In the previous three blog posts (and on my podcast) I talked about how to overcome the overloaded, over-stressed feeling that sometimes comes when we get feedback that is tough for us to accept or to implement. Those posts focused mainly on the process I use to both assess the usefulness of moving forward and actually keep some momentum in the revision process.
But what if you’re still stuck? What if you’ve decided a piece is really worth pursuing, but you aren’t sure HOW to make it happen?
Here are two more ideas for you to consider:
Change Your State
Critical feedback can be uncomfortable because it is pressure on you to grow and take your writing to the next level. Writing growth often comes with the same sort of growing pains we felt when we were young. But even though it may not be easy, creative growth doesn’t have to be so painful that you can’t get through it. You can consider three kinds of growth and change:
- Change the state of your abilities – Read, research, and ask for help. Your ability to make your creative vision a reality can be improved.
- Change your physical state – Part of your creative rut and perpetual “stuckness” may be alleviated if you change your process or physical location. Shake up your physical state, and you may shake loose something in your creative mind.
- Change your mental state – Sometimes it’s too easy to see the mountain between us and the sea and conclude we’ll never feel the waves on our feet. Changing your mental state involves coming to realize other writers have pushed past this wall, and you can, too. You are a better writer today than you were yesterday, and you will be a better writer tomorrow than you are today. Even if you can’t solve the problem of the mountain in front of you today, you can get closer to the ocean, and there IS a pathway through the mountain pass, you just have to keep looking for it.
Go Find Your Lost Enthusiasm
If you feel stuck and ready to give up, even though you know deep down that you’ll never be happy that you abandoned a certain project, your inability to move forward is likely tied your lost enthusiasm. If you completed a draft of your story, that means at one point you were super excited to tell that story. Now you need to go find that lost enthusiasm.
- Put yourself back into the story world and see if the enthusiasm can be uncovered – Write an unrelated scene staring your favorite character. Write something about them that has nothing to do with your story. Or, tell a tale about the least-favorite person in your story world. Or the least developed character. ANYTHING to get you back into the world of your story without feeling like you’re actually working on that particular story’s revision. That might re-ignite your passion for that world and those characters.
- Write something related to a minor point of your story – Again, this is not something that actually BELONGS in your story (probably) but is a side issue. Maybe its a recreation of some historical fact from your setting or some alternative viewpoint of a major plot point. Maybe it’s a story staring a minor character who only has two lines in your real story. Maybe it’s just the story of the little old lady who originally owned the car that explodes in your final scene.
- Make a physical, tangible list of all of the things you liked about the story before you received feedback – Realize that those things you liked are still there, you just may have to do a little work before other readers see them as clearly as you do. Finding your enthusiasm means getting excited to amplify and clarify the text so that others can see the story like you do.
Some changes and news coming your way in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!!