Writer’s Cycle: The Good, The Bad, and The Terrible
Every aspiring author has a writer’s cycle they go through. It can vary from person to person, but it boils down to essentially the same thing. We write, we think it’s great, we realize it’s not, and we feel terrible. Rinse and repeat. Today, we’re going to break down the writer’s cycle to it’s fundamental core components and challenge each one.
This is the Best Writing I’ve Ever Done
Everyone has that moment in their life when they’re writing and they have the epiphany of ‘this is the best I’ve ever done’. This is an amazing feeling. It can make you feel like you’re on top of the world. Sometimes it’s even true! You might actually be writing the best material that you’ve ever written in your life. Unfortunately, you might also be delusional. The number one thing you want to remember when writing ‘the best thing ever’ is that it might not be the best. This advice is going to save your life when you get to the editing stage, because if you’re operating under the premise that you’ve written something perfect, you’re going to have a hard time killing your darlings.
This is Getting Difficult
This is the stage of writing when you realize that everything isn’t going as planned. Maybe you’re not following your outline perfectly, or maybe you don’t even have one in the first place. You might start worrying about where the story is going, and how you’re going to solve the different problems you’ve created without resorting to dues ex machina.
The best advice that I can offer for when you start worrying that the things are getting tricky is to keep on writing. You’ll either figure it out or you’ll end up scrapping half of what you wrote. There’s nothing wrong with that. Remember that you can always edit a bad page, but you can’t edit something you never started.
This is Just Terrible
You’ve now come to the part in the writer’s cycle where you realize that your writing is actually quite terrible. We’ve all been there. We’ve all that terribly magical moment where we realizing that what we wrote is utter garbage. This can be quite depressing, but don’t worry. It’s not always true. Sometimes you just need to take a break, get a clear head, and come back another day when you can look at your writing with an unbiased eye. I would recommend asking a friend or family member to read over what you wrote when you hit this stage. They can offer either reassurance (that you aren’t writing crap) or legitimate writing advice that can be critical to your story’s development.
Wait, No, I’m Terrible
After you start questioning your work, sooner or later, you’re going to start questioning yourself. You’ll start wondering whether the problem is with the writing or whether the problem is with you. You’ll start wondering if you shouldn’t shelf the idea of becoming an author and instead go back to school, back to the office, or even back to the coffee shop.
Don’t do it. Let me stress this to you: you are not a terrible writer. Some of your writing might suck, but that does not mean that you suck too. Some of the best writers in the world have started out with crappy premises and turned them around to be masterpieces. Writing takes time and dedication and most of all, it takes practice. So keep on keeping on, and sooner or later, you’ll realize that if you practice long enough, work tirelessly, and keep on wading through the writer’s cycle that you have this.
At some point, you’re going to go through all of these phases when writing a novel. The best advice that I can give you is to power through. Work on word sprints. Make a character dossier. Time yourself. Reward yourself. Most importantly of all: don’t give up. Your best writing days are still ahead, and you’re going to be just fine.