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.
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.
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!