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Conquering the crazy

I think most writers would admit—but correct me if I’m wrong—that at some point along the way they’ve faced moments of crazy.

You know what I’m talking about: That feeling you get when you begin to wonder if you’re spending too much time on that one manuscript, you feel like you’ve read it so many times it’s imprinted on your retinas; or maybe you have ideas for multiple novels, and you’re trying to get them all down on paper at once before they escape your brain; maybe your family and friends are beginning to wonder exactly what it is you’re doing; and you have no firm idea whether your book or books will ever reach publication.

I think this is a natural feeling for those who are in the midst of writing novels, but it can also be a potentially dangerous thing that could inhibit future writing.

So what I want to know from you is: how do you handle the crazy and keep yourself writing in spite of it all?

8 Responses to Conquering the crazy

  1. Dale Basye says:

    Crazy? I’m not crazy…at least that’s what my chihuahua tells me as I sew little outfits for her between chapters. Today she’s dressed as Napoleon. I had to duct tape her paw inside her coat, though. She kept wresting it free.

    Right now I’m working on a book that is, currently, twice as long as it should be and it’s weeks late and I’ve completely lost perspective. I just hope that if I keep writing and writing I can find my way out. Books are easy but, wow, a series is really hard! It’s easy to meet a stranger and be charming, but now it’s like I keep running into the same person year after year and have to think of new, compelling things to say! The plus side is, in the desperate throes of a “problem” book, I have come up with loads of ideas for the next one, which I’m sure will be a piece of cake: a piece of cake that takes a year to bake and someone on Amazon will hate.

  2. Emily says:

    Crazy — totally describes my process! One day I feel brilliant — the next overwhelmed — the next like a lost cause — and then there are these manuscripts for more projects than I will admit in public!

    Partly how I handle it is by leaning on the shoulder of a close friend as together we vow to make 2012 the year we focus on ONE THING.

  3. Actually, I write to avoid going crazy. Even if it’s just a little bit each day, it helps relieve the anxiety that comes with not writing. Better still, the writing itself — when I write something that just clicks — creates all sorts of wonderful endorphins that make me nicer to be around. As far as managing projects, that’s a tough one. I think you have to give yourself license to write whatever comes on any given day, and let natural (or creative) selection do the rest. Eventually, critical mass will be reached and the project you should be working on will let itself be known. And as for those bits that don’t fit into the Chosen One, well, store them away, for their time may come eventually. The bottom line is to keep writing and don’t stress out so much about whether you’re writing the right thing or not. Whatever writing you’re doing, it’s still a better use of your time than watching the vast majority of what’s on TV (and yes, I’m talking about you, reality TV).

  4. Teri Carter says:

    I take breaks. The break might be an hour spent walking the dog or watching reruns of DALLAS from 1978, or the break might be 3 weeks of doing something/anything else.

    The writing doesn’t keep me sane, the breaks do.

  5. Me? I send lunatic mail to Jim and he talks me off the ledge. He’s so soothing!

  6. Barb Riley says:

    I think just keeping sight of your goals. Having goals, knowing what you want and when you want it, and having an idea of how you’re going to get there. I went through a particularly tough time where I self-doubted and my husband was like, “WTH is this coming from? Why all of a sudden do you think you suck?” My response… “Well, I always worry about sucking, but usually I ignore it and just keep my head down and work through it.” (sorry if that sounds dirty? I really mean just keep writing and not giving up.)

    Stupid inner critic, whispering softly, telling me all my ideas are crap, my writing is crap, and I’ll never be published. THAT is what makes us crazy… self-doubt!!!!!!

    So, as I said, I break it down. OK inner critic, you self-doubting emeffer, I’m going to finish this chapter no matter if it sucks and whether you like it or not you big @#( @#$(&( @#$()(#) T%(&.

    THAT is how I get through the crazy.

  7. Just need to LOL@Dale B. and Barb R. Too funny.

  8. Find a way to write and drink beer at the same time; I’m thinking of getting one of those helmets.

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