But on Tuesday you try again and the story flows better; you've got over that trying bit of dialogue or description and feel like you've found your rhythm. Things are great! You love this story! These characters are the bomb! You're the top! You're the Colosseum!
And then Wednesday? Boom!
In case you couldn't tell, this cycle happens to me quite a lot - especially when, as with the past several weeks, I'm given the mixed blessing of plenty of writing time. The ratio of good writing days to bad writing days seems skewed and you become frustrated with both the story and yourself, insecure about everything from the characters to that sentence you just wrote. I've dubbed it the crap cycle, where the scene that sounded great yesterday sounds horrible today and you can't seem to heave the story out of the rut it's inexplicably fallen into. There are plenty of blog posts out there to encourage you through this artistic slough, to pump you up and get you running again, but I would like to point out one thing:
the crap cycle
is a good thing
The days when we feel like our writing is rubbish and we're forced to evaluate our work through somewhat jaded eyes are good and necessary parts of the process. We need to maintain a healthy cynicism, a recurring recognition that we are always capable of doing better. If all we're doing is gleefully throwing out words, happy with everything we write, never suffering from the frustration of not achieving all we have in our hearts to achieve - then maybe our goals are too low. Maybe our desires aren't big enough. Maybe we need to step back and reevaluate, and then step forward again and try harder.
a little perfectionism
is a good thing
We do need to write fearlessly. We need to ignore the editor side of us. But not all the time. Execution is as important as the idea. We should take time to make our sentences ring true, our dialogue cohesive, our descriptions interwoven and spot-on. If we leave everything until the editing process, I do not believe our finished product will be as good - as finished - as it could be. Allow yourself time to concentrate on making what you write solid, and the work of polishing, the punch-list at the end of the job, will be that much easier for it.
is not pessimism
All things in moderation. Both of these principles can be taken to extremes: we can obsess too much over details, spending so much effort rewriting yesterday's work that we never get to today's, and we can become negative. Remember to forge ahead. When you've finally gotten through a tough bit, give yourself a pat on the back and move forward; don't go back and fret over it again. Never let your recognition that improvement is always possible become warped into an attitude of depression, envy, or defeatism. Rather, let it spur you on to better things. Enjoy the times when you are the top, and remember that the times on the bottom are there to keep us humble and still striving.