Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Gather your support team

Written By: Jessica Morrell - Jun• 03•16

Soccer girlsWriting, as we all know, is a sometimes glorious, but often lonely occupation. As if isolated on the raft of creativity amid a turbulent ocean, we struggle with words and ideas, plots and themes. Alone. At times this isolation makes us feel apart from the world, even abandoned. Sometimes our fight to bring a scene to life convinces us we’re going a little mad. At times we doubt not only our sanity, but our skills, our truth, our path.

This is what it feels like:  Midway through writing your novel (insert screenplay, self-help book, etc.), your own ‘ dark night of the soul’ descends, followed by a stretch of despair; then comes a breakthrough in chapter six, followed by a poisonous attack of doubt, erased by progress on chapter seven; which is succeeded by raw terror, later eased by a charming new character who comes to you in a dream and adds a new dimension to your sagging plot and offers the tiniest glimmer of hope, which is then diminished by reading the latest bestseller which  has a similar storyline and leads you to conclude that all is lost and you’ve come too late to the party.

Into this vale of tears, we must insert camaraderie, someone, or preferably a group of someones, who we can commiserate with when the literary chips are down. Or we won’t make it.

Because our team inspires us with their persistence and faith, because they understand our love of words and films and stories in any form. We speak a kind of shorthand that  doesn’t need to be interpreted. And we discuss the best office chairs to save our aching backs.

            Here is author Elizabeth Berg’s take on the subject: “People who support you in the right way make you feel really good about writing. They give you encouragement without sounding false. They try hard not to be resentful of the time you need to take away from them to write. Also—and this is critical—they make you feel that you will do even better. That’s not because they like what they’re seeing now; rather, it’s because they like what they’re seeing enough to believe that you’re in this for the long haul, and that you will continue to grow and improve as a writer.”

Keep writing, keep dreaming, hang out with fellow writers

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