Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Neurotic Writer Syndrome

I've joked with many people about this particular affliction, such as my co-author, my agent, my writer pals - heck, even my dog knows about the dreaded NWS. Now, my dear blog readers, it is time to warn you!

First, let's look at the symptoms...

  • Obsessive compulsive tendencies to refresh the inbox, check Publishers Marketplace and read endless Twitter feed, blog posts and Facebook statuses.

  • Perpetual revisions. EX) A writer plagued by the following thought, "I just need to tweak one more..." or "Another draft won't hurt" or worst of all "I need to delete this and start over." [Don't do the last one! At the very least SAVE your drafts.]

  • Nudging aka the follow-up email. [Disclaimer: There is a time and place to send out a POLITE nudge. 24 hours after submission to agent or editor is NOT that time. Check guidelines, and a week after listed response time, you may nudge.]

  • Hot and cold, love/hate relationship with your writing. EX) "I am the greatest writer alive! Waahaahaa." Followed by, "No one will ever read this floundering piece of fish guts. It shall never see the light of day." Finally, "I need chocolate or wine, or chocolate AND wine."

Advice for dealing with NWS...

     My co-author, "Breathe." <-- Sage advice.

     My agent, "But, that's what sparks your creativity." <-- Love her. 

     My writer pals, "Yup. I've got that too." <-- Ah ha! So, it's normal.

     My dog, "Get a grip." <-- Okay, I may have put those words in his
     mouth. But you tell me what he was thinking.
Now, onto the cure...

The only known cure for NWS is to stop writing, and honey, that ain't gonna happen. :D So, for all of you writers out there suffering with this affliction, I say, "Embrace it!" It's what makes writers such happy psychotic unique creatures. Just don't let it get the best of you, and  remember, writers across the board, ranging from unpublished to NYT bestseller, have probably experienced NWS in some for or another. You're in good company.

Ever experienced the dreaded NWS? What do you do to combat it? Or do you embrace it?


    1. I definitely relate to the fish guts! I just got (another) rejection last week and am right now pulling myself out of the spiral of depression. Fun times. Got lots of good advice from writer friends though.

      This needs to be a recognized illness - then we can have meetings where we eat too much chocolate and commiserate with each other.

      1. *hugs* Yes, meetings filled with chocolate and commiseration sound ideal. Rejections are depressing and you have every right to wallow. Just don't let it keep you there.

    2. agreed on all points. And no way am I ready to quit.

    3. You are scaring me ... to close for comfort I had to check off everything on your list, LOL!

    4. I totally relate to the endless revisions & the hot/cold relationship with my MS! When I find myself in one of these states, I need to have your dog come over and put me back on the right track. :)

    5. Every day. I love the idea of embracing it, yes! I battle it by accepting the fact that my future is in my hands and those hands need to be writing. ;)