July 8th 2019
"Does Writing Energize of Exhaust You?"
I’ve talked to a lot of writers over the years, and this has honestly never been a question that’s come up – until now!
So, rather than sitting down and writing the outline of my response as soon as the question was posted, I had to spend a while thinking about it.
That meant looking back over the various stories I’ve written, trying to remember particular writing sessions, and figuring out what was going on at that time. Considering I’ve been writing for over five years, that ended up being a pretty big task.
My First Thoughts
First of all, I don’t think there’s a single answer to a question like this.
I do more than one kind of writing, and my mindset for each is very different. I’m not going to even touch on editing, because to me that’s a very different process to writing, and isn’t relevant to the question.
It might seem strange that I consider blogging to be a form of writing, but it really is. And, it’s also the kind of writing that I’m probably most consistent in doing right now.
I’ve been blogging since 2014, and have built up a pretty large catalog of posts. Looking back, I’m somewhat ashamed of my early posts, but I learned a lot while writing for “Ramblings of an Author”.
I do several types of blog post, and each affects me differently:
- Promotional posts for other authors – including my author spotlights, book spotlights, and new releases. These are quick and easy to put together, because the authors provide the information, and I just copy-paste it.
- Extended promotional posts – these include character interviews, and story time posts. They’re more in-depth, and often emotional to write, because I get much closer to the stories and characters. However, they’re often fun to write, and I come away with renewed energy.
- Weekly blog posts and site news – Often my weekly blog posts are written over a number of short sessions, depending on how complex the topic is. Because these are often more personal, they can leave me a little drained emotionally and mentally. Though I will admit, I do enjoy reading people’s comments and seeing if they connect with the topic in the same way I do.
If you read last week’s post, you’ll know that I consider writing short stories some of the most intense work I’ve done.
Every story happens over a very short period of time, and not only is the action compressed into that timescale, but so are all the emotions.
I’ve written more short stories than I’ve published. That might be surprising for some people to hear, because I often don’t talk about the ones that haven’t made it into print.
There’s a reason for that. They’re just not ready for other people to read them. The writing is too raw, the stories need fixing, or I’m just not happy with how they came out.
However, almost all my short stories (published and not) have one thing in common:
The first drafts are written in a single sitting.
That’s right. I sit down with my outline, my list of characters, and an idea of where the story has end up. Then I start at the beginning and keep typing until I reach the very end.
This is one of the most draining experiences I’ve ever gone through emotionally, and mentally. A lot of the time I have to turn off my analytical side and rely entirely on making an emotional connection to the characters and events. If I don’t, I end up deliberating over word choices, second-guessing plot points, or even trying to figure out people’s pasts, which are all irrelevant in a first draft.
My First Novel ("Of Wolves & Men")
This is where the short stories all originated, so it’s no surprise that it’s a project I keep picking up and putting down.
While that might slow the writing down a lot, it has let me get to know my characters a lot better than I would have otherwise. However, it does have it’s drawbacks.
Considering that I’ve often ended up putting the manuscript aside several times, I often have to go back and re-read sections, before I’m able to continue.
That means I always sit down to write with a refreshed energy, and at least a rough idea of where things are going. I turn on something relevant from my playlist, and get typing. Unfortunately, I’ve recently hit a part of the plot that has a problem, which seems to drain my energy rapidly, while I try to figure it all out.
It’s been a couple of months since I’ve made significant headway, but I finally know what the problem is, at least.
Ever interview I’ve ever done as a writer has been a unique experience. Each of them has had different questions, which means writing fresh answers with every interview.
And I don’t mind doing that, because every interview is intended for a different audience, and I’m at a different stage in my writing career.
I’ve found that the length of the interview and how personal the questions are can make a big difference in how I answer. It also affects how long it takes me to answer questions.
I always try to be as honest as possible, because I love giving people a chance to see behind the cover, as it were, and learn about me as a writer.
The longer the interview, and the more personal the questions the more emotionally draining it can be. But I wouldn’t change a thing, because I know that somewhere out there are people going through a lot of the same things as I am, and none of us are alone.
Reviews are a very strange beast, because every book is very different from all the others. Some of them stir strong emotions as you read them, while others don’t have that affect until you look back on them.
When I write a book review, I often revisit the events of the story, and especially the high points.
A good book an easily raise my spirits as I look back on what made it so enjoyable
And, I’m going to be completely honest, I rarely review books I didn’t enjoy, because I know how much authors rely on reviews to help sell their stories. But, if a book is bad enough that I feel strongly enough that fellow readers should be told, then I write the review.
But it leaves me drained to do so, because I really do hate writing negative reviews.
Now It's Your Turn...
In the comments, let me know if you’ve written anything that left you energized, or exhausted in any way.
Since I’ve already extended the definition of writing to cover reviews, and more, consider yourself free to do likewise.
If you’ve got an example of that writing, feel free to share it, and explain why it left you energized/exhausted.
Check Out The Rest Of The Entries
Several authors take part in these weekly blog challenges from the “Open Book” group. So, if you want to see what they consider to be common traps for aspiring authors, click the link below.
About The Open Book Blog Hops
“Open Book” is a group of writers who get together each week to answer some of the questions that people pose about our work.
Each week they ask the writers to write a blog post on the same topic, and then share their post with each other’s readers.
It’s a great way to get some insights into how different writers attack the same challenges in different ways.