picture it so much better. Ooh, the pros list is perfect! I'm going to have to do that now. ;) Thanks for the suggestion, and the comment! Again, I hope you feel better about your writing soon! ♥

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  3. But Tom Hiddleston and Chris Pratt in the same post

    YES

    I'm actually too lazy and inconsistent to even stat a novel; most times I just type up random snippets of dialogue or description that pop into my head. Then I see it typed out and I just delete it all because somehow it's so much worse down on paper than in my head. But, thus is the curse of a writer.

    *uses "I don't wike it" in everyday conversation though no one understands the reference*

    O | Life as a Young Lady

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  4. These are good tips. ^ ^ I've used all of these at one point or another. I also like character chatting to un-stick me from a rough spot. Typing as my characters freely gets my juices flowing. Also seeing a new movie or anime helps me too so I can feel inspired. :)

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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  5. I needed this post SO. MUCH. Seriously. Bless you! Reformatting was something that I never even thought of.... I will definitely have to try that -- I love my story so much and need to finish it, but my brain throws a little fit when I sit down to write :/ I'll be giving all this tips a whirl!

    ~Emily

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  6. I love the idea of reformatting. Sometimes the simplest visual tricks will get you motivated again.

    Great post!

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  7. All great ideas! I think it's hard sometimes to remember that everything you write is a draft, and it doesn't have to be perfect the moment you put the words on the page.

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