I love riding roller coasters. It’s the one ride at an amusement park I can still ride without getting sick. (Don’t ask about the crazy barn ride at Story Land. Just trust me, don’t ride it!)
I love the thrill of feeling the lurch as the cart chugs up the hill. The anticipation of reaching the top, and the rush of whooshing down with my stomach left somewhere at the top. (Okay, I probably could only ride it once or twice.)
Up, up, up.
I finish a first draft. Maybe the first set of revisions. Maybe, I’m polishing my words. I get excited. I love my story. My emotions are at a high as I consider querying and getting published. Okay, I admit it. I fantasize about the “call”. Guilty.
I’m feeling confident.
Down, down, down.
For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. So as confident as I was feeling, one day, for no particular, I crash. My writing sucks. This is stupid. Why am I doing this? Am I just fooling myself?
I’ve finally learned how to ride the ups and down of being a writer.
1. Ignore the up, up, up. Yeah, have fun dreaming, but feelings aren’t always a good measuring stick for skill. Read books. Know the market. Have realistic expectations. Look at your writing with the rose-colored glasses on the table. (I know it’s hard.)
2. Ignore the down, down, down. Depression isn’t good. It causes writer’s block. It’s not good for you or your family. Or your writing.
Have confidence. Confidence in whatever stage you are at: beginner, advanced but not quite published, published but not sure if your book will spread, or incredibly famous you’ll be on Oprah.
I can experience the tippy top of the rollercoaster of emotions but know that its subjective. I can sink down into the pit of suckitis and still have confidence. Because these are emotions.
My writing is separate from how I feel about where I am on the journey. Just because I love my story, doesn’t mean I’ll get an agent. Just because I hate my work (on that day) doesn’t mean someone else won’t love it.
So in order to ride the emotional roller coaster of writing: realize you can’t stay on that writer’s high without crashing once in a while. Just don’t take it personally and give up on your dreams.
How do you ride the roller coaster of emotions that comes with being a writer?
I will not touch that cursed barn ride with a ten foot pole. I stick to the roller coasters, myself.
I used to get this way about my blog as well–since that is so public. But at some point I became used to the ups and downs there. I’m sure when I start querying, you’ll have to pick me up from a downward, death spiral.
Whenever I put something aside, for perspective, and then come back to it, I feel a lot of apprehension. What if it really isn’t that good? When I re-read my most recent project, I sighed in relief–I still really like it. With all it’s problems, and arcs that need work, I still like it. That’s good.
That’s always a good thing – to come back to a project and still like it. 🙂 And I do think it has been just in the past few months that I’m okay with the ups and down. I’ve learned to keep them in perspective.