Getting Back To Writing - Frustration is Okay

Going back to writing after a break can be a slow, unsteady, and frustrating. You'll struggle to get even a single sentence out, all the while thinking "didn't I used to do this quite a lot? Aren't I know for writing a few thousand words in a day? HOW DID I BREAK THE PART OF ME THAT KNOWS HOW TO WRITE?!" Then there can be general moodiness and pouting and maybe even tears.

Frustration is normal, it's okay, and you will survive this stage of your writing career. No, honestly, you will. It might take you a couple of days, it might take a couple of months, but that frustration will pass when an idea comes along that goes further than five thousand words.

What to do while you're frustrated? Kinda depends on what you're doing. Personal experience goes as follows:
  1. *dramatically throws stalled WiP aside* Okay, so what would I most like to write in the whole wide world? Hmmm a story about a haunted house? Let's go! (Four weeks and 60k later, I had the first draft of Ghost!Story)
  2. ...nothing's working. Not at all. Time to seek out some inspiration :D
  3. I can't seem to get this idea working properly right now. Maybe I need to save this for another day. (I'll talk more about this next week).
  4. Why don't I take a look at that old WiP I put aside a while back? Huh, maybe if I try that, it'll work... OH HEY CHECK IT OUT I'M WRITING! :D
  5. I'm gonna throw ideas at a wall until something sticks. Something will stick.
  6. Okay, it's time to put the writing aside. I need a videogame.
  7. ...I should probably go outside and get some fresh air. When was the last time I actually did that? Er...
  8. Music, music, music, listen to all the music, seek inspiration, let it wash over me, let the ideas come, don't force it... oh, wow, I really do love this track! The whole soundtrack is amazing, actually. Ooooh, inspiration!
  9. *does the Cole Burke Inspiration Dance* Sadly, there is no actual footage of this...
Last week I talked about taking it slow. Well, to me, taking it slow can also mean not actually writing but thinking a whole lot about it. I can daydream ideas, develop them in my mind, play around with characters, and maybe jot down a few ideas to see if it'll go anywhere. The good thing about past experience with this kind of frustration means I know it will pass. I just have to find the right idea. It's waiting for that right idea that can be so frustrating. Especially when you're online and share so much about your writing experience with others and you're stuck and they're all flying by with epic word counts.

REMEMBER: Just because everyone else is writing, doesn't mean you have to/suck for not being able to/have to compete with them. Take everything in your own time, and don't compare yourself to others. That ain't gonna help the frustration.

So don't worry if you're frustrated about the rough time you're having getting back to writing. It's a process we all go through. You aren't alone, and it will pass in time.

How do you cope with your between ideas or slow progress frustration?


  1. Wonderful post! I'm still struggling to get back into writing. It does really stink. Although, I did just come up with an idea I love. I cope by listening to loads of music, binge watching Netflix, and rewatching Studio Ghibli movies.

    1. Thank you! Yeah, it can be such a nightmare, but we all get there in the end one way or another.

      Music is definitely one of my coping strategies.

  2. *hugs this post* Frustration is the WORST. Dealing with a lot of it just now.

    My strategies?

    1) Push through it. Usually the go-to method for me, especially if the frustration is for reasons beyond the story (e.g. stress about querying).
    2) Step back, read or play video games, and wait to realize where the problem is (for when the frustration is something in the story not working, but I can't figure out what).
    3) Put the story aside for just now. This has only happened once, I usually swear by finishing my stuff, but in this case the story just wasn't coming together cohesively and needed a LOT more time. I doubt I'll revisit it for a few years.

    1. Yeah, sometimes you have to keep going even when you don't want to. I am also a big fan of videogame retreats from writing. Perhaps a tad too eager, really :P


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