Gape in wide-eyed disbelief.
That’s what I did last week when 2/3 of my WIP disappeared. I blinked and poof! It was gone.
No techie tricks brought it back from whatever grave it disappeared into. No amount of pleading, begging, bitching, or threatening made it reappear. Yeah, I know how ridiculous that last sentence sounded and read but I did do it in hopes it’d just, I don’t know, reappear.
Explain/complain to others.
Yup. I did this too. AFTER freaking out.
One of the great things about being connected with writers is finding out I’m not alone when experiencing some kind of crisis. Whether it’s my characters refusing to cooperate, losing days/weeks/months of work, or frustration with the direction a story is going, someone out there has been through the same thing.
Heed the advice given.
The downside of losing so much work is that my motivation disappeared like Houdini did during his magic acts.
For a week, I’ve struggled with writing…anything. I managed to finish my Sweet Saturday short. The last portion of it took three hours to write. The time spent and amount of starts and restarts really irked me. By the time it was written, I was happy, yes, but extremely frustrated.
The plus side? I’m trying. Writer/author friends encouraged me to write even though I was annoyed and pissed and frustrated and on the verge of tears, to channel everything I was feeling into writing what was lost. Yeah, it was a lot of one story to lose. But which is worse: losing it and moaning over that fact and never trying to write it again, or picking up where the WIP left off and giving it another go?
Motivation is so easily lost, not just in writing but in everything else. When the drive is gone, it’s easy to shrug your shoulders and say, “Eh. What for? Why bother?”
This is my self-discovered advice after this lovely crisis: rediscover and take back your motivation.
Reclaiming my motivation came in the form of a simple answer: read.
And I have been. A. Lot.
It’s helped me remember why I write and helped reconnect me to the WIP I lost. It’s been slow but better slow than not happening at all, right?
Simple, right? It isn’t. The loss still hits me, still frustrates me, still makes me wish I could shoot myself to get rid of the aching I feel in my chest.
But a second or two of wallowing in self-pity makes me realize that I can do it. So I open my laptop and start. Whether it’s the beginning of the next chapter, the middle of some scene that’s going to happen, or writing the last scene now instead of later, I do it. I’d rather write what comes to mind and play “connect the dots” later than dismiss the ideas that come for this WIP and not write anything at all.
It has been one week today since that loss. I have read about 45 short stories ( >1500 places on Kindle), 9 novels (35K + words), and over twenty children’s books (I have a Kid and we read together at night). I have also written (and deleted all of them) approximately 20,000 words, written (and kept) about 1700. I’ve tinkered with Book 2 in my PNR trilogy and started mapping a contemporary short for this fall.
I still get weepy-eyed and down-in-the-mouth over my WIP but I’m choosing to push on, push forward, keep going. I need to. I have to. As selfishas this sounds, it isn’t for my readers or fans. It’s for myself.
Because if I don’t do it for myself, my readers and fans suffer the most – the loss of a story that was never told because I chose to wallow in the mire of self-pity and loss rather than get up off my ass and keep going.
And to be honest, I never liked wallowing in mud. Crap’s hard to wash off.