self-loathing spiral that follows a bad bit of writing

Last night I started writing a short story and I was delighted with how the first couple pages came so effortlessly.

I made some notes for how I wanted to continue with the story the next day, then set it aside and watched a movie from the List.

When working on a fiction project I feel like my best work comes in the morning, so I try to get to my desk within an hour of waking; today, I thought it would be a good idea to get back to this story as soon as possible, to shower and dress and drink some coffee and then jot a couple new pages before attending the 11 a.m. work meeting online.

Plundering in a Burning Village, Egbert Lievensz. van der Poel

But it wasn’t a good idea, because the writing didn’t go well, and the lack of flow just exacerbated this already-exacerbated feeling I’ve had over the past few days where I’m convinced that my writing actually isn’t very good, that I haven’t developed a voice that’s comfortably readable, and that the clunkiness of my prose is really just an umbrella problem that overshadows a general paucity of good material.

So I wasn’t in a good mood for my work meeting. It’s 2 p.m. and I’ve done a fair bit of work on the site but I think I’ll just write another blog post, maybe do a little reading, watch a movie from the List and then get back to the story in the evening with a glass of wine beside me. Same circumstances in which it was made.

Maybe if I can recreate that environment for the next couple nights I can get it done.


  • It can be very challenging (oh, those self-critical demons!) to continue to do creative work when one is not feeling a satisfying sense of flow. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. I hope/trust you will persevere, however. I have lots of empathy for your current situation.


    • Thanks for the reassurance and kind words! I suspect lots of people being quarantined at the moment are spending a little too much time in their heads, as I am, and inflating small roadbumps so that they look like mountains. I’ve resigned myself to the idea that, even if it turns out that I’m terrible at this, what else would I want to do?

      Point is, I do it for the pleasure, not to be Shakespeare.


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