This post is about those pesky bugs we authors come down with: that writer-itis that strikes us down when we feel we’re doing okay, or we think we’re recovering from our last bout of writer’s block. It can feel as though we’re the only ones who come down with these afflictions: which is why I’m writing this.
None of us are alone here!
So,what is delusionitis? In short, it’s a set up and fall.
Tell me I’m not the only one who’s been here: I’m writing. It’s just “clicking,” you know? I’m shutting down the inner editor, ignoring my Eeyore (which is what I call the bugger). I’m even feeling good about my writing. Heck, I’m feeling great.
This stuff is gold, y’all. GOLD.
Then, a few days later, or maybe during a read-through or editing pass, I go back and read those golden passages. And they are so stinking bad I kind of start to feel nauseated.
Anyway, it’s all good. Because at the root of this affliction is the fact that I have been writing.
It’s good not to get hung up on how bad a first draft is when you’re writing it. And it’s good later on to be able to see some ways that drafts needs improvement. In fact, for some writers “delusionitis” is kind of critical to getting a first draft down. It can a way of staying confident enough not to give up. Because of that, I try not get too frustrated when the blinders eventually come off.
Secondguessitis is the affliction of “second guessing,” of doubting and revisiting your decisions until you basically just stop writing.
Maybe you have a character that could conceivably do “this” or “that,” and you’re not sure which choice she should make. You could tweak the circumstances a bit to make either scenario more credible. You’re not sure, though, where you want the story to go.
I have definitely been there. I second guess myself constantly…. Heck, I even second guess whether I should be “wasting my time” working on a continuation to my Herezoth trilogy instead of writing something different. And I already have more than a first draft written of that very continuation.
One thing you can do treat secondguessitis: take some time to outline. It doesn’t have to be complex or involved. Just consider where each choice could (or would likely) take your story and your characters. That sometimes helps me make a definitive choice.
Do I still doubt myself? All the time. But at least while I’m continuing to doubt myself I’ve made a decision and written out more scenes. Those scenes get written because I’ve made a choice.
And the planning that goes into the choice I leave behind? Well, that’s great fodder for inspiration for other stories.
3. Split Vision
Split vision can take multiple forms.
- You see the beginning, end, and middle of various subplots all at once, and you get confused because you want to write them all. RIGHT NOW.
- You see various ideas for different stories, related or unrelated, all at once in your head, and you get frustrated because you want to develop them all. RIGHT NOW.
All of this can be frustrating. And it can require heightened methods of organization and the development of patience. But honestly, when this is your biggest writing problem, you should be singing your happy song. Things are good.
The biggest problem with split vision is two-fold: lack of focus, and the tendency to forget some of your ideas because they are so manifold and coming so fast. Hence organization.
The good thing is: organization is a great skill, and patience is truly a virtue. You’ll learn both, and both will serve you well in the greater scheme of things.
So, are you survivor of any of these “illnesses”? How did you treat them? Do you find other things besides these weigh you down when you write?
If you enjoyed this post, you can sign up to follow my blog by email at the top right of the page. That way you won’t miss out on future posts. You might also enjoy these related posts:
- Three Parts of the Writing Process that Get Writers Stuck
- Writer’s Guilt
- Writer’s Doubt
- On The Purpose of a First Draft