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View Full Version : Do you feel like you're spinning your wheels?



Manix
04-30-2009, 05:12 PM
Sometimes I feel like I'm not getting anywhere in my work, not making headway, even though I'm 90% done editing and have a pretty decent query letter ready to go. Problem for me is that I only feel ready to get published about 10% of the time. How many of you get a gut feeling that your work will sell? Do you just get this sense of knowing it's got the right stuff?

kristin724
05-01-2009, 07:51 AM
I get frustrated with how my material is continually praised and the demand for more is so high; I get plenty of contracts and sales large and small, but then my work doesn't sell or seem to find an audience. It seems like only one corner of the industry likes me, and the rest of it and readers don't seem to find me. Argh. I get tired of promotion, too. No matter how much its never enough! I really enjoy writing for myself most of all, going to those good and bad writing places. Then afterward getting that joy that other might like this!

blacbird
05-01-2009, 11:32 AM
I'd have voted for Door No. 5, except for that "start over" crap.

caw

thethinker42
05-01-2009, 11:55 AM
I'm always insecure about my work, but there comes a point with each book where I think, "Yes, I like this. It's ready to go out the door." Sometimes it's "YES! I love it!", sometimes it's "Oh hell, this is the best I can do with it, so I'll throw it out there and see what happens."

I've reached that point with 4 books...1 is now contracted, 2 have gotten enthusiastic requests for partials, and the fourth was only recently queried.

When I feel like I'm spinning my tires with something and I can't put my finger on what's wrong, that's when I toss it to a beta reader and work on something else for a while. The usual result is either:

"Hmm, it's okay, but..." (and whatever follows the "but" usually makes the lightbulb come on and I fix it)

or

"I like it. Especially..." (and whatever follows the "especially" is usually something I thought was stupid or didn't make sense. Go figure)

Your mileage may vary. I find that insecurity is par for the course, but that "YES!" moment does come. Sometimes it takes a while...you'll know it when it happens, and it'll be worth it. (For what it's worth, it took over 10 years of learning the craft, 3 full drafts of my trunk novel, and a first draft of a romance novel before I finally had that "YES!" moment...be patient.)

bettielee
05-01-2009, 12:11 PM
Me and everybody else. I vacillate. Seems so does everyone else. Writing is like being drunk, and re-writing is like looking back over what you've done while drunk... God! What have I done! Whoa! ...was in a blackout there, cuz I don't remember writing that...

thethinker42
05-01-2009, 12:14 PM
Addendum to previous post...I read the OP thinking about individual writing projects rather than a career as a whole. That said...I tend to think of my career that way: one book at a time.

I don't know if I'll ever be a bestseller, if I'm wasting my time writing, whatever. All I know is that writing is what makes me happy, and I'm getting to the point where what I've written - not just the act of writing - makes me happy too. I hope I can someday make a lucrative career out of it, but I won't cause myself bodily harm if it doesn't happen.

I do think my writing has improved dramatically, particularly in the last year (obligatory and enthusiastic nod to scarletpeaches for her help in that department), and I am confident that I can hold my own in the world of publication...but beyond that, who knows?

My advice if you think you're spinning your tires? Just keep at it. You can't guarantee that you'll succeed if you keep going, but you can be pretty damned sure you won't succeed if you stop.

thethinker42
05-01-2009, 12:16 PM
Writing is like being drunk, and re-writing is like looking back over what you've done while drunk... God! What have I done! Whoa! ...was in a blackout there, cuz I don't remember writing that...

HA! I so know that feeling. I've reread entire chapters thinking, "WTF was I on?" Sometimes that's a good thing...sometimes...um...not so much...

KTC
05-01-2009, 01:21 PM
I always have less faith in myself than others seem to have in me. I don't know if I will ever be ready. Sometimes I feel like, 'always the best man, never the groom'. Or, as Maxwell used to say, 'missed it by that much!'

Parametric
05-01-2009, 01:32 PM
I spend months at a time in the doldrums of despair and self-doubt. It's fun here. We have cookies. :tongue

Wayne K
05-01-2009, 01:54 PM
I don't know if I'll ever be a bestseller.

Snooze me, but I disagree with this 1,000,000,000%.

I know for sure you're onto a bestseller.

thethinker42
05-01-2009, 01:56 PM
Snooze me, but I disagree with this 1,000,000,000%.

I know for sure you're onto a bestseller.

We just have to finish the damned thing. ;)

(on it!)

Wayne K
05-01-2009, 02:20 PM
I see the number 33,421 in my head, I'm like Karnac.

scarletpeaches
05-01-2009, 03:16 PM
I look back over the past decade and see it as wasted. I could have spent that time improving my writing and subbing something worthwhile, but no...I faffed about.

Am I spinning my wheels now? I don't think so. I mean, in the past six months I've written more on one project than I ever have. The only thing that comes close is the crappy first draft of my trunk novel written when I was eighteen and I didn't have a clue.

tt42 says it's good - well, better than good and I keep telling myself, "She's a friend; she's obligated to be nice." Then on the other hand, it's like, "She's not a bullshitter," so...*shrugs*

Anyway. I plan to start editing it on the first of June. I'm almost scared, 'cause this is the best thing I've written in year...hell, the best thing I've written ever and I want it to be successful so much it hurts and if my best isn't good enough...

*wangsts*

thethinker42
05-01-2009, 03:18 PM
tt42 says it's good - well, better than good and I keep telling myself, "She's a friend; she's obligated to be nice." Then on the other hand, it's like, "She's not a bullshitter," so...*shrugs*

If it was crap, I would tell you. It's not.

Matera the Mad
05-02-2009, 07:07 AM
It's just my head that spins :)

KellyAssauer
05-02-2009, 07:43 AM
I spend months at a time in the doldrums of despair and self-doubt. It's fun here. We have cookies. :tongue

I've spent all my cognitive adult life thriving on rejection, to think of having my work accepted? I haven't even considered that! It's taken me a while just to learn to enjoy watching it languish without comment on SYW. Having it accepted would be a nightmare! Spin baby spin! (Wonderful cookies!)

backslashbaby
05-02-2009, 04:22 PM
Logically the next step would have to be getting it out there (yikes, eh?!) Not just to a crazy redhead who is flaky and had an explosion in her own work and takes too long to crit (ahem, sorry!)

Betas, betas, betas. SYW. Or agents!! I was reading Miss Snark on synopses yesterday. Damn, there is a lot out there to wangst over ;)

But you're not spinning your wheels ;)

Edit: Oh, and my stuff? It's too far from there now, but I know that somebody like me will like it once it's done. Finding the somebodies like me may present a problem, but there ya go :D

BlueLucario
05-02-2009, 04:56 PM
I don't really know if I have any potential. I've set aside my work for a week and it still goes nowhere. I don't have a manuscript waiting in line right now.

Manix
05-02-2009, 05:01 PM
I don't really know if I have any potential. I've set aside my work for a week and it still goes nowhere. I don't have a manuscript waiting in line right now.

Ah, Blue, just post it up on SYW and I'll give you a critique (I don't bite--and I love to give feedback) Maybe it's not as bad as you think. Some of it might be salvageable, if it's really that bad. Or, if you don't like public critique, send it as a PM and I'll give you my opinion. You're probably being too hard on yourself.:)