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March 2, 2018

 

Do you ever have writing meltdowns? You've been pounding away at the keyboard, scribbling in a notebook, or talking into a recording device (hey, some people to it!) and you're finally done. So here comes the editing phase. The first round is pretty easy. You hunt down little things like grammar and punctuation and missing or repeat words. You think, hey, this isn't so bad. I've got the hang of it.

 

Then comes the second editing phase. If you're like me, this is the phase where you start questioning words. It's not too intense yet, though. Because the real intensity comes after the third or fourth draft when you send it out to betas. Maybe a few positive ones come in and you feel pretty good.

 

Or maybe you start getting apparently contradictory feedback. People question POVs, structure, motivation, and sometimes, your beautiful, baby words. You then start to go through "writer's grief:"

 

1. Denial - no, they didn't just question my brilliant work of art/next Lord of the Rings/Nobel Peace Prize winning manuscript (Okay, hopefully none of us are quite that delusional)

 

2. Anger - how dare they question my work! Their stuff isn't even that good.

 

3. Bargaining - maybe if I explain it to them they'll get it and say I'm right.

 

4. Depression -  I'M THE WORST WRITER IN THE WORLD AND SHOULD JUST GIVE UP!

 

5. Acceptance - okay yeah, I guess it still needs work.

 

It's a process we all go through to some extent (It's not just me, right?). But like the actual grieving process, there is a very important key to getting through it with at least a modicum of sanity.

 

Community. As writers, many of us are introverts and all of us love to hide in our respective writing caves with a computer/journal/notecards/recording devices in order to bleed our stories onto the page, but we need support.

 

Our non-writerly friends and family can be helpful, but no one quite gets the struggle like other writers. I have one friend in particular (Sharon, I'm looking at you) who I'm in constant communication with about my words. We freak out with each other, get excited about that perfect turn of phrase, and celebrate when good things happen.

 

This keeps me sane, as does the twitter writing community (much love in particular to my beta Evie, even with her death threats over sad endings!) 

 

Do you have a writing community? What does that look like for you? Tell me, because I want to know!

 

Keep writing!

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