Like any long-term relationship, your relationship with your novel will go through its ups and downs. There’ll be times you think it’s the best thing you’ve ever done, and times when you’ll feel like setting your computer alight to make sure no one can ever read the file.
I’ve hit both ends of this spectrum in the last week.
It’s difficult to know how to pull yourself out of a writing funk, but here are a few things I’ve found helpful.
1. Spend less time together.
Over-familiarity breeds contempt, and many of the times I hate my novel are when I’m thinking about it constantly. By taking a short break, I allow room for my creativity to recharge itself. Plus, since my memory is shockingly bad, after a week away I’ll have forgotten entire scenes and can see them fresh. And they’re usually not as bad as I thought they were.
2. Spend more time together.
The other times I hate my novel are when I’ve neglected it.
Yeah, striking a balance between neglect and indulgence is difficult, but it’s worth struggling to achieve it.
3. Develop other types of creativity.
Many writers have other creative hobbies that suffer when you decide to try to write professionally. I make quilts and am learning how to make clothes and how to embroider. By spending a few hours a week focusing entirely on something else, my characters get jealous and start screaming louder in my ear.
4. Figure out if there’s a trigger.
If you can figure out what happened to make you lose the joy, then you can try to address it. Is it stress at work? Harsh feedback? Poor contest results? A rejection from an agent or editor?
I know why I fell out of love with my novel last week – it came through some feedback that hit every single one of those doubts that’ve been lurking in the back of my head. It took me a week to tell my husband about it and, being the perfect man for me, he was furious. After telling me the person criticized my work because it was *too good* for her, he gave me this advice: “Never, *never* let one person kill your love for your writing.”
And with those words I fell in love all over again.
How do you fall back in love with your novel?
Image c. Ramzi Hashisho/sxc.hu