Up, Down, Sideways: The Moody Writer

I apologize for not posting for a few days. My “24 hours to mope” rule wasn’t working. I had to take time off to get my head back where it belongs. Which gets me thinking: Are all writers as moody as I am? And what if anything can be done about it?
Writing Tip for Today: You may be as steady as the earth is round, but so many artists and writers have been moody, I feel I’m in good company. Yet even if you’ve been able to mostly conquer the doubts, the grinding “you’re no good” thoughts, chances are, you’ll have some down days. What to do?

  • Think about Quitting, but Don’t Quit. Sounds obvious but if we’re honest, thinking about quitting over a bad rejection, a bad review or a bad writing spell is going to happen. Just don’t let quitting happen. Remind yourself, as I read somewhere, that you have had some sort of success in the past (even if it was validation by one measly reader) and you’ll likely experience success again in the future. In order to have that future success you can’t quit.
  • Breathe. Take a short breather from your project. This doesn’t mean don’t write at all, but I hope you’re not as obsessive as I am and work through weekends. I had to say it was okay to take the weekend off. As a result I am refreshed and ready to write.
  • Is It Ready? Ask yourself whether any of the stinging barbs from critiques, reviews or contest judges contain a bit of truth. Instead of saying your work is good or bad, accomplished or rough, ask yourself if the work is ready to show yet. Did you need validation so much that you trotted it out too soon? A scathing critique of a not-ready work can be deadly to that work. The enthusiasm and energy you envisioned shrivels and dies. Too many opposing opinions gets you nowhere. Don’t be like the man who got on his donkey and rode off in all directions. If you try to implement everyone’s take on a work-in-progress, you may end up losing your own vision for it.
  • If You’re Moody and You Know It. Clap your hands. I know I tend toward brooding and depression, so it’s important for me to recognize when “writing through the pain” is the answer and when a time-out is necessary. They say writers must develop a thick skin but I think it’s more about managing the skin you have. Why deny what you feel? Instead, learn to recognize the ups, downs and sideways motions that a sensitive, perceptive and intuitive writer needs.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

5 comments on “Up, Down, Sideways: The Moody Writer

  1. Waiting through this wet, miserable winter for the glorious spring I expect hasn’t helped mood either.

    Sunshine filling me yesterday charged my battery.

  2. Normally I’m not affected by Northwest weather. But you’re right, it’s been cold, wet and gray a long time. Yesterday’s sun was a welcome sight indeed. ~Linda

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.