Thursday, April 7, 2011

Combating the “I Bite” Blues

Editing first drafts will do it to you. Getting back a critique so marked up with red it’s difficult to read will do it to you. Discovering how often you use the word just and how frequently you begin sentences with ing words will do it to you. Anything can inspire that overwhelming feeling that makes you want to wallow in the mud with pigs. You know, the “I bite” blues.

So, are we supposed to roll over and play dead when we recognize that feeling? Heck no.

We need to throw on our gloves and put up a fight.

And what’s the best way to fight in our field?

We write. We edit. We do NOT give up when we are discouraged.

Ephesians 6 provides a step by step guide of how to equip ourselves when we come up against things that are meant to bring us down.

Here are some ways the Bible could relate to the tribulations we face in our industry as well:

belt of truth = we confront our weaknesses in our writing truthfully, but hold on to the hope of improvement

breastplate of righteousness = we go about our novel-building with integrity, weaving plots that inspire others

feet fitted with readiness = we read as much as possible, connect with other writers, and get a strong sense of what to expect in the industry

shield of faith = no matter how bumpy the road gets we stay the course and believe in our calling

helmet of salvation = we remember all that’s been done for us and the power in us enabling us to go on.

sword of the Spirit = we raise our swords to anything that tries to tear us down or dissuade us from our God-given dream.

Finally, we pray on all occasions! Get a manuscript request—pray. Get an agent—pray. Get a contract with a reputable house—pray. Get a new novel idea—pray. Feel like quitting—pray!

How do you combat the “I bite” blues?


I’m giving away Winter’s End by Ruth Logan Herne. Comment for a chance to win!

*photo from Flickr


Christine Long said...

That first critique hurt like a paper cut rubbed in salt. I had a few rough days fighting to reconcile my words and thoughts with those of the editor. Then I received another critique which conflicted with the first one. Now I was thoroughly confused! I received some great advice. Take the things they both agreed on and analyze my work in that light. Use what I can of the rest, then put it aside. Great advice! It worked and I went back to work.

The most important thing to remember is that what God called you to do He will enable you to do. Thanks for the post today and please enter me in the drawing.

Patsy said...

Would love this book to give my daughter. She wrote a draft book, then decided the book didn't go the way she wanted so now she's starting over. ugh! There's a lot of work in writing, that's for sure.

Keli Gwyn said...

Wendy, I do so admire your analogies and clever comparisons. This one is great.

The "I bite" blues are inevitable. I don't think there's a writer out there who hasn't experienced them. Biting back by sinking our teeth into the truths from the Author of the Best Book Ever Written is a wise way to combat the malady. Through prayer, we can share our weak moments with Him, the One who instilled in us our love of writing and wants the best for us--even if we think it takes longer than it should--and He'll help us face them.

Casey said...

Yes! Prayer is the answer to our troubles, if only we made it our VERY FIRST instinct. Unfortunately I so often grouse first. Great post as always, Wendy! :)

Anonymous said...

I think the "I bite" blues probably never go away. I think the most powerful thing to cling on to, is that it's not about us.

Many a writer writes for their own ego, for praise, whereas Christian's write for God. Therefore, we will always keep trying as he does for us.

However, the "I bite" blues often make us think, is this what God wants us to do? Perhaps I was wrong? This is what I need to tackle...

Pepper said...

FABULOUS post on encouragement, Wendy.
It really helps to get our heads and hearts into the right perspective, doesn't it?!?
Thanks for the reminder. I DESPERATELY needed it!!
all we're missing is chocolate!
Marvelous Cookie Bars for all. Yum!

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Wendy -

I'm about to open a box with my manuscript. Hmm, I hope this isn't the Lord's way of preparing me for major edits. :)


Sarah Forgrave said...

Great post, Wendy. Definitely needed some Truth poured into my life today.

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Christine, That is great advice. If more than one person points something out, it's wise to pay attention to it. This works for life situations as well as writing.

Patsy, One of the best parts about being a writer is that we get to do do-overs all the time. Hope it comes together for your daughter.

Keli, Oh I like that--biting back! I think I was born this way, unable to think about something purely by itself. One thing is always reminding me of something else. Curse of the writer, I guess. Or an odd bird. ;)

Thanks Casey. It always amazing me how I run to other things only to be led back to Him wondering why I didn't pray first.

Freya, Excellent point. I hope I'm learning this. I really do. That it really isn't about me at all.

Pepper, No kidding yum. I am in a big time chocolate mood. Glad you were encouraged. I love encouraging others!

Susan, I know no matter what you come across you can handle it! Go get 'em!

Sarah, Thanks. It refreshes me, too. Truth alone combats the "I bite blues."

Thanks for chiming in. It's been a crazy week of running around.
~ Wendy

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I needed this today, Wendy. Thank you. I tend to wallow and escape and that is so destructive. I need to put up a fight, but it seems I have no energy to. Bleh...

Julia M. Reffner said...


Thanks!! Great post and I love the tie-in to Ephesians 6 to our writing. Sometimes I forget that this area too is a battle.

patti.mallett_pp said...

Wendy, I had no idea that you wrote for Writer's Alley! Cool! I love the stuff on this site! Ever think of creating a writer's poster for Ephesians? I think it would sell! This blog post is very encouraging, and flooded with Truth & Light! Thanks!

Faith Hope and Cherrytea said...

i first of all reject those and replace them with TRUTH! i am a child of God. i am approved by God. i have God's favour. i also bring my thoughts, as scripture tells us we're to do- that every thought that raises itself up against the knowledge of God is to be brought captive to the obedience of CHrist - so a bit of warfare to declare the win! also, that God has not given us a spirit of intimidation or fear, but that of a sound and disciplined mind :) I'd love 'winter's end' as much as i'm loving winter's end! blstef1 at mts dot net many thx! and a blessed day ~