Okay. So it's going to happen. You're going to have a writing day, week, month, uh, year, that's just going to stink. You'll do your best, but won't pull out of your funk. And your work goes all wobbly.
Either it all fails big, it blows up in your face, it gets dramatic and ugly and there are tears...
Or, it just whimpers in a corner, and your imagination dulls, and the words stale off, and you kind of wonder how you ever got into this.
Here's my best recommendation: Go to Paris.
An actual plane ticket is the best route, and if you can muster that, then go and God bless you.
For all us normal people, with tiny budgets and not super flexible schedules, here's the other route:
Get your discouraged little hands on this book.
Why this book?
Because Eric Maisel is exactly the writing coach that you need this weekend: He is definitely on your side.
And in this book, he understands what's going on in the mind and heart of a writer who is discouraged. A writer who is afraid and anxious.
Most of all, a writer who needs to commit to her work in a deeper way.
(That's you. That's me. That's all of us.)
So yes, this book is also about going to Paris. For, say, a year. And writing while you're there. Writing your brains out. But more than that, it's about owning your writerness, about choosing to be the writer that you are.
The chapters are short, easy to read, and packed with encouragement. Seriously, it believes in you so hard that it nearly turns inside out. (Or was that just my copy?)
But you're reading this because you're discouraged, right? So maybe you don't feel like you can stomach talking about writing all the time. Maybe another writing book isn't what you need?
That's why this book is so perfect: it's part writing encourager, part Paris travelogue.
Really. So you'll be daydreaming about the Seine, about gargoyles and gothic chapels, about flaky croissants and famous museums. You'll be reading little stories about Van Gogh and Hemingway, you'll be thinking about the expats in Paris, you'll be smiling over the wonderful illustrations.
So you soak up the stories about Paris. ... And as you do, you also read about embracing your own imperfection. About how to get out of a writing slump. (I've read Chapter 25, "Not Writing," approximately 200 times.) You read about motivation, about what to do with the wonderful people who support you and the difficult people who do not.
You read about where our ideas come from, about writing in public places, about running away from your work, about how to deal with discouragement.
... I am resisting the urge to type out whole pages (21, 128, 190...) and instead will share this one quote:
There are always reasons not to write. They appear as wantonly as toadstools after the rain. Entertaining those reasons even for a split second is the path to uncreativity. Write, even if you have a twinge, a doubt, a fear, a block, a noisy neighbor, a sick cat, thirteen unpublished stories, and a painful boil. Write, even if you aren't sure.
-- Eric Maisel
Breathe that quote in for a second. So good, right?
If you have varsity-level discouragement, then I'd say go big. Get this book, and dive in. But don't stop there.
Get yourself a baguette, a pack of croissants, or at the very least an éclair or some kind of pastry. (Because discouragement and calories are best friends.) Get some French-style café music playing. Grab your coffee (strong! dark! with chocolate!).
See where we're going with this? Make yourself Paris. Right where you are.
Whip up an omelette Saturday morning and keep on reading.
Invite courage in. Wrap it around you, like a warm blanket on a rainy day.
Close out your Parisian weekend by watching Midnight in Paris. (What, you thought I wasn't going to go there? I was totally going to go there! I can't get over Ernest Hemingway in that movie. CANNOT get over him. I just want listen to him talk about writing all day.)
Have yourself a Parisian writing weekend. And dive into your next writing week refreshed--and still nibbling croissants and humming along to Edith Piaf--and ready to work.