I was feeling badly about my day’s writing. It did not seem right. Did not flow. Seemed forced. The whole project seemed empty, not getting anywhere. The language felt stilted, stuffed. Frankly, dull. No good.
It is not the first time I have felt that way. It will not be the last. Moreover, I know such a mood is quite common for writers. It is altogether easy to get depressed (if that is not too strong a word) as my writing stumbles from a lack of energy and desire.
Nevertheless, there is a solution.
As a matter of course, I read all the time. But when I get into this foul mood, it is important to read something really good by a writer I admire. Then I simply give myself over to that reading for three or four hours; immerse myself into the experience of good writing.
What happens is that my energy and outlook is restored. Why? Because that kind of engagement in good writing is what made me want to become a writer in the first place. I am not reading analytically, I am reading for the sheer pleasure of the story, the characters, the text, and the words, the writing. I am going back to the beginning, to the place that originally enthralled and motivated me to become a writer.
Being absorbed in another writer’s craft is rather like sitting down with a good writer friend, and unburdening myself of my authorial shortcomings. I do not have to say a word. I cannot. However, as I read, it is as if my writer friend is saying, “Have you forgotten? This is why you wanted to write. It works this way.“
For writers it is always possible to go back to page one.