Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Highs And Lows

The life of a writer can be many things: exciting, wonderful, thoughtful, frustrating, calming, drawn-out, fulfilling, stressful...fill in the blank (depending on where you're at today).

One thing that I have heard repeatedly from other writers is that the highs are really high and the lows are really low.

The other day, I was writing (go figure...) and the words were just stuck in my fingers. It was so bad, it was like I forgot how to type. The delete key became my new best friend. Awful!

When I felt I had suffered enough, I went to bed, tossing the entire night because I was feeling so horribly about my writing. The man with the red pointy horns was in my head big time. He kept feeding me lines like: "Who do you think you are?" "Do you actually think that book is ever going to be any good?" "No one even likes you."

I hate when I give Satan power in my thought life. He was certainly running a muck! And I felt very low.

Then came the dawn (which always makes me think of an Avalon song). I crawled out of bed and went about my new routine. I spent time with God, I exercised and I wrote.

And wouldn't you know it...that writing hour was the best ever! I flew through my story, action and tension dripping onto every page. Awesome!

When all was said and done, I stood back and wondered how it was possible to hate one chapter, feeling as if you've never written anything more horrendous only to be followed by the next chapter which yields some of your best work? Highs and lows for sure!

Here's what I concluded about a writers Highs and Lows:

The highs are important because they keep us excited and motivated to push on towards the prize, towards improvement, towards finishing, towards publication, etc. They give us hope and keep the spark lit in us.

They also show us what our best can look like.


The lows are also necessary because they teach us about our character, our desires, our motivation, about our ability to persevere. Are we writers just when it's easy and fun? Or do we write for a deeper reason? Is there more to it than mere enjoyment?

The lows also clue us in to our reader intuition. If you write a scene that you don't like, sometimes we stand back and think, "I can fix that. A rewrite is all it needs." But other times, something in us just knows that it's no good. For whatever reason it doesn't work and it's in the best interest of our readers to toss it and begin again.

What do you think? Do you regularly experience highs and lows along your journey? Have they taught you anything about writing? About yourself? Which are you experiencing today?


  1. Highs and lows are all part of the game. Yesterday with the announcement that Barbour was discontinuing the Heartsong Presents Book Club...bigtime low.

    Getting an encouraging email from one of my editors late last night...bigtime high.

    Today, since I'm diving back into a project...the jury's still out. :)

  2. Definitely had a high last night. I'm just finishing my edits and apparently the end of my book is a lot better then the middle part.

    Because when I was editing the middle, I questioned what the heck I was doing thinking I could write.

    But after the edits, after going back and reading through it, yeah, I think I can do this :)

    Gotta love the rollercoaster ride.

  3. Lacie, I'm glad you woke refreshed, re-energized, and ready to dive into your work after your low. How I understand the vacillating emotions that are inherent in the writer's life. Gotta be prepared to hang on tightly for the wild ride.

  4. You defined this perfectly, Lacie. Sometimes I swing through these highs and lows in a matter of one minute. :)

  5. Wonderful post! I often feel writers are bipolar ;-) Seriously though, I know how you feel and I couldn't have said this better myself. New follower here. I noticed you were also hosting Jody Hedlund next month and I wanted to stop by. I'm so glad to meet new writing friends and I look forward to visiting again.

  6. Such a low writerly day for me. Thanks for reminding me a "high" is just around the bend.

  7. Hi Ladies! Thanks for stopping by today. You all made my day a great one! Thank you! ;)

    Maggie, I hope your next high comes fast and STRONG!

    Sylvia, I love making new friends too! So glad you're here! Don't you just LOVE Jody?? She's awesome! I'm so excited to have her here in Sept.

    Sarah, Isn't that the truth! Good and bad all rolled together.

    Keli, you're such an encouraging woman! I'm so thankful I know you!

    Kelley, I question if I'm cut out for this all the time. That's why I'm so thankful for the great writing days when they come...and then I hold fast to the memory. ;)

    Erica, I never would have guessed that a writer as accomplished as you are still has to face the lows! You mean it NEVER ends?!?! :)

  8. Great post Lacie. I think every writer swings through highs and lows because writing is such an emotional experience. As we live through our characters we bring their lives to the page.

    Right now I'm on a major high. I just started a new series and I am flooded with ideas. They are coming faster than I can organize them and I can't wait to start writing book one.


  9. Highs and lows. Aye the writer's life indeed. I don't know why that came out in a pirate's voice.

    I'm glad the new day brought new scenes full of action and tension. I'm looking forward to reading it as a published work. :)

  10. Finally, I can comment! Yeah. I really wanted to yesterday b/c this post is a classic. There really are such highs and lows and I'm understanding God allows the lows to keep me humble.

    I battle thoughts constantly (and thanks for what you wrote on Twitter).
    ~ Wendy


I'd love to hear your thoughts too!