Isuckitis

We have a word in my writing group called isuckitis. I think every writer experiences this. What is it? A condition. A sickness. A mood. It happens to a lot to writers. It means when you look at the computer screen or page and think to yourself, “Why am I writing? I’m no good. Everything that flows out of my fingers sucks. I suck. I should just quit. No, maybe I should start a new WIP. Maybe that will solve the problem.” So you do. And it sucks, too.

If you don’t suffer from Isuckitis, then great for you! Share some of your wisdom in the comments section, please.

If you do suffer from Isuckitis, then read on.

When It Strikes

You might not realize when you catch Isuckitis. It can come on slow like a cold or fast like the flu. It can last for hours, days, weeks, months, years. My specific case lasted for 5 years. Yes, FIVE years. My Muse packed her bags and ran away when she saw that I was infected. She came back when enough time went by for the disease to dwindle off.

Don’t let this happen to you. I didn’t write for five years. Imagine where I would be now if I had been writing all that time!

When Isuckitis strikes, take a step back from your work. Give it a few days and come back. Do you think it’s still horrible? That’s when it’s time to attack the disease with everything you’ve got.

How To Fight It

Don’t let this sucker win! You don’t suck, no matter what you think or write or say or feel. If you are reading this blog post, if you blog yourself, if you write on a regular basis, if you send out queries, if you have even felt ONCE in your writing career that you are good and that is why you keep writing, then keep writing!

That’s the key to whipping Isuckitis’s butt.

Keep writing.

Keep showing up. Watch this 20 minute video if you are currently infected with Isuckitis. I promise it will help.

Writing groups are also helpful. When I started writing again, I still suffered from Isuckitis off and on. I didn’t have anybody to go to. Things looked much brighter when I joined an online critique group and made a lot of writer friends who help me understand that:

(1) I don’t have to write like anybody else out there. In fact it’s better if I don’t,

(2) If I stick with it long enough, and have enough passion, I will sell a book someday, and

(3) It’s normal to get down on yourself and your writing. When it happens, tell somebody. Get help! Don’t wallow in your misery.

If you don’t have anybody to go to, email me. I’m always up for a good Isuckitis chat.

Posted by Michelle D. Argyle

48 comments

Right now I’m suffering from a bad case of theuniversesucksitis.I’m just fine with myself ; )This was a great post.

Great post, Glam, thanks! 😀 *makes awwing sounds over the pic*I have a way to mock Isucktis, too.Read things like this or this and feel like even your crappiest description or stories are masterpieces. %-)(Note, links are not appropriate for the easily brain-broken. ;))So yes, it happens. Keep writing and you’ll find ways to beat it!~Merc

I love this post! So many people really need to hear this. Also glad you reposted that awesome video. I watched it three times. It really helped my muse who has been bending over backwards, jumping up and down, and holding up HUGE neon signs to get me to finish this book. LOL Hmmm…I think we should start a LadyGlamis fanclub blog. 😀

Yeah, just pulled myself out of this. As you know:) It comes and goes. It always will. And it’s truly the best thing to talk about it.

Eeeeeew, Isuckitis. Yuck, yuck, yuck. *Holds up crucifix* It had better stay away from me. I just got over a bad case of it. Great post!

Fun stuff we writers put ourselves through. No wonder half of us are neurotic. 😉 The other half are just plain crazy. :PGood advice. It’s funny how in life that many of the cures for things are the very things we don’t want to do. I think with writing, there needs to be a good balance between humility and confidence. And, it’s always possible to ignore those voices in your head if you have enough practice doing it. 😀

Yeah, I get bouts of that around here. I had a bit of a break through today on things so I feel like I’m finally starting to get over it.

The panda scares me…

Lady G, thank you for your post. I have been suffering silently all day with a severe case. It’s worse than a head cold yet not as bad as say, decapitation. I truly needed this pick me up. I foolishly went straight into another edit (I’m still reeling from the last one) and couldn’t understand a thing I had written. It was like it was in Kling-On or something.

Mine normally lasts a couple days and almost invariably coincides with that special time of the month.

I’ve been feeling like this lately too. Thanks for your post. LOVE the panda pic too!

I try not to read “real” books when I’m writing, because if I read something fantastic I’ll catch a big case of isuckitis. I read a book by John Green last month and didn’t write for a week because I thought “oh, I’ll never be *that* good, what am I doing?”.Nice post! And I think any writer who doesn’t suffer from isuckitis at least a little must have some sort of magical isuckitis shield. Or they’re lying.

I totally suffer from this infectious disease on a regular basis. The best thing that helped me was this advice: Give yourself permission to take a few days off. (Thanks Archetype!)

Great tonic 🙂

Davin Malasarn

I get this about once every three days. Great instructions to make it go away. You’re right, the best thing to do is to keep writing and to tell yourself that if you work hard enough, it will be good. This post makes me feel hopeful. Thanks!

Rick Daley

Great post Lady G, and Merc, that’s some cure you’ve got there, I do feel better about my writing after reading those snippets…

Captain Hook

Okay, I seem to be the odd one out. I do get isuckitis (I keep trying to remember who started the phrase and can’t), but it’s very rare (maybe once a year) and never lasts more than a few hours.

a wonderful post. i’m really glad i found your blog. i have no doubt you’ll be hearing from me many times over.:-)

Justus M. Bowman

“I get this about once every three days.”I understand.

David Russell Mosley

First, all I have to say is “Aren’t we becoming popular.” Secondly, I’ve been where you and many others were. My freshman year of college I started working on a couple of stories thinking that I could write them down by hand and have them done quickly. I realized I couldn’t and that they were really no good and decided that I was no good. The rest of my college career I spent only writing when I had to until my Junior year. Not quite five years, but 2 and a half. For me, it took just a brand new idea and then a different brand new idea, before I started writing again.

Hahaha, cute picture!

Renee Collins

You always have such great, thoughtful posts, Glam! And, yes. I know Isuckitis quite well. 🙂 In fact, I’d say I wrestle with it one to two days out of every week.My cure is to keep writing and, most importantly, to STOP COMPARING MYSELF TO OTHERS. That’s the easiest gate to let Isuckitis in.

I think you could have stopped at item one. That’s the biggy, I’m sure. It’s when you do start to write like some other that you should worry. Good post!

i think it is an epidemic, not isolated to writers! it hits just when you don’t need it to, and takes a lot of effort to cure it!

I love this word and plan to share it with my writing group. Sometimes I get Isuckitis, but I usually laugh it off. It’s hard to focus on Isuckitis when so many others are suffering from the far-worse Lifesucksitis.

Solvang Sherrie

Love the panda picture! And the post…I’ll be emailing you next time I’m worried that people are just saying nice things to my face and saying how horrible a writer I am when I’m not around :^)

scott g.f. bailey

I’ve been having writerly mood swings for the last couple of weeks, the swing sometimes going from “wow, look how brilliant that passage is; I can’t believe I wrote it” to “wow, look at this crap; I can’t believe I wrote it” in only a few minutes. Sometimes, I think, I have both feelings at once, which makes my head hurt. A lot.How do I get over it?Me: I suck. I mean I really, really suck.GF: Yeah, whatever. You always say that.Me: It’s always true.GF: Is that what your agent thinks?Me: No…GF: Go work on your rewrite.And symptoms go away for an hour or two.

Oh, so, so, true. But there’s a difference. The rest of you just THINK your writing sucks, but it doesn’t. MINE really does!Cute panda. Focus on the cute panda. 🙂

Aw that panda is so cute!Great post! Isucktis hit here as I began editing Chap 3 and was made worse by beginning to read The Forest of Hands and Teeth which is amazing!

Amber Lynn Argyle

I’m thinking more along the lines of publisherssuckharditis. *snicker*BTW, how did you get so many friends on your blog?

Kate Karyus Quinn

Oh, yeah, I know all about isuckitis. All kinds of things can trigger it for me, but one of the worst is reading a really rave review for a book. Where every part of the book: the plot, writing, character is just so wonderful and for some reason this little voice inside says “unlike yours”. It’s really terrible, especially because I enjoy reading book reviews to find new books to read.Hopefully a scientist somewhere is at work on some kind of vaccine:)

Suzanne Casamento

Ohhh. I call that voice that tells me I suck, “The B*tch.” And when she enters my head, I yell at her and tell her to get out.Because she’s lying. I don’t suck. She does. ; )

giddymomof6

LOLOL! This happens to me all the time… I’m too afraid to read what i’ve written, honestly scared to death. And then one day I get up the guts and just read. I’m always surprised when i read and it’s good. i shouldn’t be. But I am, really surprised. I think everyone should just reread. Jenni

Lady Glamis

Kiersten:Oh, dear. I’m sorry to hear that the universe sucks. Urgh. Good to hear it’s not affecting your happiness. :)Merc:Thanks, Merc. Super-great link. I’m still dying over here…Litgirl:A fanclub blog? Oh no! I think I’ll run and hide now. I’d die of embarrassment. So glad that video is helping you. It’s some great advice that I’ll keep around forever.Natalie:Yep. Talking about it the only way out. Or wait 5 years like I did. Which is just stupid.Jen:Hey, you should share how you got over it! I’m glad it’s gone for you now.Dani:Yes, practice makes perfect. I’m hoping that if I get Isuckitis enough I’ll just become immune, hehe.Lois:Yes! I’m so happy! I still haven’t read your outline. I’m so sorry. You can blame it on the toddler wanting to give up her naps. *glares at empty crib*Liana:No words of wisdom? Oh come on!T. Anne:Oh, I laughed at your last line there!!! LOL! I am glad the post could help. Let me know if you need a pick-me-up!PJ:You know, mine might, too. Hmmmm…Rena:Glad you like it. It’s cute and disturbing at the same time for me. Not sure if pandas can really smile like that, you know?Kat:Oh, I think you’re write. Everybody gets this at least once! And yes, you are JUST like me. I cannot read other work while I’m writing a book. That means I don’t read a lot. :SElana:That truly is great advice. Giving ourselves permission is very important!Yuna:Thanks. :)Davin:Thank you for your comment! Yes, just keep writing. And if I get down I’ll send you an email. :)Rick:Wasn’t that unbelievable? Yeah, I’ll bookmark it for sure, hehe.Sarah:Hmmm, what on earth is your secret?Suz:Thank you for visiting! I look forward to seeing you again. I like your blog, too. :)Justus:So do you get Isuckitis every three days, then?David:Interesting! What got rid of it for me was an old idea, hehe. I was plagued that I hadn’t ever gotten it right. :)Meghan:I knew you’d like that one!Renee:Oh, yep! That’s what ALWAYS does it for me. Urgh! Why can’t I just be happy with my stuff for what it is?Dave:It is easier said than done, but yes, it is the biggie. :)Becky:Um, yeah, because sometimes it’s real life that starts it all. Urgh!Anita:That is so true. And humor can be a HUGE help!Sherrie:So I’m not the only one who feels that way? Oh, good. :)Scott:Hehe, yeah… sometimes it just won’t go away! Sorry to hear yours is so persistent.Tara:LOL! Um, you don’t suck. I promise. From the writing on your blog, you are brilliant, m’dear!Alexa:Chapter Three…. hmmm, we need to do something about that!Amber:Yeah, but at least you have an agent. Your one step ahead of most of us. :)Um… I follow an insane amount of blogs and spend hours commenting. That might have something to do with it. It’s very addicting. So many great people that have so many great things to talk about, you know?Kate:Oh, I soooo wish! You are the third person to mention that reading other work can push you into Isuckitis. It really is something that starts it, isn’t it? If we wrote in just a bubble, we probably wouldn’t get it nearly as much. But writing in a bubble comes with its own set of issues.Suzanne:Now THAT is the attitude! Yes!Jenni:Oh, good point. Just start reading your work! I think reading aloud can help, too. Different perspective and all. Thanks for commenting!

Crimogenic

oh boy, I’m having a bit of Isuckitis right now too. I just keep on writing to get through it. Also, talking about it with others writers does help! 🙂

Oh dear, the tot has started skipping naps? That makes it tremendously hard to find time to write. In fact the reason I’m blogging right now is because I’m watching Maisy Mouse with my two year old next to me and the four month old on my lap. But your blog is not a waste of your time. When your book comes out, I for one, will be sure and buy it, even though it’s not a genre I normally read, just because I know you are a lovely writer and deep thinker from your blog.

Lady Glamis

Crimey:Let me know if you need help! I know how down it can get anybody. It affects your writing, so speak up if you need some smiles. :)Tara:Yep, naps look like they’re going bye-bye.*whimpers*My daughter LOVES Maisy. I must admit the song is really cute. It gets stuck in my head all the time, but I don’t mind. And thank you so much for your compliments. I would buy your book, too, even though it’s not my genre. I have a feeling I’m going to be a fantasy reader someday…

Captain Hook

Hmmm, what on earth is your secret?Many life lessons learned. I never compare myself or anything I do to anyone else. Each person is individual and different and those differences make the world a fresh and interesting place to live.Knowing that, how could I doubt that I have something of importance to offer the world?

candicekennington

This is so true!! I’ve come down with this often. Good writer friends are the best cure. Great post and well put! I hope your case passes quickly.

Lady Glamis

Sarah:You are right. Everybody is different, and that is what makes this world wonderful. I just need to pound this into my head. With a hammer.Candice:Mine comes and goes. It’s not a big deal usually. When it is I throw a fit and make everybody tell me my work is brilliant. That always helps. Yeah, I’m mature. 🙂

Good for you acknowledging that you had a problem. Even better that you shared the solution and a personal commitment to battle the evil of self-defeat.And that panda is bizarre. Cute and very, very bizarre.

I always suffer from this after getting feedback from a critiquer on a novel. Always. I go through a time period where I am convinced I am horrible…but then I get over myself and back in the saddle! 🙂

Lady Glamis

Beth:I can be the same way after critiques. It stings, no matter what, it seems. Even when it’s mixed with a heavy dose of praise!

Wow, I love your title for this! I’ve suffered from it, and it wasn’t fun! But five years… I think I would be locked up in the insane asylum if I spent five years without writing. I think the most I’ve gone is like a year, and I almost did go insane. lol.

Lady Glamis

Kelly:I just about did lose it. But I had just gotten married, and then I had a baby three years in. When the baby approached 2, I’d had it and the Muse came back. 🙂

Lady Glamis

Kelly:And thanks for visiting! Hope to see you again in the future.

Andrew Blackman

It’s good to know I’m not the only one who suffers from this disease! The best antidote I’ve found is routine. Write even on the days when I don’t feel like writing, even if I hate what I’m doing. Usually I find that I can write my way out of whatever problem I’ve encountered. If I stop, though, I might stop for a very long time.Also I keep a journal to write down all the negative stuff – I find that when I write them down, my self-hating often just sounds silly and whiny, and as a result it starts to lose its power over me.Great post, by the way!

Lady Glamis

Andrew:Wow, what a great idea! I need to do a journal for the negative. I would probably never read back through it, but what a relieve to get that out!Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to seeing you again!