Why Writers Are Neurotic

I'm working on a novel and lately the writing's been going good. Not even good, great. I know where the book's headed and the characters feel real. Every day when I sit down to write, the words come pretty quickly and easily too.

And that worries me.

I'm typically a slow writer, and when I first started this book over the summer, it was torture. Words barely came, plot shifted, characters were unformed. I was sure I was the worst writer ever and the book sucked.

Now I'm paranoid that because I'm enjoying the book, because it's easy this week, then it can't be good! I'm not being critical enough and am just accepting what I'm doing without thought like a proud parent. I should be filled with self-doubt. I should be questioning and critiquing. I should be twisting my hair with my fingers in agony. This should be harder.

Or should it? Does anyone else feel this way when the writing's easy? Please tell me I'm not alone.
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5 Response to Why Writers Are Neurotic

December 12, 2010 at 8:38 AM

Totally enjoy this time. It doesn't matter if it sucks or not. If the enjoyment makes you reach "the end", use it! Any suckage will be taken care of in revisions. And if it doesn't suck, revisions will be better!

The fact is that when you're in the midst of things, it really hard to tell if it's good or not. (Watch an artist create a painting. There's a point in the middle, where it looks awful. But as the artist continues, the picture emerges.)

There are times when you write and you think "this sucks" and you look at later and think "well, maybe not". And there are times when you think "this is great" and later you think "well, maybe not". It doesn't say anything about you or your judgment. It's just part of the process :)

December 12, 2010 at 9:54 AM

Enjoy it while it lasts! No judgment until you're done with the book. Ride this wave as long as it lasts!

December 13, 2010 at 9:56 AM

When my writing doesn't feel like a struggle, I'm absolutely TERRIFIED that it's not good, and I'll stop writing until I can come back and struggle with it a bit. If it all comes easily, I know everyone will hate it.

December 14, 2010 at 12:09 PM

I'll say it, You're not alone. I do the exact same thing. One day love what I write, the next, think it's the worst book in the world that no one will want to read.

In short, we are all nuts!

January 5, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Oh, yeah. We're all crazy. I freak out if the writing is slow, or if it's coming too easily. I panic if the characters are too alive or if they fall too flat. There's no pleasing writers! ;)

- E.D. Lindquist

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