Sunday, July 13, 2014

When information overload strikes the writer

Sometimes things seem so much simpler with a fluffy pen...

People always say that knowledge is power. But when is the threat of too much knowledge damaging to your creative vision?

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with the internet. Some days are amazing: I find just the right blog posts to fit my current mood and I learn so many wonderful new trends and ideas that I feel like I'm floating on a cloud of inspiration. The days I am not so fond of are the ones that during my surfing, I find that one thing that's been gnawing at me in the back of my mind. Writers probably know what I'm referring to. That fear that your book is too long or too short, or your genre is on its way out, or that agent you've been hoping to pitch to said something on twitter revealing they don't like your topic.

Or maybe you find a brilliant writer the same age as you, who writes the same genre, who comes from the same background. Maybe you beat yourself up, asking why she's where she is and you are where you are.

When that moment happens, it all seems to come in a dizzying wave. Your initial panic leads to more keyword searches like "when is a novel too long," or "contemporary romance on its way out." At times like this, I think we all tend to jump to the worst conclusions.

"I'm finished writing."

"My work is crap. I have to rewrite."

"No one will ever read my stuff."

When those days come, it's time to turn off the computer and take a big, deep breath. It's kind of like having an argument with your significant other. Remember that this wave will soon pass. Think of all the reasons you fell in love with writing in the first place. Reconnect with what inspired your story. Do something to make yourself feel good.

Then get back to work.

@MarieForleo said something I often repeat to myself: "Comparison is creative kryptonite. Stay in your own game."

There are so many opinions on the internet, so many people telling you what to do and what not to do. Ultimately it comes down to one question.

Whose opinion do you trust? Who would you rewrite for? Knowledge and information are wonderful, but I think it takes a true talent to know when to step back and trust your instincts, trust yourself, and know when to unplug.