On nights like these, it's a real struggle to write anything of substance and I have (and probably will tonight) walk away from my projects with this sense that the stuff I've just put down is nonsense.
It's hard not to find that depressing or frustrating.
On nights like these, I have to remind myself that at least I did something.
I used to wallow in self-pity when I hit blocks like this and ended up brutally editing stuff I'd just written because I knew it was bad and wasn't up to the calibre I'd expect of myself. Then I realised that that was the worst thing I could do. Mostly because it ended up with having nothing left after ripping it apart and I ended up feeling worse about myself for having wasted valuable time to arrive back where I'd started when I'd first sat down.
It's very hard, but allowing yourself to write crap and silencing that inner voice that is telling you to go back and just delete it is super super important. It feels like continuing to run when you have a stitch. Well, sort of. Clearly I don't mean it physically feels like that, but in terms of just pushing through the barrier and continuing on, even if the goal is so far ahead that you can't see it, writing and running feel quite similar. You go through these periods of not doing your best. You stumble, run out of puff, start walking, stop, start, stop again, feel like quitting...eventually, however, you (hopefully) continue on and accept the fact that this may end up being the worst race you've ever run but, at least, you're going to finish it.
Wow, that was a long sentence. See? Shitty writing all over the place.
Tonight I'm allowing myself to spew out terrible prose. It's there still because it's contributing towards my goal, even if most of it ends up being edited out it's still forwarding the story. Without it, I'd still be stuck in the same spot. At least I'm moving past a bit that I'm clearly not doing well with for whatever reason. Hopefully, when I return to it, I'll be able to hit that bit with a little more focus and enthusiasm, making more out of it than the first time. What's good, and what I have to remind myself of, is that it's content at the least. I have an idea of what I want to happen, even if it isn't very well explained or whatever. I've been in worse situations where I have written myself into a corner and can't find a way out. That really really sucks. That's when you know that it's either a lengthy rethink and rewrite needed to make it work or allowing a massive plothole to form right there and then. I've had to settle for the latter and just continue writing. That leaves you with a sinking feeling, I'll tell you.
Maybe because I've had that experience, knowing that I'm writing crap tonight isn't so bad. At least it makes sense in the grand scheme of things and is pushing me forward.
I've had similar experiences at Uni with writing essays. You can get in such a muddle with everything you want to say and explain that you can end up writing awful waffle. That's another instance where deleting and waiting for the "perfect" rendition of the work to spontaneously pour out of your mind and appear on the screen is completely the wrong thing to do. You're getting bogged down in the detail. Again, I had to allow myself to have verbal diarrhoea a few times until the word count was hit, before wading back through the nonsense to weed out the stuff that mattered. That ended up working quite well and it's definitely translated well to writing.
The new project I'm working on, The Aperture, is generally going very well so, when it comes to nights like tonight, I just have to ignore the doubt and frustration and take a page out of Dory's book.