If something is painfully difficult to write, if every word coming out is a slow trod through feet of mud, then you're not writing the right thing.
I just spent a few hours (a little time today, a few hours yesterday) trying to write a short story. A dumb little fanfiction for my alphabet challenge because I started it over 2 years ago and I would like it to be finished. It doesn't bode well for me to have unfinished works. And I'm only halfway done with it. Ugh.
It started well enough. I had a particular idea that I really wanted to try--a unique story-telling idea from a short play called "Sure Thing" by David Ives. Brilliant, absolutely read it--and so I finally decided to tackle it yesterday. I captured the first few moments and continued along my merry way and it just got worse and worse the more I wrote. The things that were supposed to be funny moments weren't funny and then they grew to be genuinely upsetting. Like, one of my two characters starting going on a feminist rant about people essentially verbally abusing her because she was a girl.
Yeah, not funny.
So I went in a different direction. And another direction. Scrapped about half of it and started again. Tried writing it in a streamlined format to be expanded later. Tried changing the style. Nothing worked. It was a disaster each and every attempt.
Note: this did not go well for me yesterday. This story got me so down, combining with the loneliness that came from reading about a happy fictional couple, to leave me literally lying despondent in my bed at 2am. I haven't even stayed up until 2am in over a month.
This should have been the sign to give it up. Rather, I finally managed to calm myself down, promising to set it aside and try again tomorrow (today) with a fresh start. And I tried for a bit. And then scrapped the whole thing. It just wasn't right. The words all felt wrong, and I knew that the problem was that my characters were out of character. And the biggest rule of fanfiction is to keep your characters accurate. The whole point of this story was to elongate an exchange that, in truth, my main character would have blurted out the second he arrived.
I'm not saying that a story needs to write itself. There can be challenges, you can have writer's block. But if you're forcing it out, grinding it like a stubborn piece of garlic through a too-small garlic press, than you need to take a step back. Writing shouldn't make you miserable. If it does, set it aside or scrap it, because it isn't right. And you shouldn't be afraid to throw away a whole scene or whole story if it isn't right for you.
I'm going to try again today, but with a different premise. Fingers crossed, ya'll.
Ready to try again.