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Writing Through the Doldrums

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Writing Through the Doldrums

Sara General

There are days when writing even three hundred words feels like a battle.  Lately, I’ve been having a lot of those days but I’m trying my absolute best to work through it.  The last four days I’ve amassed just over of 6,200 words and I’m quite certain I might toss half of them to the curb.  

If I look at what I’ve accomplished in the way of writing so far this year, I am super happy with how I am doing.  I was fortunate enough to get a grant to work on an anthology with my younger sister, who is a very talented artist that’s doing illustrations for the story.  For the anthology, I’m working on five short stories, three poems and two essays.  I decided to work on the short stories first and I’m extremely happy with how they’re turning out.

 

I also wrote the first of the South River stories – a fictional First Nations community I made up that serves as the setting for The Whirlwind's Prophecy.  For the last three weeks, I’ve distanced myself from this book so that I can re-read and edit it with a clearer perspective.  It’s also the first book that I’ve ever given to beta readers and while I only have one set of comments back so far, I already feel so grateful for what another set of eyes can do for the story.  Definitely, people taking the time to read your story is just wonderful.

 

I ordered copies of my book from Lulu and I have to say, it was just plain fun.  Definitely one of the better decisions I’ve ever made.  (Note: I’ve heard Amazon is cheaper for getting drafts, so if you’re looking to get a printed copy I’d definitely check them out). It’s much easier for readers to go through the story when they have a neatly bound copy that they can scribble on and mark up.  And it’s very motivating to see the book in this form. Plus, it’s nice to get mail!

 

And yet in the midst of all of this productivity, I hit some kind of wall.  I started trying to write a new story right away and am nearly 15,000 words into it but I feel a little bit lost. If you’re a writer, I have no doubt you know what I’m talking about.  And perhaps like me, you’ve read blog posts or sought advice for what to do when you hit these kinds of wall.  There’s a lot of great advice out there from pretty much everyone, but the sentiments seem to be the same.  As Neil Gaiman suggests: Don’t wait until inspiration strikes to write.  Keep working through the doldrums.  And because I trust the dozens of other writers that are sharing this message and encouragement – that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

 

So here’s my plan. I’ve kept my distance from the story I just finished but I have a hunch that what will actually help me shake off this slightly lost feeling will be to finish editing The Whirlwind’s Prophecy and get it in the best shape possible.  I’m also going to post a small sample of it this week – something I’ve never done with my writing before unless I count that little gem I wrote when I was five.  Happy reading and happy writing everyone!

 

S