I’m going to be frank. There are a lot of days I doubt myself. It’s not just a simple—oh I can’t do it. It’s more like—nothing’s going to work out, what’s the point in trying, what if I do all this work and it amounts to nothing, etc. (I’m a tad dramatic).
And to make matters worse, it doesn’t just affect my overall mood, it affects my writing. I seem to cycle through different stages.
Stage 1: After a week (or longer of not writing), I feel the urge to write. It’s a casual thing. Sort of an obligation. A reminder that writing should also be a priority of mine. It’s just a small idea in the back of my mind while I’m doing homework or studying (inevitably this occurs around or after times I’ve had my series of exams for school)
Stage 2: My fingers twitch, my synapses are making new connections, etc. I need to write. On my home from class, I’m hit with a brilliant idea and I know how great its going to be. I can see all the scene playing out in my head.
Stage 3: This is after stage 2 has died down. I’m in more a hopeful state. I believe that this rush and hit of inspiration will be able to continue. I’m a little delirious and irrational. I believe that it can last a long time. I’ll be able to write as much as possible.
Stage 4: I actually think about the logistics. The reality of wanting to publish and become an author. That what I want—my dream— hinges on everyone else saying yes (agents, publishers, readers). It’s depressing to think about it in those terms. There’s no point in me continuing my writing. It’s a waste of time. I should be focusing on something that will actually be productive.
Stage 5: Then that worry morphs into self-loathing. Am I stupid and irrational for wanting this? I’m not good enough to publish a book. I’m not good enough to even submit to an agent. I should focus on something that requires a little less of me being so vulnerable and open for rejection and pain. It infects me. It seeps into my entire life for some time. Ruining me. Making me sit on my bed every night with thoughts of why? I stop writing.
Return to Stage 1 (and go through it all over again)
It’s easy to let Stage 4+5 to take up the majority of life. We’re wired to remember the bad parts more than the best moments in our life. I’m guilty of falling into the trap of Stage 4+5. It sometimes takes me a month to get out of it, but the truth is, I pull myself out of it sooner or later.
I recently read a post on PubCrawl (great website for writers!) and it said “Do what you love because you love it. Don’t let terrifying “what ifs” control your life”. I know I need to listen to this perfect piece of advice because I do love writing and I can’t let my fears hold me back.
Do any writers get into slumps out there? Comment below if you’re comfortable sharing your own experience!