The inevitable mixture of despair and jealousy that creeps in after I finish a really great novel has come and settled into a little corner of my writing desk. I keep staring at it. It’s green and fuzzy and I find it very distracting. Even more so than the black and white cat named Clementine curled up in my lap right now. It’s been so distracting that I haven’t had a good writing day since Friday.
It happens every time. I finish the last page of a great piece of literature, and I’m left feeling like I can never, ever get to that level of brilliance. Ever. (I just finished Room by Emma Donoghue.)
But Stephen King seems to have figured out a cure for this common malady, apparently affecting writers of all genres—read a really bad book.
Almost everyone can remember losing his or her virginity, and most writers can remember the first book he/she put down thinking: I can do better than this. Hell, I am doing better than this! What can be more encouraging to the struggling writer than to realize his/her work is unquestionably better than that of someone who actually got paid for his/her stuff?
I think I’ll go reread Flowers in the Attic. It’s pretty awful and even that got made into a movie (although the movie is actually kind of awesome).
I really need a good writing day today. That’s how it goes. Not all days are good ones, and the bad days make you feel plain rotten. I want nothing more than to finish the next scene. I want nothing more than to finish the next scene and to write at least 1,000 words. And to do it well would be icing on top.
It’s a lot like exercise. You often dread to do it, but once you’re done you feel great. But it starts again the next day. You have to wake-up and do it again. And again the next day. And the day after. If you don’t, you get out of shape.
Honestly, I just want to crawl back into bed right now and read. I also need to catchup on some work, but doing my best not to let it distract me from the issue at hand right now.
“You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London
Today I woke up with the sinking feeling that everything I’ve written so far is awful. It took everything in my power not to go back and read and edit. I wonder if these self-doubts about ever being good enough to write will ever go away.