Scanning the interwebs this morning, I noticed that it seems like there's a rash spreading like a bad case of poison ivy. Now, I don't know if you can really catch something across the internet, but this seems to be a contagion of some sort, so beware. It sounds like a debilitating malady and I sure as hell don't want to come down with it - especially not so close to the new year.
What the hell am I talking about, you say?
Some people call it The Squirms. Over at Killer Chicks, Joann referred to it as Suck Filteritis - wherein, if I read it correctly, one's suck filter breaks down and the feeling of total suckage comes pouring through. Whatever you call it, the contagion has the ability to wipe a writer out.
And it spreads.
It starts out with a little niggle of self doubt. "This sentence sucks." Then it grows. "I can't write this scene." And grows. "I can't believe how bad this is." If left untreated, a small case of it can turn into full blown Writer's Block.
Back in 2005, I caught a bad case of it from the rejection letters off my first book. I hated myself and everything I wrote. Partway through my second book, I just stopped writing. I didn't write a damn thing for nine months. It was like being pregnant. I was moody and bitchy and bloated with words. The only difference was there wasn't a biological clock ticking down where I knew eventually the pregnancy would be over and I'd have something beautiful to show for all my suffering.
In my case, I had to force a delivery. PUSH! And the words eventually popped out. The contagion had turned my words into malformed monsters, but they were at least coming out again.
Okay, enough of that analogy. I'm grossing myself out. The point here is this contagion thing is awful and needs to be taken care of at the first signs. Kill it quick before it spreads. Because the longer you leave it, the worse it gets.
How do you kill it?
In my case, it took a wise person telling me to give myself permission to suck. (Sorry, I don't remember exactly which wise person. It was years ago, after all.) Now when I feel the disease taking over, telling me how much I and all my writing sucks, I acknowledge my suckitude. I embrace the suckage and move on. I can always fix the crap later, but I can't fix a damn thing if I don't put words down on paper.
And when I've finished and it still sucks? Well, I haven't experienced that yet. I figure if it still sucks after I'm done with the edits, then I haven't edited enough, or I'm too close to it to see the way to fix it. I put it away and hope to come back to it someday. (Like the manuscript I call Justice - my attempt at writing a mystery. It's 80% done with editing. Maybe someday I'll see the way to fix it and actually finish it.)
So, how about you? Are you feeling the first niggles of the contagion? Is there something about the end of the year that makes this crud creep up on the writerly populous? What do you do to kill the disease?