Wednesday, June 2, 2010


So what to do after having cleaned up your dog manure mess of a word-hoard? In a word: recover. These are tips that help, not completely cure, but help, after cleaning up the mess or even after making a mess, and spewing words across the page in manic fashion. As many writers out there probably know, there’s a kind of depression after that, when the endorphins die down. Some of these might even work for that wonderful rejection letter we’re all bound to receive at some point.

  • To start, sprinkle the scene of the crash with baking soda. This kills the smell and may help keep you away from trashcan hats.
  • Realize you’re not the only one. I think I’m safe in saying that all writers go through the dog-mess, post-writing depression, and rejection blues. Even Shakespeare got bad reviews. Recognize your connection to the wider community of writers and…
  • Realize that it’s ok. It’s okay to mope, for awhile. Go ahead. But don’t stay there.
  • The goal is to recover and recoup, not to wallow. After you roll around in the initial blahs, get out and do something fun that you enjoy. The cuts and rewrites may hurt, the rejection may sting, the high may be missed, but ultimately the work will be stronger, regardless of what propels it there. Discover who you are outside of the clean-up, the rejection, the high, the whatever. Do something physical, something you enjoy, just a leisurely walk or a new endeavor with a friend, rock-climbing, surfing, wherever your passion runs. Hit the sheets with your lover or go out and hold hands with him/her at a movie. I can’t recommend alcohol unless it’s in the first wallowing stages or it’s canoeing with friends. Alcohol in the writing process should be used in celebration, not recovery.
  • Bath salts. Can’t overstate the value of quality bath salts.

Basically, take some time to get your head back on straight. Nurture yourself as the font of words, don’t punish yourself for the algae growing on the bottom of the pool. Pamper yourself, but don’t forget to write on. After all, the recovery is only part of the writing journey. To be a writer, you actually have to sit down and get words on paper.

Good luck.