Monday, January 23, 2012

Writing Before It Melts Away

Did I mention that it snowed here last week? Like for realz snowed? I think it was about five inches or more. It was fun. My hubby took a half day at work so he could play with the kids in said snow. Wet, white cold fluffies don't make it around here often. But when they do we take full advantage of the situation. We made a snowman. And he was HUGE. However, by the time 5 o'clock rolled around it was warming up and raining. Slowly the Snowman began to tilt to the side just a bit, the 'neck' holding his heavy head in place breaking. The torso followed suit, and pretty soon there was nothing but the base. And that too didn't last very long. I'm so glad we took the time to take kids out in the snow before it was some sad distant memory of 'remember when?'

How is this like writing? Sometimes we get these ideas that make us jump up and down, giddy with excitement because of just how awesome they are. We then sit down and start jotting down plot, scenes, character information. It's that wave of freshness that leaves us energized. Then, after some time, that jazzed feeling starts to fizzle. Just a bit at first, sort of like that snowman's neck starting to slip to the side. We begin to doubt the story, ourselves, EVERYTHING. Why did I want to write this? We question. I am so NOT good enough to give life to this story, we say to ourselves. My life is in ruins! we yell to the universe. (The last one's a bit drastic, but I think we've all been there). And pretty soon there's nothing left in the writing but a big, slushy, wet mess of nonsense.

How do we overcome this crippling situation? We get over it. Yeah, I know. But HOW to get over it, is the real question. And there's no easy answer. I've started and stopped I don't even know how many stories. Then came this point. I'm not sure when it hit, but when it did it made me free. I WANTED to finish that story that'd lost the spark. Why? Because I needed to prove to myself that I could finish something. Anything, really. Even though that story won't be seeing the light of day any time soon, it gave me a sense of accomplishment. I know that it's almost necessary to give up on a project from time to time in this writing gig, but don't do it because of doubt. Do it because you gave it everything and there's nothing left in you to give. Be proud of what you put in, even if nothing comes of it. And then, when the time comes, use it for scrap parts. (I've been known to do that from time to time.) But make sure at the end of the darkened tunnel of lost inspiration that you're satisfied with what you did. Even if it's half done, be happy that you gave it your all.


  1. Prerna! I'm glad that your kids got a chance to play in the snow. Super great. And I love that you made it tie in to writing.

    You said it best, be proud of what you put in, even if nothing comes of it.

  2. Wonderful post :)

    I agree, throw everything you have at it... and even if it's still *dead*, the learning experience is priceless :)

    We got a bit of snow where I live too (very unusual) and so much wind we lost power last night for around 6 hours.

    It's been a stormy couple of weeks :)

  3. So, so true. All writing teaches us something, so it's always going to be worth it. Beautiful post!

  4. I love this post. I've learned so much from what I've been writing that I could never have learned any other way.

  5. This is a fantastic post! I've just started to use old stories as scrap parts. Truly, it's a waste to let a good idea just sit there when I didn't finish the story.

  6. I like that, 'don't do it because of doubt. Do it because you gave it everything and there's nothing left to give.' Great quote! And a really great post.

  7. You are my sugary center of writerly goodness. I have started to make a habit of coming here to hear the "write advice" I need. I feel--- no, I know--- that this is another one of those posts I HAVE to share with my writing friends. I couldn't have said any of this better myself and when that happens, SHARE I MUST. :)

    Lots of love and yay for snow!

  8. So true, Prerna! I think you owe it to yourself to carry on and finish a story, and even if you never take it any further, you will have become a better writer because of it.

    We only seem to get a snow a day at a time here as well. Such a sorry sight, those lopsided snowmen!

  9. Melanie: thanks! Glad you liked it.

    1000th Monkey: Gah! Can't imagine losing power during winter. And for six hours! It has been a weird winter.

    Meredith: thank you. When I started writing it I was not expecting it to turn into a writing post. I just wanted to write about that dang snowman that lasted all of four hours.

    Tasha: it's amazing what I've learned from my writing, especially the bad stuff.

    Christine: It doesn't seem right letting the scraps just sit there. Especially when there are scenes you loved writing in a story that didn't work.

    Angie: glad you liked that 'quote'

    Deserae: Aw, shucks! Thanks, you're too sweet.

    Amanda: agreed. You always learn from your writing, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

  10. It's Kirsten here, but since blogger is blocking me (oddly just on your sight) I've taken on the alter identity of "Anonymous" to fool it.

    So glad you enjoyed the snow. We haven't gotten much here, yet, and the kids have been complaining. So true, about writing! Great advice!

  11. <3 the comparisons! And snow. And snowman, even though they are fleeting...Sigh lol

  12. Prerna, great post and so true! I found your blog through Kristin's and am also an Indian writer :) Best of luck with your journey and I'm excited to learn more about it.

  13. Oh I miss snow. I grew in CT but haven't had a winter there in nine years or so:( And sometimes we as writers learn the most important lessons when we force ourselves to do something out of our comfort zone. Great post!