How We Keep Going When It’s Not Going Well

Everything Awful -- Oh God Somebody Do SomethingInspiration.

The topic for this month’s posts made us stop and think — story inspiration? No, not necessarily. Inspiration to write. To keep going when it’s all gone to hell.

We’ve had our share of “shit hits the fan” and gut-check sort of times. We’ve gotten rejected — by editors we’ve worked with before, even — we’ve gotten plenty of R&Rs, we’ve hit the middle of a story (or the third draft of a story) and realized it was all wrong and we had to start from scratch. Dianne changed jobs, then changed jobs again. Anah had health problems…and more health problems (D says: poor dear, the health problems just won’t stop! A says: where is my robot body?).

And yet we keep coming back to it. We keep writing.

We love it too much to stop. It’s not just the love, though. We’re both too practical for that. There are stories to be told, series to finish, ideas to get on paper, and we can’t just let that go.

The inspiration to keep going is sometimes as simple as wanting to tick off the box on the to-do list. A writer writes. Sometimes a writer writes badly. Or grudgingly. Sometimes writers write knowing they’re going to throw it all out but the alternative is not being a writer. It’s inspiring to know who and what you are and to know you’re not alone with it.

Other times the inspiration is not letting each other down. When one of us isn’t feeling the love for the story, there’s always the fact that it’s not just our own story, it belongs to both of us. Bailing on a story is bailing on our partnership—unless we both jump together, which we’ve done once or twice. It’s definitely a driving force, though, the knowledge that we’re responsible to each other.

Then there’s the feeling of being done. Whether it’s the moment that we block out all the looming editing and queries and uncertainty and move the first draft to the finished folder or the first time we see the cover or when we get the first copy of a book—those moments are inspirational. Sometimes we wish we could photograph that feeling and frame it and hang it over our desks to keep us going. That feeling never gets old: OMG. We’re really writers! For real! Again!

And, we’ll be honest with you. Sometimes just never having to look at something again is inspiration in and of itself. Sometimes that’s all that keeps us going. “Get it done and you never have to see it again!” Not pretty, but certainly compelling, isn’t it?

There’s also the siren song of the next story. Irresistible, as evidenced by our dreaming about it while we write the work at hand. We’ll message each other in the day during work hours, or in the middle of edits at night, and say things like: “for our next book, let’s make the hero more melancholy” and “do you think we should set it in Chicago? Paris?”

Even when things are hard or wrong, there’s always something to keep us afloat. We’re not proud. As long as our inspiration keeps taking us places, we’ll take our inspiration where we find it.

Until next time,
Anah & Dianne

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Comments

How We Keep Going When It’s Not Going Well — 8 Comments

  1. I just loved this post. Firstly, because writing as a partner is a concept that fascinates me (I can hardly stand myself when I’m writing, much less someone else), and secondly because you feel so much of what I do and say it so well. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks, Liz. :)

      It’s weird, even though I know we each have times we feel very negatively about our own work (and ourselves), we’re so much easier on the other’s stuff. So it’s hard to get too down on joint projects because it’s partly the work of the other person.

  2. I agree, Liz. Anah and Dianne said very well. For me it’s often the excitement and promise of the next story that keeps me going.

    I’m also fascinated by your writing partnership. I’m waaay too much of a control freak when it comes to writing to be able to share my story with someone else. I don’t mind taking a critique or advice, but the final decisions have to be mine. Congratulations on fostering such a successful partnership!

    • I understand what you mean about being a control freak. The funny thing is, I’d say both Anah and I are control freaks too. We’ve just been doing this together for so long that we’ve figured out how to make it work for us.

      It helps that we tend to be particular about different things — and so each of us will defend the parts that are important to us, and we’ll usually end up with a better final product. At least, that’s the idea. :)

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