Falling Back in Love With a Draft

Writing a novel is a long, slow process. Although the story might start out as a brilliant spark, one that you’re willing to dedicate hours upon hours to, the magic may not last.

If it withers quickly, say, after twenty pages, or half an outline, perhaps that story wasn’t ready to be written yet. Let it go. It may come back stronger later.  However, at least for me, the “I’m in love with this story” feeling lasts for months. Then, one day, BAM. It’ s gone. Perhaps it was a plothole I couldn’t fix, or a bit of a feedback that hit too raw a place for me. Perhaps I just get sick of revising and start dreaming about the good old days of first drafting. No matter what caused it, I’m suddenly in a pit of despair where I can no longer find words or energy to edit.

I’ve committed to the story, I don’t want to give up. So, what do I do?

I don’t recommend whining to your friends, although I’m certainly guilty of this. If they’re not creative, they won’t get the need burning inside you to finish the story. If they are creative they may not be sympathetic to your own struggles, because they’re fighting their own doubt-monsters of writing.


A healthy thing to do is to get fresh air. Go for a run. A walk. Dance all night at a concert. Lose yourself in the real world, not the fictional one for a little bit. Or. Just be a cat. Cats know where it’s at.


Some people recommend reading published books, but when I’m in my pit of despair, that usually makes me roll around like a dying fish full of self-loathing. “I will never write such wonderful words as these” etc.

Likewise, be cautious around social media. All it might take is is one tweet about another writer’s success for you to feel more like a failure. Likewise, openly proclaiming aaaall your struggles with your draft might make you sort of annoying.

My favorite tip for falling back in love with your work is to return to your creative works. Maybe you don’t want to write in your manuscript, but you want to write short side stories (oh hey! mine are here. Exclusive Short Stories) or create pretty photo sets of your characters on Tumblr (like these! Gif post! With kissing! Non-gif but all the adorable )

If you’re artistic, try drawing scenes from your book. Or if you’re not, maybe consider commissioning an artist (easily found on Tumblr or Deviantart) for a drawing of your characters! This one is a huge one for me. Having an actual picture of the characters that previously were only words on a page re-energized me to tell the story.  My sketches are by the brillant Giles, found here.)

carrie-02a (1)

But if nothing else works, and it’s been weeks, and the feeling still isn’t going away, it is okay to shelve the story for a little bit. Let it rest. Begin a new story. You’ll come back to the old one with fresh eyes soon, and re-write it into a beautiful masterpiece.


Either way, soon, you’ll emerge on the other side of the pit of despair. You’ll go back to writing, the words flying fast and furious. Plus, you’ll be a stronger writer for having preserved through this hard time. Now, the next time the doubt-monsters kick in, you’ll know you’ve vanquished them once before. Have you ever felt like giving up on a story? How did you work through it?

Health and the Creative Life

Creative people aren’t known for being paragons of wellness. There will never be an article called, “Workouts to get a writer’s body.” We tend to seek comfort as we create, so that all our energy goes towards the art we’re intent on making. We scarf down comfort food, guzzle caffeine, and hunch our shoulders low as we curl around the glowing screen of our computers until the wee hours.

But, that kind of life isn’t sustainable. The junk food may lead to stomachaches, the caffeine to headaches. We writers need to take care of our bodies.

Actual photo of a writer after a revising marathon.


Here are some of my favorite healthy things.

Green Smoothies.

You can make these as intense as you want. Kale has a peppery taste, but spinach is surprisingly sweet.  Add a handful of frozen berries, a handful of greens, a cup of yogurt, ice cubes, and milk (almond, soy, or regular) into the blender, and give it a whirl.


When I’m really stuck on a plot point, I know it’s time for fresh air.

Homemade granola bars

Recipe here– so easy to make, healthy, and a great snack when you’re in the middle of writing!


Nothing uncoils the knots in my back like a good time on the yoga mat. I recommend Yoga with Adriene on youtube. Her workouts are free, and the ones for the back (both upper and lower) are lifesavers for a writer who hunches over the keyboard. Here’s the link

Herbal tea

Yes. This is me. Yes, you know me as queen of coffee. But I also enjoy peppermint tea for unblocking my brain, and sleepytime tea for relaxing. Rooibos are great for when my heart wants coffee but my head says no more caffeine. It has a similar, nutty taste.

Now, get up, stretch, go for a walk! Then come back and tell me your favorite healthy routine.