Wednesday, November 14, 2012

To The People Who Suck


This post is for any writer who thinks he or she sucks. Unpublished, self-published, mid-list published, mega-successfully published, there’s something we all have in common: Suck Days.

A friend of mine who’s trying NaNoWriMo told me the biggest obstacle she has right now is self-doubt and how it must be nice for me to be beyond that.

*cue maniacal laughter*

Here’s my writing history.

Novels:
1 – unpublished
2 – never to be seen
3 – agented, but never sold
4 – Clarity
5 – Perception
6 – Sleuth or Dare #1
7 – Sleuth or Dare #2
8 – Sleuth or Dare #3
9 – The Dead and Buried
10 – secret
11 – my current work-in-progress

Eleven books. Do you know what they all have in common? While writing each one of them, I had days where I thought I WAS THE WORST WRITER IN THE WORLD AND I SHOULD JUST QUIT AND HIDE MY SUCKY WRITER HEAD IN SHAME.

It never goes away. Actually, I’m having one of these days today.

Granted, not every day is a Suck Day. Some days are Rainbows of Glitter Days when you’re high on writer euphoria. Most days are somewhere in between. And the causes run the gamut.

Suck Day Causes:
- I didn’t write.
- I didn’t write enough.
- The scene I wrote didn’t work.
- I’m stuck and don’t know what comes next.
- I got a bad review sent to me and chose to read it. (I don’t go searching for these.)
- Something disappointing happened on the publishing end. (Bad sales, book rejected, got a cover you don’t like, etc.)
- The jealousy monster decided to come out and play. (Why is that author getting all the marketing/conferences/love/shiny things.)

Rainbows of Glitter Days:
- I wrote a lot and feel like the book’s working, and I know what comes next.
- I got a fan letter/email that really touched me.
- I got a great review. (I don’t go searching, but I’m happy when someone sends me these.)
- Something good happened on the publishing end. (Exciting marketing news, got a cover you love, happy-making email from your editor, etc.)
- The jealousy monster stayed in the closet where he belongs.

Notice that many of these reasons are shared. Somewhere out there, a first-time writer and a multi-published NYT bestseller are both having Suck Days because they hate the scene they just wrote and they know they have to delete it and start over. Hundreds of writers are having Suck Days. Right now. Apart, but together. It’s something we have in common. Published and unpublished. Adult literary, middle grade sci-fi, erotica, picture books. Every writer I know is her own worst critic.

But here’s the thing. I’m not going to talk you out of it. I’m going to suggest that maybe thinking we suck is not such a bad thing. Maybe that inner voice that tells us YOU ARE THE WORST is what drives us to make each project better than the last. To fix that scene. To work harder. To improve.

So here’s to the people who suck.

I’m one of them. Join the club.

In the comments:
What do you think?
Do you have more causes for Suck Days and Rainbows of Glitter Days?
What do you do to get out of a Suck Day funk?

22 comments:

  1. You've totally made me smile. LOVE that you shared this. Thank you for it :)

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    1. I'm so glad! I didn't know whether to share it or not. But now I'm happy that I did. :)

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  2. This is why writers totally need a group of cheerleading friends. I'm so lucky to have a huge group of cheerleaders in my corner!

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    1. That is a really good point. It helps so much to have someone to talk to or email who GETS IT.

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  3. THANK YOU for this!!! I really needed it today. (A TOTAL suck day over here! But your entry made me feel so much better.)

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    1. Let's hope tomorrow brings Rainbows of Glitter, S! :D

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  4. I love this post. Yesterday I had a Rainbow of Glitter moment when I re-read the ending of my novel that's currently on sub and fell in love with it all over again. Then I remembered it's been on sub since June, has come SO CLOSE to getting offers not once but twice, and still may very well never sell. Then I tried to write a pitch for a short story and couldn't get it right. And it turned into a Suck Day very quickly!

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    1. It's amazing how quickly the days can change! That's a wonderful moment, though, reading your work and actually loving it! Awesome.

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  5. Thank you thank you!!! I love this!!! Considering it's like a halfway point of NaNo it's been sucky days galore! :-D Hugs!

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    1. Hugs back at ya! Good luck with NaNo!

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  6. Thanks Kim. Sorry you're having that kind of day but it's good to know we're not alone.

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  7. tnx, needed that... trying for 5 days to write a synopsis for my novel. I totally suck at that!

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  8. Thank you so much for this post! Yesterday was all rainbows and glitter & today is a suck day. This made it all better though. :-) I'm hoping to end today with rainbows and glitter!

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  9. You're awesome. I needed that. I signed up for NaNo because I like the writerly camaraderie but I'm not aiming to "win". Still, I'm struggling lately. So, even though it sucks to suck, it's nice to know that I'm not the only one (which I knew but...yanno how it goes in the writing cave). Write on!

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    1. I could never win NaNo. I don't write that fast. :)

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  10. I SUCK! But at least I don't feel so alone about it. :)
    LOVED your post. Now I guess I'd better go face that manuscript I've been putting off ...
    Thank you!

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    1. Thanks! Wishing you rainbows and glitter. :)

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  11. Thanks for that post. I kind of needed that. As a full-time teacher, I have my own list of reasons for days to NOT be Rainbows of Glitter days (and we are NOT in that time of year right now when the kids just want to be done!

    I am about 25K behind in NaNo, so definitely no Rainbow Glitter in sight. I hope the tide turns soon, but it's nice to know I'm not alone!

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    1. Yeah, my day job causes many Suck Days. ;)

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