When Nothing You Write Sounds Right


It’s one of those days.

When I write a sentence, delete a sentence, write a sentence, delete the entire paragraph, and then proceed to thump my forehead repeatedly on the keyboard so that random letters whizz across the screen that are not much worse than what I had just erased.

Nothing I write sounds right. Even this post does not sound right. I am not writing rightly. I am not right when I’m writing. Okay, now I’m just not making any sense. Right.

This experience isn’t unique. I’m sure many writers have experienced it before, when instead of jewel-words dripping from your figures, ugly, cobbled stones thud out, desecrating the page.

At times like this, I find myself thinking the three following things.

1) I can’t write.

2) I hate my writing.

3) I hate myself. I am useless. I am washed-up. What is the point of living? *insert long, drawn out, dramatic wail followed by fading to darkness*

These thoughts are coupled with a dash of hair-pulling and face-in-pillow screaming.

Suffice to say, that is not helpful. So I am going to give you some helpful advice, and in the process, gain a better perspective myself, too.

One of the first things I, and you, have to realize is that not every day is going to be the same. There are going to be bad days. There are going to be good days. Yin and yang sort of thing, y’know? The point I’m trying to make is life has its ups and downs, and writing is the same. Acceptance, people. Acceptance of the vicissitudes of this damned existence.

Next, the most important thing you and I have to do, even though we would rather pry out each of our teeth individually without anesthesia, is to keep on writing. Yep. I know, you don’t really want to do it. Like, at all. But, you have to. Sorry. That way, even if it’s a bad day, you have a couple of paragraphs or sentences to work with the next day, no matter poorly put together they are. That way, you can reach your word count. That way, you’re still getting in some practice, even though it feels like you’re being raked across the coals of Hell in the process.

Finally, you should be forgiving towards yourself. Tell yourself that it’s okay, that these things happen, that you’re human, that you’re not perfect, whatever it is, find a source of comfort and latch onto it with all the will of an obstinate toddler clutching its favorite toy, because if you hold onto this self-hatred and resentment, all you’ll do is mess up tomorrow’s day of writing, and maybe even the day after that, and maybe you might even not ever write again, and that’ll be a tragedy, because the world needs your words (that could be a possible source of comfort?). So, forgive yourself. Don’t scream in your head as you’re writing ‘OHMYGOD, YOU ARE PATHETIC USELESS EEEP NO HOPE’. Instead, be nice to yourself. Morph the barbed aspersions into soft, blunted words of encouragement, ‘There, there, that’s okay, just keep writing, it’s just a bad day, just do your best.’ See? Do you feel better already? I do.

Anyway. Good luck with all of your writing endeavors. And, honestly, this applies to all creative folk out there who make new things out of other things. And sometimes, it’s even a matter of perspective. Maybe your work isn’t that bad, it’s just that you’re in a critical mindset, and are viewing it in a distorted, negative light.

Just tell yourself that it’s okay, and keep on going. Okay. Bye.

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