Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Write Your Way Out of The Bad Days…

We all have bad days.

Bad days in general and bad days for writing and days when we can’t understand anything we read and days when the hope of publishing turns into the worst idea we’ve ever had…

This blog covers Reading, Writing, and Publishing and I’m still offering, “Write Your Way Out of The Bad Days…”, as an option in all three pursuits.

Let’s say you’re an avid reader, it’s what makes the rest of life bearable, but you hit one of those days when every book you have and even the new ones you trudge out to buy just seem like so many dead words on dead paper from dead trees.

Write Your Way Out of It…

No one has to see what you write. You can even tear it up after you’re done. The thing is, though, that many people smarter than me have recommended writing as a pressure relief valve for all kinds of rotten states of mind.

I was once in a therapy session and my deeply-held bad feelings about my father were the point of focus. The counselor told me to write my father a letter and tell him everything that was wrong with him. Write it, put it in an envelope, seal the envelope, address it, put a stamp on it, and bring it to the next session. {What helped motivate me to accomplish this was that I was checked into a facility I couldn’t leave with ease and the counselor was a former biker, built like the dark lord of an ominous army.}

I wrote, I enveloped, I addressed, I stamped. I showed up at the next session (it was a group) and the counselor took us out to the parking lot and told me to take out the letter. He put down one of the coffee cans we used as outdoor ashtrays, handed me his lighter, and told me to burn the letter.

This might sound like some gimmicky psycho-game but it worked. As the letter flamed away in that dirty coffee can, my hate for my father began to melt away. I can positively date my release from the oppression of blaming my father for what’s wrong with me from the sight of the smoke of that letter…

Well, the reasons for a reader having a bad day don’t have to be quite as dismal. Still, write a letter, write a note, write on the fogged-up window. Let the brain connections to your hand provide a conduit for the release of your murky feelings.

Write whatever you feel, write through the pain to personal resolutions for improvement, write like your life depends on it, write to your heart…

Just write.

You may not feel immediate relief. Sometimes this action is like a time-released medication. Just take the pill and trust in your deeper mind to spread the healing…

I think the writers reading this post have already done various wild things to get them over the hump of a bad writing day. I truly hope they relate their experiences in the Comments :-)

But, hey, you writers! Ever thought about writing about why your writing is bad?

What about bad days in the push to publishing? I’m writing this post because I’m in the middle of one of those days…

I got my book’s manuscript back from my editor a couple weeks ago and was surprised at how few corrections were needed. I met her face-to-face two days ago and it became a two-hour session of her defending my book against every bad thing I’ve had people say about it.

That got me on a high and certain highs can have within them the slippery slopes of ego-inflation…

Yesterday I received the corrections deemed necessary by a special Review Board. You’d have to actually read the book for any explanation of why I submitted it to them to make sense.

This morning, as I went through my email, I linked out to an article about building an author platform (something quite important if a writer wants their book to have a fighting chance at being noticed amongst the 2,000-odd books that will be published the day their own work is released).

The high of ego-inflation from the talk with my editor combined with the vast importance of the necessary revisions from the Review Board as well as the weight from the sheer multiplicity of tasks necessary to prepare for publishing and they imploded. I slid right into a bad, funky, foul-smelling, wicked mood…

So, all that was left was to tell myself:

Write Your Way Out of It…

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10 responses to “Write Your Way Out of The Bad Days…

  1. Karla Telega February 11, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Good Lord! Have you been listening in on yesterday’s phone calls? My friend got hit with an emotional atom bomb yesterday. As she was talking to me on the phone, another call was coming in. When I called back it was my doctor telling me that the compression in my neck is worse than they thought. For now that means long-term pain management and limited activity.

    Still, I had committed to posting a blog three times a week – and of course, people are expecting it to be funny. I ended up pulling a story out of my book, because hours into the exercise, I had about three paragraphs, and I hated them all.

    I hadn’t thought about writing my true feelings just for me, but I think I owe it to myself right now. Thanks for the suggestion. I think it will be a big help.


  2. Alexander M Zoltai February 11, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    Yes, I was listening in. It’s a new feature of WordPress blogs–subscribe or make a comment and I have you phone number :-)

    Pain management–check. Limited activity–moving fingers should be ok, as long as your posture is correct and the hand/arm/shoulder angles are calculated to induce limited stress…

    Yes, Karla, write those true feelings just for *You*…


  3. Simone Benedict February 11, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    I’ve been wondering about your meeting with your editor, Alexander. It sounds like it went well. Glad to hear it.


  4. cmmarcum February 11, 2011 at 10:23 pm

    Congratulations, Alexander. What a relief, hey? No massive rewrite.

    You’ll want to be collecting some blurbs, too. Publishers always want blurbs. Biggest guns you can find.


    • Alexander M Zoltai February 11, 2011 at 10:32 pm

      “You’ll want to be collecting some blurbs, too.”

      In process…

      “Publishers always want blurbs.”

      Technically, I’m self-publishing. So… Yes, I always want blurbs :-)


  5. Shaina Richmond February 13, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Thank you for writing this. Writing has put me in a funk lately and I’m not sure why. My new ‘hobby / passion / addiction’ of writing has become quite the double edged sword. I made the horrible mistake of working a lot of my own life into this novel I’m trying to finish. Yesterday I found myself crying as I thought about a scene I’m trying to write. I keep wondering – is anybody going to want to read this drivel? But at the same time I’m compelled to keep going. Some days it’s for the people who’ve read my books and want more. Some days, it’s for me. For the past week it’s been more for me, and that’s okay. If I write something I don’t like, like your blog post says, I don’t have to let anyone see it.

    Very inspiring. Thank you.



    • Alexander M Zoltai February 13, 2011 at 11:34 pm


      I can absolutely commiserate with your feelings. Work on my WIP has put me through a many-layered wringer that’s tweaked my feelings in ways I’ve never felt…

      One thing about writing your own life into a work–especially if it moves you deeply–is that it often has come from such a deep level in you that it resonates with most other people………

      Even if you write something you don’t like, I hope you have at least one trusted person you can show it to. We writers seem to often have skewed ideas about what others will think about our work :-)


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  7. Jessie February 15, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Hey, glad your meeting with your editor went well! This is a great post. I believe writing can be an amazing tool for working through one’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences.


    • Alexander M Zoltai February 15, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      Thanks for that encouraging word, Jessie :-)

      Yes, “…an amazing tool for working through one’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences.”

      Working through being the key action, eh?


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