Emotional Ups and Downs? You’re Not Alone

If you don’t mind a bit of bad language — okay, lots of bad language — Chuck Wendig often has amazing insights into writing. His latest blog post starts with an infographic, so if you want to avoid an overdose of the bad language, you can take a look and stop right there. But it’s worth going on. Especially if you’ve ever slammed your head against the wall — literally or figuratively — more than once, while writing a book.

The Emotional Milestones of Writing A Novel: A Handy Guide!

As Wendig says, the milestones are different for everyone, but I can relate to most of them. The one that really gets me, every time, is at 66% — “You know what, just f__k it.” Because no matter how great the idea is and how well it seems to be going, there will always be that point when I’m tempted to delete the whole thing and write it off as something I dreamed up in a delusional state.

And let’s not forget the milestone at 33%, when the great idea is beginning to look not so great and another story idea pops up and tries to tempt me away because “This one will be so much better.” Which leads, inexorably, to that horrible 66%.

I’m not sure whether it’s frustrating or inspiring that Wendig goes through the same emotional cycle with every book and has to remind himself of that fact. At least I know I’m not alone. But it would be nice if there was someone around at critical emotional points to remind me that the exact same thing happened with the last book, so quit pissing around and get back to work.

Maybe I’ll print out the graphic and pin it up on the wall in front of the computer. Or make it my desktop image.

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