Writing is an emotional roller coaster. When you think about all of the emotions you go through every day as a writer, it is shocking we get anything done at all.
Happiness – When we are writing, getting words on the screen or page, it is exciting. Our characters are moving forward in the story line or our ideas are flowing and we are on an emotional high point. We feel a giddiness. We don’t want to stop. Nothing matters, sleep, eating, love ones, almost going to the bathroom. The fingers are flying against the keyboard.
Guilt – This emotion can run at least two ways. The first way – Why can’t I write today? I just want to get 1,000 words in today. Is that so much to ask of my brain? The second way -uh, I do have this family. I need to spend time with them but my main character is at a turning point. She is whispering in my ear what she is going to do next. But I spent the whole weekend chained to my computer and we never left the house. I have to spend time with them or I need to cut the grass. I burned all of my vacation days on my “Great American Novel” and now they want to go a family vacation.
Sadness – Why can’t I write just one word today? I have all day free and I can’t even get the word “A, An, or the” on the page. Why didn’t I write anything Tuesday? I could have gotten up early and wrote for two hours before work. Or why did my main character have to die? That means they aren’t a main character. I have to figure out how to undo this. But he told me it was his time to go. Maybe Susan is the main character. Yeah, that could work. But I wrote 100+ pages of backstory for Manny. He can’t be dead on page 158. Why? Why? Why? Why are there tears on my final draft?
Denial – What ever made me think I could write? I can’t spell. I have the grammar of a ten year old. Am I trying to be Hemingway (with these short sentences) or Faulkner (with these paragraph sentences)? My words read like the writing of the last book I read. What is up with that? I am obviously NOT a writer. That is the wrong verb right there. Why suddenly do my words sound like they fell out of a perfume bottle? Why can’t I decide between affect and effect? Daisies happen.
Anger – It is my computer and I can smash it with a baseball bat if I want, right? It is my computer and I can throw it out the window. “Yes, officer. I did not see that little old lady outside my window when I threw it. I forgot for a moment I live on the fourth floor.”
Stress – Why is the Internet down when I am trying to email my editor, my publisher, my mom? Why having I heard back from that magazine I sent the article to? That was my best work. I know I said I would have the book done by the 12th but well, my dog chewed up the power cord for my laptop. I swear it’s done. What do you mean it will cost $100 to change that font? I did not say I wanted Comic San Serif, it is either Helvetica or Courier or forget the whole thing. Stupid eReader is going to change my font anyway but still. Why are all of these bills due now and I don’t have my advance yet, my royalty check yet. Where is my dog? Why do I have to work when I am a writer?
Happiness (again) – This the greatest day of my life. The book is finished. It is a beautiful day outside. My spouse doesn’t hate me. The kids are talking to me again after my shouting match.
And then your emotions change. Wait, there is a typo on the first page. How did I miss putting a word there. I have read this stupid thing a hundred times. I should have seen that. Ugh!