Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The (Pep) Talk

by Mary Allen

There comes a moment in every WIP in which it seems that the kindest thing to do is hit the delete button, empty the trash, and start fresh.

Don’t do it. It’s less dramatic than the lusty zing of ripping a page from a manual typewriter, wadding it up with a growl, and pitching it across the room, but it’s more permanent. 

Pause. Take a breath.

This is where a critique group is helpful. In my opinion, the best group is the one that meets face to face. It’s a luxury most don’t have. Don’t despair. Help is out there. ACFW offers on-line critique groups for your specific genre. Even established writers might find an occasional critique session helpful.

There is also this wonderful invention called a phone. It allows you to call another writer and moan to an empathetic ear.

"This WIP is terrible! It’ll never be finished! What brain freeze made me think I could write?"

Of course, you’ll then hear how they’ve been through the same thing. Oddly, such an exchange can fortify you rather than confirm that throwing in the towel and throwing out the “trash” is the best step. It reminds you that these feelings are normal and will pass. Soon, you will fall in love with your story again. Don’t wallow in self-pity. Swallow your pride and make the call.

Writing fiction can be a love-hate relationship. You pour yourself into the story for hours on end and like eating an entire pie at a sitting– no matter how good it is—you get sick of it. Stuffed. Glutted. Gorged. A little fast may be in order. Take a break from it. Throw yourself into your family, church activity, praising God, or a nature walk. Sometimes simply removing self completely, if briefly, from the effort of writing will refresh you and vitality miraculously reappears in your already-written word.

Remember this the next time you are tempted to take overly drastic steps with your WIP.

How many times have you “given up” on writing? How many WIP have cause you to run from the room screaming? How many have you trashed and regretted it? Speak up. Your episode might just be the pep talk some fellow author needs today.

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