PDA

View Full Version : Does anyone feel like giving up??



kristi26
08-13-2008, 10:09 PM
Sometimes I feel like giving up, like I'm not good enough at this to get anywhere. Anyone else like that?

I'm fine for awhile. I even get some great work in on various stories and then post them for review. Then some of the reviews are so harsh that I feel like I must really suck.

I read about some AWers complaining that they get partial requests from agents only to have them turned down. My word, I'd love to get even a partial request. I've never been asked for more. Most of the time, I don't even get an answer.

I love writing. I really do. But I'm starting to wonder, am I that person on American Idol that thinks they rock at singing but really is very bad at it? Am I a terrible writer?

regdog
08-13-2008, 10:39 PM
Sometimes I want to give up but then I say 'Why should I quit on myself. I like what I write and I like to write' If I never get published it'll be okay.

I written children's books for my niece and she really enjoys them. I've written historical fiction that my family and friends have enjoyed. And I enjoy researching and writing. I'll be damned if I'm going to to let agents or publishers stop me from doing what I like.

kristi26
08-13-2008, 10:41 PM
Thanks HeaGrg. I need to keep telling myself that. I can't let other people tell me whether or not I'm great. I need to decide that for myself.

drachin8
08-13-2008, 10:51 PM
Writing isn't easy.

Giving up is.

Writing and editing and writing more and editing more take time, perseverence, thick skin, and an eye toward constant improvement. Don't read critiques of your writing and cringe and hide. Decipher them, break them down to their bones, suck the marrow from every comment and see how its flavor sits on your tongue, how it helps you understand what others discover or fail to discover in your stories.

And learn. And keep learning.

And write. And keep writing.


-Michelle

kristi26
08-13-2008, 10:59 PM
The trouble is, everyone has a different opinion. Some say the story is good, it needs this. Then others say the story would be better if it had that. And then there's the one that says, "wow, this is awful but if your MC was a flying monkey wearing a pink leotard and shiny silver wig, then you'd have something!" That last person sounds so convincing and like they really know what they're talking about. How do you choose whose advice to listen to and whose to ignore?

Bubastes
08-13-2008, 11:08 PM
How do you choose whose advice to listen to and whose to ignore?

For me, I sense it in my gut. When I receive advice that makes my story better, it's like an "A-ha! Why didn't I see that before?" moment. If the advice is useless, I don't get that same feeling.

Cranky
08-13-2008, 11:13 PM
For me, I sense it in my gut. When I receive advice that makes my story better, it's like an "A-ha! Why didn't I see that before?" moment. If the advice is useless, I don't get that same feeling.

It's pretty much the same thing for me. It's a real lightbulb moment when the advice is good. Kind of embarrassing, but still very helpful.

That said, I feel like giving up quite often. Thing is, I can't give up. I just keep going, and I hope that one day, I'll be good enough at this that I'll know it without anyone telling me.

In the meantime, it's certainly not wasted time. It's time spent learning the craft.

drachin8
08-13-2008, 11:19 PM
The trouble is, everyone has a different opinion. Some say the story is good, it needs this. Then others say the story would be better if it had that. And then there's the one that says, "wow, this is awful but if your MC was a flying monkey wearing a pink leotard and shiny silver wig, then you'd have something!" That last person sounds so convincing and like they really know what they're talking about. How do you choose whose advice to listen to and whose to ignore?

That's the point where you have to chew on the advice a bit, suck it down, and see how it settles in your stomach. The hardest thing about receiving crits is figuring out what to do with them. Most importantly, do not blindly obey your critiques. If you don't understand why somebody is suggesting a change, research the issue and ask questions until you do understand it. Then, with full understanding, make a plan for how you want to fix your story or if you even want to fix it.

It may take several drafts or several stories before some points finally make sense (I have a number of short stories in my "Will Never See the Light of Day" folder which I thought were very good when I wrote them and for months after). Another method is to try critiquing other stories and make it a point to give at least one suggestion for improvement for every story you critique. Sometimes during the act of critically evaluating the words of others, we find enlightenment into our own strengths and weaknesses.

The main point is if you give up on even trying to understand what is being said, your growth will probably slow. Much of being a writer is about understanding: understanding the world, the people in it, and how everything fits together into these things we call stories. It's also about knowing you will always need to grow, to learn, to become something more than yourself. It's about the realization that no story is perfect. There is always one more improvement, one last tweak, one last shifting of the prose. Even when you're done, you're not really done.

So mark down the major issues brought up in your critiques and start researching them more in-depth. Take any example you can, rip it into pieces, and put it back together again. Question, question, question until you understand.


-Michelle

Beach Bunny
08-14-2008, 01:30 AM
The trouble is, everyone has a different opinion. Some say the story is good, it needs this. Then others say the story would be better if it had that. And then there's the one that says, "wow, this is awful but if your MC was a flying monkey wearing a pink leotard and shiny silver wig, then you'd have something!" That last person sounds so convincing and like they really know what they're talking about. How do you choose whose advice to listen to and whose to ignore?

I had one story where more than one person remarked that they just couldn't connect and get into the story. It didn't feel immediate. My first reaction was "What is wrong with you people? I'm beating my MC up and you don't care?" So, I posed a question very similar to your's here to a different group that I belonged to and got a range of answers. Anyway, I set the story and the comments on it aside. Six months later I went back to it, read through it again, and realized that the problem with the story was that I had written it in passive voice. While the commenters had picked up on there being something off on the story, they had not pointed out that I had used passive voice. So, what I learned from that experience is that while the commenters might not know what the problem is, they usually have found a potential area that could be improved upon.

Though the commenter who recommends changing the MC to a flying monkey wearing a pink leotard, I think you can safely ignore that one. :tongue

Ol' Fashioned Girl
08-14-2008, 01:42 AM
If you give it to five people and all five have different suggestions/opinions, you're safe to go with your gut. If you give it to five people and three or four of them have the same opinion, you need to re-read drachin8's posts and question, question, question 'til you understand.

drachin8
08-14-2008, 01:59 AM
If you give it to five people and all five have different suggestions/opinions, you're safe to go with your gut. If you give it to five people and three or four of them have the same opinion, you need to re-read drachin8's posts and question, question, question 'til you understand.

I'd like to make an addendum to "if five people have five different opinions": be sure to evaluate the core of the opinion, not just the actual suggestion. If you have five different people saying you need to do five different things to your opening paragraph, then even if they all suggest something different is wrong with the opening, the core of their opinion is that something isn't working, thus they become the same opinion (just five different approaches to trying to figure out what the heck is off for them).

Which sort of ties into Beach Bunny's comments that your critiquers may not be quite sure what is wrong any more than you are, but they will hopefully at least be able to point out that something is off in a section. And provide you with their best guess as to what. It is up to you in the end to actually figure out what needs fixing and if anything needs fixing. Thus the question, question, question.


-Michelle

Beach Bunny
08-14-2008, 02:13 AM
I'd like to make an addendum to "if five people have five different opinions": be sure to evaluate the core of the opinion, not just the actual suggestion. If you have five different people saying you need to do five different things to your opening paragraph, then even if they all suggest something different is wrong with the opening, the core of their opinion is that something isn't working, thus they become the same opinion (just five different approaches to trying to figure out what the heck is off for them).

Which sort of ties into Beach Bunny's comments that your critiquers may not be quite sure what is wrong any more than you are, but they will hopefully at least be able to point out that something is off in a section. And provide you with their best guess as to what. It is up to you in the end to actually figure out what needs fixing and if anything needs fixing. Thus the question, question, question.


-Michelle
Yes. That is what I was trying very inarticulately to say. :)

I are a writer. I write stories gooder now. :tongue

Mr Flibble
08-14-2008, 02:20 AM
I'm fine for awhile. I even get some great work in on various stories and then post them for review. Then some of the reviews are so harsh that I feel like I must really suck.

BUT...for me at least, I don't crit unless I see a basic thing I like about the story - something that makes me want to help the writer get it to shine. Something that just gets me interested, which is a hell of a good start. Yes? So the fact you're getting crits might actually be a good sign?

Alright the harsh ones can be hard to take - but tbh, the harshest crit I ever had was the one that helped me the most, in writing terms that is, not emotionally.

On Aw the people who crit you are not doing it to be nasty - they are trying to help you. Bear that in mind. Along with the fact that writing on a forum isn't the same as face to face - it's hard to see someone looking at you kindly while they say something they feel needs saying.

BTW I totally gave up for a year or more - until some random guy picked up my MS at home, read it and said why the chuff aren't you working on this? OK it's flawed, but polish this and this, oh and FFS cut that! - it could work. So I did. And it did.

Seaclusion
08-14-2008, 02:22 AM
I feel like giving up all the time. In fact, I have given up for about 5 weeks now. But I will get back to it.

Try querying, sending a partial and a synopsis to a publisher. Then being asked for a full only to be told "Thanks, but I wasn't taken with it". That's happened to me three times on my completed ms. I still query and I'm hacking away at two different WIPs.

The moral to all this is to keep plugging away. Write, edit, revise and then do it all over again until someone is 'Taken with it'.

Richard (rejected but still going on)

Round John Virgin
08-14-2008, 03:19 AM
And then there's the one that says, "wow, this is awful but if your MC was a flying monkey wearing a pink leotard and shiny silver wig, then you'd have something!"

This tells me you have a flair for humor, Kristi. It's worth hanging in there at the very least to try to develop that, because God knows this world needs all the grins it can get.

I'll bet if you keep writing, things'll turn around for you. :Hug2:

Bartholomew
08-14-2008, 03:28 AM
Whenever you feel like giving up, set aside your bigger project and pump out something tiny, that you can easily fix up. Impress yourself.

Mandy-Jane
08-14-2008, 03:42 AM
I feel like giving up all the time. But I know that if I did, I would never forgive myself because writing is what I've promised myself I will keep doing, no matter how hard it gets.

Susan Lanigan
08-14-2008, 04:52 AM
BUT...for me at least, I don't crit unless I see a basic thing I like about the story - something that makes me want to help the writer get it to shine. Something that just gets me interested, which is a hell of a good start. Yes? So the fact you're getting crits might actually be a good sign?



Agree with this. I sometimes go to zoetrope.com to get feedback on first or second drafts and in order to get my stuff critiqued I have to review five other stories. 95 per cent of those I just skip on past.

If you haven't lost your reader / critic by paragraph two (or let's be honest here, paragraph 1 oftentimes) you are already in that 5 per cent I reckon.

MelodyO
08-14-2008, 05:20 AM
My only advice for you is the advice I give to my daughter all the time: It's not talent that's the most important factor for success, it's perseverance.

If your writing is only so-so, it can absolutely get better...unless you quit. :)

C.bronco
08-14-2008, 05:30 AM
Sometimes I feel like giving up, like I'm not good enough at this to get anywhere. Anyone else like that?

Never. I'm way too dense.

soleary
08-14-2008, 05:36 AM
I just got a koosh letter (the sound of a toilet flushing) from someone who read my partial. Feel lower than a ditch digger's ass.

Fillanzea
08-14-2008, 05:40 AM
I hate to say it, but there's an ingredient here that we don't always want to think about: time. No amount of criticism would have saved the stories that I wrote when I was very young, because I was writing from a place of emotional immaturity. No amount of criticism would have saved the stories that I wrote when I was middling-young, because I still needed time to ripen, both as a person and as a writer.

I would get criticism, and I could try to apply it at a superficial level, but I wouldn't understand the deeper level where it was coming from, so I could only make superficial changes.

Mind you, I'm 26 now, so I don't think you have to wait till you're ancient to write great stuff, or anything. ;) And I don't think it's a matter of age (although I think that age helps; there are piano prodigies, but not novelist prodigies, and no, I'm not going to count Christopher Paolini.) It's just a matter of reading A LOT, and writing A LOT, and trusting that your time will come if you come every day and put in the practice you need to put in.

gypsyscarlett
08-14-2008, 11:08 AM
Sometimes I feel like giving up, like I'm not good enough at this to get anywhere. Anyone else like that?

I'm fine for awhile. I even get some great work in on various stories and then post them for review. Then some of the reviews are so harsh that I feel like I must really suck.

I read about some AWers complaining that they get partial requests from agents only to have them turned down. My word, I'd love to get even a partial request. I've never been asked for more. Most of the time, I don't even get an answer.

I love writing. I really do. But I'm starting to wonder, am I that person on American Idol that thinks they rock at singing but really is very bad at it? Am I a terrible writer?

Hi Kristi,

First- sorry you're feeling down. But harsh reviews do not at all mean you suck. Some years ago- my uncle looked at a piece I wrote. (uncle is professional writer). I'd already been writing for years- but until that point it was mostly about the "story".

Well, he RIPPED it apart. (in a nice but very honest way). In those ten minutes, I learned more about the "craft" of writing than I had in my entire life. I'd always gotten compliments on my writing. But now my uncle knew I wanted to be a professional. I had to enter a whole new ballgame.

Critiques from fellow writers will probably always be more critical than non-writers. We notice things that non-writers don't. I'm sure it's that way in every field.

From your post- I gather you don't really want to give up. You said yourself that you love writing. Right now, you're just feeling down. Chin up! The great thing about writing is it's a life long learning process.

Are you writing steadily? Reading a lot? If so- you're probably improving more than you realize. Sometimes it can be very difficult to be objective of one's own work. :)

kristi26
08-14-2008, 05:00 PM
Though the commenter who recommends changing the MC to a flying monkey wearing a pink leotard, I think you can safely ignore that one. :tongue

Yeah, I think you know this, but I made that one up. I was exaggerating-as we all do so well as human beings-to make a point. :ROFL:

I've been thinking about all my very different comments, and I think I've come up with something that makes me happy and still addresses the issues that my reviewers saw. I just felt like making the changes the way it was suggested, took away from the story I was trying to tell. Now I think I've found a way to make it better. I guess I just needed a few days to figure that out. :D

kristi26
08-14-2008, 05:05 PM
BUT...for me at least, I don't crit unless I see a basic thing I like about the story - something that makes me want to help the writer get it to shine. Something that just gets me interested, which is a hell of a good start. Yes? So the fact you're getting crits might actually be a good sign?

Alright the harsh ones can be hard to take - but tbh, the harshest crit I ever had was the one that helped me the most, in writing terms that is, not emotionally.

On Aw the people who crit you are not doing it to be nasty - they are trying to help you. Bear that in mind. Along with the fact that writing on a forum isn't the same as face to face - it's hard to see someone looking at you kindly while they say something they feel needs saying.

.

The crits I'm referring to here don't necessarily happen here. I'm a member of several different writing groups online, just to be clear. I don't want anyone thinking I'm talking specifically about them. I think you said it the best here when you said, "Alright the harsh ones can be hard to take...but [it] helped me the most." It's a very good way of saying it.

kristi26
08-14-2008, 05:08 PM
Try querying, sending a partial and a synopsis to a publisher. Then being asked for a full only to be told "Thanks, but I wasn't taken with it". That's happened to me three times on my completed ms. I still query and I'm hacking away at two different WIPs.



I've been rejected TONS of times. Trust me. My favorite one was for a short story I wrote. They sent the comments that the editors gave along with my rejection. One actually said, "I'm not sure why the writer thought anyone would care about this." OUCH!! That one really hurt. I don't submit to them anymore.

kristi26
08-14-2008, 05:17 PM
Gypsy:

You're right. Writers DO notice things that non-writers don't. If I give a story to a friend or relative, they say, "It's great." That's all the feedback I get. If I put it online for other writers to read, they say, "It could be better. Let me show you how." I really appreciate that-don't get me wrong. It's just hard to take sometimes, you know? Anyway, feeling better today. Making progress on the thorn in my side. I look forward to the day when it's amazing, not just okay. :D

tehuti88
08-14-2008, 08:21 PM
Sometimes I feel like giving up, like I'm not good enough at this to get anywhere. Anyone else like that?

Every single day.

I keep writing because I love to do it and I honestly don't have anything better to do.

I don't know how one can tell if they're any good or not because I'm in the same boat. But at the very least, the fact that you're wondering if you're any good prevents you from becoming that person on American Idol who thinks they rock when they just suck.

Beach Bunny
08-14-2008, 08:34 PM
Yeah, I think you know this, but I made that one up. I was exaggerating-as we all do so well as human beings-to make a point. :ROFL:



:) I did. It was a wonderful exaggeration. ;)

Pat~
08-14-2008, 08:59 PM
Kristi, yes, I have felt like giving up at times. While I am published, I'm not a book author, and I think I have given up on pursuing book authorship for now--for a lot of reasons, but basically because I'm not willing to pay the price after learning more about that over the last 4 years. It's not that I feel defeated by it so much as I am not convinced that that's a good 'fit' with me, personally. I'm ADD (I like smaller projects), and I'm not at all interested in marketing or having to promote what it is I write (or developing a platform--pursuing the speaker circuit, for example). So I guess what I'm saying is, that 'giving up' feeling is not necessarily a bad response, but you have to look at it carefully. Sometimes it's just a gut feeling that some aspect of what you're doing isn't working well for you, or isn't a good fit with your talents/abilities/interests. Maybe it's that you need a genre change, or you need to do a different type of writing. See if you can analyze what part of it is discouraging to you and why.

gypsyscarlett
08-14-2008, 10:01 PM
Thanks HeaGrg. I need to keep telling myself that. I can't let other people tell me whether or not I'm great. I need to decide that for myself.

Exactly!
Whenever you feel down (and we all do sometimes)- remind yourself of what you just wrote. :)

And feel free to vent whenever you need to. This is the perfect place because we all understand.

nerds
08-14-2008, 10:09 PM
Always. All the time. It's with me like the dark angel on the shoulder.

But, giving up on what? I'll never give up on writing, I'll always write and never give that up.

Giving up on trying to be published? Yes, I can see that taking place for me. But never writing itself.

timewaster
08-14-2008, 11:12 PM
[quote=kristi26;2649696]Sometimes I feel like giving up, like I'm not good enough at this to get anywhere. Anyone else like that?

I often feel like that. I've had seven novels published but none of them have been best sellers and I haven't won the Booker. Everyone feels that way most of the time. If you carry on writing it has to be because you like doing it otherwise there really is no reason to bother.

kristi26
08-14-2008, 11:18 PM
[quote=kristi26;2649696]Sometimes I feel like giving up, like I'm not good enough at this to get anywhere. Anyone else like that?

I often feel like that. I've had seven novels published but none of them have been best sellers and I haven't won the Booker. Everyone feels that way most of the time. If you carry on writing it has to be because you like doing it otherwise there really is no reason to bother.


I'm glad I'm not the only one! :tongue

kristi26
08-14-2008, 11:19 PM
:) I did. It was a wonderful exaggeration. ;)


Maybe I should use that great exaggeration for a picture book, huh? :D

Alpha Echo
08-14-2008, 11:50 PM
I would be surprised if there was anyone who didn't, at one point, feel like giving up.

What keeps me going? Knowing that this is what I love to do. And for me, I never feel like giving up writing. Even when I don't feel like working on my WIP, I'm writing something. A poem, in my journal, a letter, my blog...I'm always practicing and writing and learning.

For me, sometimes, I feel like giving up on the "Get me published!" process. It's so frustrating and long and drawn out. Query over and over and over...wait for a response, query some more. I hate it! And it's so easy to let that slide. That's when I feel like giving up - not on the actual writing but on ever getting published.

But then I think about how I would feel seeing my book on the shelves.

And how the people who have done me wrong will feel seeing my book on the shelves. ;)

Beach Bunny
08-15-2008, 12:34 AM
Maybe I should use that great exaggeration for a picture book, huh? :D

:Thumbs: psssst, remember no drinkin', no swearin', and no fornicatin' ;)

JimmyB27
08-15-2008, 02:09 PM
Writing isn't easy.

Giving up is.

I disagree. Even when I think I'm giving up, those darn characters keep on jostling around in my head, vying for attention, trying to give me their stories.
Perhaps even more so when I think I'm giving up.


Whenever you feel like giving up, set aside your bigger project and pump out something tiny, that you can easily fix up. Impress yourself.
I often like to pump out something tiny. But I hear it can make you go blind.

(Too much?)

Shadow_Ferret
08-18-2008, 08:01 PM
I feel like giving up all the time. In fact, I give up every night when I go to bed then I take it back up again in the morning.