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Lilwritermonkey
04-03-2010, 02:03 AM
First off I love this site and the people on it, you all rock and i get loads of info here everyday....
But here is my problem:
My grandma is pretty much the only person on earth who encourages me daily to write, to keep going and not give up, and i love her for it, so why cant everyone else support me?? (including my husband)
I have several "how-to" books on writing (I am leaning towards YA, as it is my favorite genre) But i keep getting stuck! i have pretty good ideas that i can get down on a page but then i cant get any further and have to walk away, or its crap. And i know that it will take time to find my voice, but i dont have forever...
Should i just jump in head first and take some writing classes, or should i just give up???? please help, i just need someone to tell me to not give up, because if its meant to happen it will, right?

jennontheisland
04-03-2010, 02:09 AM
Few writers have total support. Few writers have any support. They write because they want to.

Everyone sucks when they start. Everyone. I write crap. I readily admit it. But I write. (well, when I can, I'm in school at the moment and don't have time). Stopping a story midway because it's crap is the best way to never improve.

Write.

Don't show anyone what you write if you don't think they'll be helpful. You may be the only one who sees your work for a long time, but really you're the only one who needs to.

juniper
04-03-2010, 02:16 AM
because if its meant to happen it will, right?

Not always. It only happens if you don't give up.

I speak from the experience of giving up my creative life for 12 years and now *struggling* to get back into it. I see people who started when I did who have progressed so far beyond me. They weren't necessarily more talented, they just kept at it.

It's much, much easier if you just don't give up in the first place. So don't. :)

Kitty Pryde
04-03-2010, 02:26 AM
Keep writing. If people around you aren't supportive about it, don't talk to them about it. Stick around AW, make some friends, and when you need someone to commiserate with, or a writerly ego boost, they'll be there for you, I guarantee it :D

If you can't finish what you start writing, well, suck it up and force yourself to do it. Give yourself permission to write something crappy in the first draft. As a jock would say, Just Do It. As a hillbilly would say, Git Er Done! As Yoda would say, Do Or Do Not...There Is No Try :D

CheekyWench
04-03-2010, 02:32 AM
Just write. You're allowed to write absolute crap. Get the whole story out of your noggin and then look at it.
1st drafts are like barfing. You have to get it all out before you can clean it up.
No one else can write that story.. only you... so don't look for encouragement from anyone else.

Maryn
04-03-2010, 02:35 AM
Not just your grandma supports you in this, although we applaud her for it. But it's your grandma and every single person at Absolute Write who's telling you to go for it if it makes you happy.

While it's wonderful to have a supportive husband, parents, friends, and all that, or someone online who's desperately eager to read every word you write, it's not a requirement. There's nothing wrong with writing because you want to, and never mind anybody else's attitude about it. My husband, who I love dearly, doesn't read me, not even when I sell something, and while he attended the play I wrote, neither of our kids could be bullied into going. (They were teenagers at the time.)

If you take a writing class, you may also find yourself with in-person support. My critique group, operating for 18 years this June (OMG!), started in a local writing class. We went out for coffee or drinks after class, and when the class ended, agreed we did not want the feedback and support we gave one another to end. So it didn't. We're all published now, some of us several times.

Maryn, not underestimating the value of a good support system

Snowstorm
04-03-2010, 02:39 AM
Consider taking writing classes. There, you'll find plenty of moral support. You'll also learn more about the writing craft, and the assignments will help focus you.

But, education NEVER goes to waste.

Just don't give up; the only one who will lose will be you.

kaitlin008
04-03-2010, 03:06 AM
Like everyone has said, if you love to write, do it. And AW is a great place for moral support.

My boyfriend was bordering on unsupportive when I first told him I wanted to try writing as something serious. It was hard, so I understand your frustration all too well. But it was something I decided I wanted to do, no matter how he felt. It took a while, but he came around, and now he's very supportive of my writing.

So maybe your husband will be too. Maybe right now he's just unsure of it. It's kind of a hard thing for people to understand if they're not into it. But if your husband sees you be truly in love with writing, he'll grow to love it too.

Fallen
04-03-2010, 03:12 AM
It's normal to feel that you're not good enough, it's normal to feel as though you're alone, and it's normal to feel as though you'll never get anywhere.

You're normal, hun, and you're not alone.

Every writer goes through this (bar Caw of course: perfection person-fied :D), it's just the ups and downs of the profession. Personally I think writing should come with a free bottle of Jack D.

If only...

Linda Adams
04-03-2010, 04:29 AM
The best thing you can do is just write and don't worry if doesn't sound good. If you get stuck, skip ahead to a place where you're not stuck and continue writing. Revision is a great tool. It fixes all the problems-but the problems can't be fixed unless you have the bones of a story first.

Cathy C
04-03-2010, 04:50 AM
Hmm...the way you phrase that makes me wonder. :idea:

Are you trying to write down the WHOLE STORY on a page, like an outline? If so, and then you're getting stuck, it might be you're not a writer who can plot in advance. My co-author is like this. If she writes down the whole plot, it's gone. Done. Poof! It'll never get beyond the single page "notes". She literally can't write it past that.

She's what is called an "organic writer" or "pantser" (for seat-of-your-pants writing). She has to write as she goes, let the story unfold as she types.

Have you tried that yet? It might be you're going about the process backwards. :)

benbradley
04-03-2010, 05:34 AM
Read this thread (the in-person encouragement at NaNoWriMo write-ins, and my netbook to take to those write-ins, were essential to my success - and the fact that no one knew/knows just how crappy my writing really was/is):
http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=160851
And yes, I DID write the other 48,000 words last November.
Also, there's this post:
http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=1408217&postcount=6272
Click on the PDF link, print it out, and put your name just under the words "granted to:" and put it somewhere where you can read it.

Matera the Mad
04-03-2010, 06:22 AM
Do it. Jump in and swim with your characters. They'll help you get to the other side.

Libbie
04-03-2010, 06:40 AM
you've got me to encourage you to write every day, too.

WRITE EVERY DAY.

See? :)

Writing is a skill, like riding a bike or driving a car or tying your shoes. The more you practice it, the better you get. The harder you work at it, the fewer and farther between are the days when you produce total crap. Personally, I don't think you need writing classes -- I think relatively few people do. You need daily practice, you need to develop the discipline required to get in that daily practice, and you need to get helpful critiques so you know what to work on next, and we can provide that for you.

ebennet68
04-03-2010, 06:55 AM
Keep writing!!! I'm glad I started. You'd be surprised at just how much "crap" isn't that bad and that you'll be able to use later. I know I wrote something a few days ago. I reread it as soon as I was done and thought, "Holy cow, that's the worst crap I've written in a long time." I read it again the next day and I thought, "You know, the idea isn't that bad at all. I can tweak it a little bit and it will work. Keep at it. You can do it!!

blacbird
04-03-2010, 08:20 AM
Few writers have any support.

QFT, from continuing personal experience.

caw

HistorySleuth
04-03-2010, 09:14 AM
I like this thread. It's encouraging :Hug2: ***as she hits subscribe***

I'm with you Lil! My kids are supportive, hubby not so much. It's not that he's discouraging either, he just doesn't get it at all, and that's cool. I don't get some of the things he does either, but we still both do our own thing.

dgiharris
04-03-2010, 09:39 AM
I guess my two cents involve taking baby steps and starting small.

Try writing a flash fiction story (500 words or less).
Try writing a few simple poems.
Try writing a couple of short stories, 1000 words, then 2000 words, then 3000 words...

There are different paths to writing. Many authors on here have done well just jumping right in a writing a book.

Others like myself, cut their teeth on short stories, and as such, I'm partial to all beginning writers starting with short stories.

IMO, they are easier. They aren't as foreboding and ominous as a book. They are fairly quick and thus leads to a sense of accomplishment and immediate gratification which is encouraging and allows you to get some writing momentum...

You can also chart your writing progress with short stories. I've written around 50 of them and I can definitely see my 'progress' from story #1 to story #50.

Nothing succeeds like success and its my opinion that if you start off with baby steps, you will find that writing gets easier. Not to say this is the only way.

GOod luck and glad you found AW. Stop by whenever you need a hug (or kick in the rear :) )

Mel...

Rubicon
04-03-2010, 12:25 PM
First off I love this site and the people on it, you all rock and i get loads of info here everyday....
But here is my problem:
My grandma is pretty much the only person on earth who encourages me daily to write, to keep going and not give up, and i love her for it, so why cant everyone else support me?? (including my husband)
I have several "how-to" books on writing (I am leaning towards YA, as it is my favorite genre) But i keep getting stuck! i have pretty good ideas that i can get down on a page but then i cant get any further and have to walk away, or its crap. And i know that it will take time to find my voice, but i dont have forever...
Should i just jump in head first and take some writing classes, or should i just give up???? please help, i just need someone to tell me to not give up, because if its meant to happen it will, right?

I can relate to your problem in a way.

I wrote two drafts of my first attempt at a novel and they were utter crap. I was angry and confused. I knew i had this story in me but the words on paper were just very amateur stuff. I've read books all my life and my work didn't resemble anything remotely like them.

So after much pain I made it my mission to solve my problem. I read many books concerning the craft of writing learning valuable lessons along the way about style,POV....
Then i was recommended a book called Techniques of the selling writer by Dwight Swain and everything changed.The book deals in detail with the nuts and bolts of writing and it was quite profound the effect it has had on my writing.

Now when i read my work i can see that after i write half a million to a million words practising what i've learnt my work will be at a publishable level.

Hope i could help Good Luck.

lilmamaross
04-03-2010, 05:28 PM
My family has always been supportive of my writing. My fiance is somewhat supportive, but not very interested in the stuff I write. But even all the support I've got doesn't change the fact that I still write crap and have a damn hard time finishing things. I used to be able to write straight on through without a plan at all but now I'm finding that having a basic plan to follow makes it much easier to follow through from start to finish. The support didn't tell me that, I had to figure it out myself!

seun
04-03-2010, 05:44 PM
Few writers have total support. Few writers have any support. They write because they want to.


Yep. My wife is the only person I know* who gives me time and encouragment to write. A few others ask me how it's going but I can count on one hand the number who really care.

*ETA: Outside of AW, of course.

RJK
04-03-2010, 08:12 PM
I can tell you what helped me. I found this forum and particularly Uncle Jim's Learn Writing With Uncle Jim Vol I (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6710) The thread begins in 2003 and ends last year. You may want to read the Uncle Jim Undiluted thread. It's located just below the original. That one has stripped out most of the chit-chat. I don't know how current it is.
Follow all of Uncle Jim's instructions, examples and assignments. There are some that you just won't understand (some people learn in different ways from others). After you've completed volume one, you will have the knowledge needed to write fiction. You already have the desire and seem to have the will. Talent is the last piece of the puzzle. If you have talent, you will be successful.

larocca
04-03-2010, 08:18 PM
WRITER SCHOOL?
Copyright 2003, Michael LaRocca
http://www.michaeledits.com


Here’s something from my mailbag. “Dear Michael, do you need to do good in school if you want to be a writer? I stink at school and all my friends laugh at me when I tell them I want to write, but I’m serious.” Followed by a sentence or two of “I need your words to encourage me” or some such nonsense.

Fortunately, a writing sample is rarely attached. If it is, either it’s excellent or it stinks like rancid yak butter. There’s a lot of middle ground in the writing world, of course, but for some reason it never seems to accompany these emails.

The message is usually (but not always) so filled with errors that I’m not gonna reprint them here or correct them when I reply lest I destroy some sensitive soul like a jackhammer to an eggshell. It’s ridiculous that I should even have such power, being a stranger and all. Let’s move on to the relevant part, the question, which actually contains several. This writer gets bonus points for brevity.

Do you have to be good in school? Given what’s passing for English in some places, I’d certainly like to see more effort given to school.

If you aspire to be an author and you did poorly in school, or if you’re just plain uneducated, don’t let it stop you. What we do as authors isn’t taught in school. They teach grammar, and bless them. I can’t teach that subject. If you’re very fortunate, as I was, you’ll stumble across some teachers who also encourage you to think. But thinking is the beginning of writing, not the end, and grammar can be fixed later if you find some long-suffering editor (like me) willing to do it.

In other words, school can help you with the first step or two of your journey to be an author. Considering how many steps come after those, don’t be discouraged by test results and report cards.

To distill what you think, feel and believe from all the trash floating around in your head, and then to actually put that on paper the way you mean to put it, is a skill that only comes from years of practice. I struggled at this for 20 years or so after I graduated from college. I didn’t learn to write in a classroom.

In my travels through the Intergoogle, I’ve met blind authors, deaf authors, dyslexic authors, authors writing in a second or third language, authors suffering partial paralysis, authors with various psychoses, authors who deal with more than one of these obstacles. What they overcome makes my complaint, that I’m too left-brained to be in this business, seem absolutely pathetic. And yours, about doing poorly in school.

I could cite you a VERY long list of authors who did poorly in school. If I did my job as an editor, you’ll never know who they are unless I call them out by name. And I won’t. Probably because I can’t remember them.

(I’m joking. Editor/author confidentiality protects them, even if it exists only in my imagination.)

Our emailer then mentions that her friends laugh at her when she tells them she intends to write. Why does she care? I’ve lost count of how many projects I’ve undertaken despite criticism. Not just writing, either. Life. But let me narrow my focus just so I can end this rant.

You have a reason for writing. You know what it is, even if you can’t put it into words. I can’t put it into words. (“It” can mean your reason or mine in that sentence.) But it’s there. Why do you give a rat’s ass how many people tell you not to even try? People who I doubt have even read your writing, I might add. Your classmates won’t understand why you write. Nor your friends. Nor your family. You’re lucky if you find ten non-writers in your lifetime who have a clue. And you don’t care. You just write.

If you’re ever lucky enough to “arrive,” then all the doubters will claim to understand why you write. And they’ll all be wrong.

Also, by the time someone out there is embracing your work, you’ll already be three books beyond it and sick of hearing about your old trash. No, it won’t be trash, but you’ll think of it that way. There’s a big time lapse between creation and that Oprah interview.

What I never write to those emailers is this.

I shouldn’t have to tell you why you write. You don’t need my vindication or anyone else’s. If those who haven’t even read your work can discourage you, give up. Or do an Emily Dickinson and leave it all for people to find after you die. But if you’ll let something as silly as your grades in school stop you from even beginning to write in the first place, nothing you have to write is worth finding after you die.

And if you’re angry at me for saying that, good. Prove me wrong. Write a book.

Chris P
04-03-2010, 08:22 PM
Don't give up! Every writer goes through this. My advice is to jump in and get writing. You said you don't have forever; although classes and how-to books are helpful, you could spend the rest of your life "taking just one more class" or reading "just one more how-to book."

Athletes and musicians have to practice, and so do writers. The only way to get better at it is to do it. One regular here says that a writer has to write about one million words before he or she gets good enough to sell anything. I'm not quite at a million yet (unless you count stuff I wrote for work and back in college), and I've sold some short stories. Just do it and keep doing it.

As far as family support, my wife is glad I like writing, but she would never read anything of mine if I hadn't written it. She and I just have different ideas of what makes a good story and how a good story should be told. We're the same with movies; she won't let me near the Netflix account!

Rufus Coppertop
04-03-2010, 09:10 PM
I'll say what others have said. You're allowed to write crap.

Write something, knowing that once you complete your story, you can rewrite it, polish it and totally decrappify it.

And remember, Hemingway said, "the first draft of anything is crap", or words to that effect.

In fact, Shakespeare said, "thus sucketh mine initial poetic forays, yet kepteth I going unto sundry hoorays".

BTW, your grandmother rocks.

Jamesaritchie
04-04-2010, 12:25 AM
First off I love this site and the people on it, you all rock and i get loads of info here everyday....
But here is my problem:
My grandma is pretty much the only person on earth who encourages me daily to write, to keep going and not give up, and i love her for it, so why cant everyone else support me?? (including my husband)
I have several "how-to" books on writing (I am leaning towards YA, as it is my favorite genre) But i keep getting stuck! i have pretty good ideas that i can get down on a page but then i cant get any further and have to walk away, or its crap. And i know that it will take time to find my voice, but i dont have forever...
Should i just jump in head first and take some writing classes, or should i just give up???? please help, i just need someone to tell me to not give up, because if its meant to happen it will, right?

Support is something nice to have, but if you count on it, you're probably lost. You can always find support in the online community, but if you stick with it long enough to succeed, it'll be because it's what you most want to do, not because of support.

i have pretty good ideas that i can get down on a page but then i cant get any further and have to walk away, or its crap.

Of course it's crap. You have to learn how to write, and it takes a lot of practice to stop writing crap and start writing quality. Many say we all have a million words of crap covering the quality.

There's a lot more to it than just finding your voice. That's the easy part, and possibly something that's no more than a catch all phrase for learning how to write well. All the facets, and there are several. You may not have forever, but it may well take years, no matter what you do.

Walking away from it isn't going to help. If you walk away, you'll never learn how to write well. You simply have to write each thing the best way you can, and if it's crap, it's crap. But you have to finish it. The next thing you write should be a little better, and the thing after that a little better still.

Some few write a first novel good enough to publish, some have to write a second novel, or a third, or a fifth, or a seventh, before they stop writing crap and start writing quality. You'll never get this far if you walk away.

Only you can decide whether to jump in head first, make a total commitment, or whether to simply quit. Either is a fine choice. There's no shame at all in quitting, and an awful lot of those trying would be far better off if they would quit.

Even with writing classes, even with tons of study, even with a solid dedication to writing, success will still probably take years. It may never happen at all. It most likely will never happen at all. If you're after fast success, you'll probably be sorely disappointed.

The reason to keep writing is because you enjoy writing, because it's the way you most want to spend your time. Write because you're dedicated, and because you're willing to put forth as much effort, and invest however many years it takes, to make it a success.

JayG
04-04-2010, 12:33 AM
Should i just jump in head first and take some writing classes,

Taking writing classes is something that requires as much thought as deciding to get married. If you have a good teacher it's a wonderful idea. Unfortunately, creative writing classes, as against professional writing classes, in my experience, focus on literary style writing. They also seem to favor the author at the podium style writing we all learned in high school, as against placing the reader on the scene, in the character's point of view.

Personally, I would suggest you read a few good books on fiction writing technique, so that if nothing else you have the vocabulary and the terminology. There is a thread here (http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=175801) that has some excellent recommendations. I think you may find that reading a few of those books will be a transforming experience. In fact, today I got another letter from someone who was reading the Dwight Swain book I usually suggest, talking about how much of a change the book has made in his writing style, and understanding of story construction. a bit of study really does make and enormous difference because, as they say: if the only tool you own is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail. With more tools comes more options.

shaldna
04-04-2010, 02:33 PM
WRITE.
WRITE
WRITE
WRITE
WRITE
WRITE

Ruv Draba
04-04-2010, 04:52 PM
Definitely give up!

If you don't have a cheer-squad, give up.
If you hit a wall, give up.
If people won't say nice things when you want them to, give up.
If it's not as easy as you want it to be, give up.
If you're your own worst enemy, give up.

Because that works well for everything else in life, right?

Anon76
04-04-2010, 11:49 PM
Just keep writing.

In the end, when you do get published, you will find that you don't always get glowing support. Reviews can be wonderful...or brutal. You have to scrape off the bad and keep going. Not having full support of your writing now may be a blessing in disguise. Use it to distance yourself a hair.

benbradley
04-05-2010, 12:46 AM
WRITE.
WRITE
WRITE
WRITE
WRITE
WRITE
Geez, some of these posts sound like my NaNoWriMo ML ... except he's taller and weighs more than me, and he was usually sitting at the next table or right beside me ...

rbuckley9104
04-05-2010, 02:49 AM
I'm new to AW as well, but I've found here some very beneficial suggestions. In the instant thread, continuing to write is the prevailing recommendation. I concur, but I would not forget to read. Some contributors here recommend books on writing, and I agree with this suggestion as well.

I just add that reading fiction is essential too. Elsewhere in AW, contributors suggest reading as many novels as possible in the genre to which you are attracted.

Personally, I've earned about fifty university credits in English as a discipline. This helped me in my writing, but I must admit that I am as yet published. I read as much as possible presently.

Finally, I mention that I attended school with an editor of a publishing house. She recommended that an aspiring writing secure the services of a literary agent when seeking to be published.

Good luck.

jana13k
04-05-2010, 05:07 AM
Even if you have unlimited support from husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, family, friends, etc. unless they are also writers, they will still not "get" what you're going through to produce a manuscript. So if you're looking for the type of support that really knows what to say when you're ready to give up, then you need to make some writer friends. I met two writers at a local RWA chapter meeting 8 years ago and am thrilled that not only did we become critique partners, but the three of us have become best friends. They keep me sane in the writing world because they get what I'm up against.

I have enormous support from my husband, who actually never once commented on all the time or money I spent pursuing publishing. When I sold my first book, I ask him why he'd so easily gone along with whatever I wanted to pursue a writing career, especially when publishing is so hard. He responded "It never occurred to me that you couldn't do it." I wish I had half the belief in myself that my husband and parents have in me.

Lady Ice
04-05-2010, 06:41 PM
Writing classes will not make you a great writer. They will probably make you a better writer but it's not like you go to 50 and suddenly you're a bestseller.

Read, write, and watch (people, that is).

Margarita Skies
04-05-2010, 10:53 PM
My advice is don't give up on your dream! Don't let others discourage you. You'll get better in time. Another piece of advice is read a great book by a great author, like Nora Roberts or Dan Brown. Reading Dan Brown's Deception Point and Angels and Demons gave me a better idea on how to write. :)

brokenfingers
04-06-2010, 04:08 AM
You could join a writing group in your area.

shaldna
04-06-2010, 05:18 AM
Geez, some of these posts sound like my NaNoWriMo ML ... except he's taller and weighs more than me, and he was usually sitting at the next table or right beside me ...


Whereas I'm standing behind you.


With a stick.