How to Deal with the Emotional Roller Coaster of Writing

One of the reasons why many people quit writing and never finish their projects is the unfamiliarity with the emotional roller coaster of writing. This ride is a real thing and sometimes it’s not fun, but when you realize that it exists and that it’s a common thing, you will start to feel better.

It looks something like this:

You sit down to write, and you don’t expect much; it’s just an ordinary day, and you’re going to write some words to fill your daily word count quota. Suddenly, you’re getting some new ideas, you write as quickly as you can, you’re in the story, everything seems alive and real, you’ve got a strange feeling in your gut that you’re about to create something remarkable.

After a while, you call it a day and you decide to share your experience with your spouse or your friend or anyone close to you.

You tell them how great you feel, how confident you are about your new project; it’s gonna be a success. This book will give you that breakthrough which you’re seeking.

Maybe you share some of the plot details, as well.

Your listener has some strange shine in her eye. She is happy for you and she’s proud.

You talk more and more about your project, and while you talk, you get some new ideas. Perhaps your listener suggests something, and you think that’s brilliant as well, and finally, you reach the emotional pinnacle.

At that moment you think that nothing could go wrong, you’ve finally got it, all you have to do now is to finish the darn book. The success is just around the corner.

Until, the next day.

You sit down and you revisit the stuff from the previous day. You do this because you need a kick; you must continue from the spot where you left the day before, and you need to reach the exact emotional state.

Finally, after some reading, you get the kick, but that kick is not going to lift you up further; it’s going to knock you all the way down.

You’ve found a plot hole. Something about the events, you came up with yesterday, doesn’t work; your character is not believable; you’ve missed something; your sentences are messy; your word choice is at a level of a fourth-grader; your handwriting is ugly (if you’re writing longhand) it can be anything, and it’s going to bring you down.

All of a sudden, you feel like a delusional fraud; an imposter.

Who were you kidding? You’re never going to make it. What made you think that you could write a brilliant book, just like that. You’re like all these delusional people who show up on Talent shows. You’re the only one who thinks, or at least used to think, that you’re able to do something right.

You don’t write a single word that day.

Until, you get a solution for whatever the problem was, and you’re back on the ride once again.

Sometimes, you hit the ground so badly, that you never start again. You forget that you’re on the roller coaster and that no harm can be done to you; there are seatbelts, safety nets, but that’s not enough for you. You just quit.

But, you shouldn’t. You should enjoy the ride. Let it lead you wherever you need to be lead. It happens to all of us and the easiest way to stay on the ride is to know this:

When you feel bad, don’t worry, it will stop. Also, when you feel good, don’t worry it will stop.*

*I can’t remember where I’ve heard this saying if someone can share the source, I would be grateful. Also, there is a great possibility that I paraphrased it.