Monday, August 22, 2011

Bad Writing Days

My topic today is fitting for a blah Monday.

Bad Writing Days.

We all have those days. I'm not talking about writer's block or days when you decide not to write at all. I mean those days when you sit down at your Word document and try your damnedest to put something good down.

And everything comes out as word vomit.

This usually happens to me when I'm feeling hopeless to begin with. I start typing and out come the cliches. Then I think, I need to be more original, and out comes the purple prose. And just when I realize maybe I'm trying too hard, out come the rhetorical questions. They're my kryptonite.

It's sort of like an out-of-body experience. I'm watching myself get worse and worse but am powerless to stop it.

So usually what happens next is, I find something shiny to distract myself from the despair of being a sucky writer. Most recently? Angry birds. Don't try it - it's really addicting. And once I feel sufficiently distracted, I can usually go back to my work-in-progress with a better attitude, and the determination to make it work.

Unless it's a really bad writing day.

What do you do with your bad writing days? Do you call it a wash and delete it all or do you keep it and try to fashion that purple prose into something resembling good writing?

And just so this post isn't a total downer, here are some exercises for getting those creative juices flowing:

  • Pretend you're the villain in your story - no, really. If he wears a black cape, put on that cape and walk around the house plotting your hero's demise. It's not writing, but you might just get some useful villain catch-phrases out of the exercise.
  • Go to pandora and pick a song to be your MC's favorite. Get up and dance to it. Think about why it's his or her favorite and if it could be incorporated into the story someplace. If not, just let it wash over you while you plot your villain's demise.
  • Get out of the house/library/writing space and go someplace that fits your setting. Even if it's not the same state or country. Check out places your MC would normally go, like a high school or a local dance club. Pay attention to details. Bring your notebook to jot.
  • Become an expert on your MC via youtube. If your MC is a boxer, watch boxing videos. If she's a dancer, watch the dancing vids. Violinist. Swimmer. Tattoo artist. There's pretty much something for everyone, and you might even discover a new favorite hobby (bird watching?).
  • Eat a food you think a character might eat, even if it's french fries dipped in ice cream. What better way to get into character?
  • Take a nap if you can. Not only will sleeping put your brain in a better, healthier place, there's also a possibility you'll be inspired by a dream. If nothing else, at least you'll feel different when you wake up.
And when it comes to Bad Writing Days, different is always better.

Happy Monday!! *cheesy grin*


  1. This is totally me today! I have to crank out 1.5k a day until the end of the month to finish my novella by my self-imposed deadline. I've been writing since 8am and I'm fighting for every single word. But you have to make yourself write, even when you're not necessarily feeling it. I've had to train myself to turn off my self-editor and just push out that first draft.

  2. These are such great exercises, Katrina! I especially love the youtube one. :)

  3. Amanda, good luck! I am the worst at turning off my self-editor. That's why I find shiny distractions the most successful course. :) 1.5k today! You can do it!

    Emy, thank you! I'm glad you found something helpful in my rambling. I personally use that youtube one all the time. Here's a lindy hop that's in one of my fun scenes:

  4. I swear, it's like you just wrote a blog post about me. Those are some pretty interesting suggestions! I will definitely refer to this list next time I feel a little worthless in the writing area. Another one that I find myself doing a lot in my free time is googling pictures of actors I would choose to play y characters in the movie lol.

  5. Ugh! I hate those days. Because I don't have a deadline to worry about I just walk away until I'm feeling inspired. Next time I will need to try your tips. They are great :)

  6. Yeah, I was thinking about going to bed myself. Either that or watching Psych. Still deciding ;p

  7. We all have those days! It's a curse. Lately I have turned to sourpatch kids. I don't know what it is about those darn things, but they are great! LOL. I love the tips you shared too! I am going to have to use them. Thanks for the inspiration! That's always good to start out a Monday with :)

  8. Love your suggestions! I definitely have bad writing days, and these are great tips to push past the word vomit :)

  9. Blogger hates me today, so let's see if this works...

    These are excellent suggestions! Taking a nap is what I usually do. I don't usually end up sleeping, but something about the dark and the lack of distractions just make the ideas flow.

    And french fries and ice cream? Yum! :)


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