Motivating Through the Slumps

Sometimes it seems like all the creative roadblocks are stacked in your way, preventing your access so all you can do is sit there and stew and think EVERYTHING SUCKS. Bad reviews, nasty comments, struggling with a plot bit of a new story, etc etc. It’s tough - you put stuff out there for consumption, and it will be consumed - often in ways you don’t intend or disagree with.

The last few weeks I've felt especially tempted to sink down into some self-whining. One of the reasons is because I'm currently working on story pitches, which can be a bit taxing:

  1. Come up with a super idea!
  2. Explain it perfectly in ways that make everyone excited!
  3. Now throw it into a void and maybe hear nothing about it ever again.
  4. (. . . or only hear about it when it's soundly rejected by multiple people.)

It's hard to write these half-stories, these inklings of fun ideas because (if you're like me) a LOT of your ideas form WHILE you're writing the story, not before. I plan as much as I can stand ahead of time, but it's not until wading through the story with my characters that some things start to make sense. It feels weird to predict what they'll do or where they'll go without going through it with them. That's like cheating!

It's also easy to feel like - why am I wasting my time working on stuff I can't show to anyone (possibly ever) and no one might ever like? That's a larger issue of putting stuff out there to begin with - why bother?

The thing that helps me when I go through these slumpy-slumps is to remember that slumps end. They can be miserable, but also kind of fun in a wallowing way. Enjoy feeling put upon for a tiny bit of time ... and then get over it. Get back to doing what you love to do - CREATE! YOU know why you're bothering, so what if other people don't get it yet. You know there are stories you want to tell, things you want to figure out, things you want to show. Turn off the social streams that make you feel like you're not accomplishing anything. Turn off that voice that keeps telling you you're behind your peers. Remember that when you're in this biz -- or really any creative endeavor -- rejection is part of it. And so is work for work's sake - none of it is wasted. Even the tiny little pitches you keep murdering and burying, stacking one one top of another. Somehow, some day they will all feed into your future work and they will all be valuable.

Slump slump slump .... time's up. Get back to it!

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