Friday, August 29, 2014

Pendulum Swings

Creativity is a fickle thing. Or maybe it's the creators who are fickle. All I know is how many writers/artists swing on this giant pendulum between "all my work sucks and should never see the light of day" and "I'm the best at what I do ever and everyone should adore me."

I know I have those crazy swings. I had one just recently (that the marvelous Michelle helped me through). The past two weeks or so, I've been struggling with my storytelling--I felt like all of the stories I wrote were just series of scenes of people talking, with not much of anything else going on. I felt like all of the beginnings to short stories I've started recently were just poorly crafted, or weren't headed anywhere, or otherwise just needed to burn. I would stare at one for fifteen minutes without doing anything except self-loathing before moving onto another story and repeating the process.

But I didn't delete any of them. One of my favorite authors, Gail Carson Levine, talked about keeping everything you write in her book Writing Magic, and that's stuck with me since I read it. I'm completely paranoid about keeping every scrap of writing, including the play-by-post RPGs I'm part of and short stories I hate in the moment.

I'm glad I do keep them, too. Looking back over the beginnings of the shorts and the 15,000 words of novel I was ready to trash, I can see now that they're not as bad as I was afraid they were. Partially it's a product of time, partially the amazing support of my friends and critique partners, and partially learning not to be so hard on myself.

The most comforting thing about all this, though? I know I'm not the only one who goes through it.

What about you? Do you have pendulum swings about your own creations? How do you deal with them?

Even on bad days, Emily tries to be creative somehow. Her first published short story, "Colfax Kitsune" is currently available in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Crossing Colfax anthology and you should totally buy it. 

Find her procrastinating on Twitter @EmilyKSinger

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