View Full Version : Help? Please?

11-23-2006, 11:03 PM
[It's 5am, so I'm a little ranty.]

I'm in a bit of a quandry at the moment, I need help or advice, or something.

Almost a year ago, I had an argument with my fiance that ended with me quitting writing. It was like some kind of terminal writer's block - it hurt to write a sentence, anything beyond that was impossible to think about it. I let ideas slip by and though I thought about them, thinking about putting pen to paper seemed impossible.

A few months back, I was able to write again. I finished off my novel (ok, it was only 65k shuddup). Though the concept and characters were good, it's 65,000 words of passive crap with no style. (<- came to that conclusion on my own with the help of a couple of crits).

We had another argument the other night - I'm in the middle of end of semester exams so I'm pretty volatile, hence pushing things when I probably shouldn't.

I think the terminal block is coming back. I don't want it to, but part of me thinks I should let it.

My questions are these: Should I never ask my SO's opinion again - never try and get him to read anything I write ever again? Should I make that a no-go topic to avoid arguments that make me feel like crap? I've since ditched the novel I was writing and I've been doing world-building on a new universe, purposely trying to change my style and stuff, trying to improve my writing...and I feel like he's scribbled over it in red pen before I've had a chance to finish explaining it.

I do love him, I'm just wanting to know if anyone else has a similar situation.

Again, I apologise for this TLDR-ish post.

11-23-2006, 11:19 PM
That's a tough one, Stormhawk... I'd just stop talking about it, I think. It sort of sounds like you set it up for him to pull the plug on what you're working on--and that's self-defeating, and tough on your relationship, too. :)

11-23-2006, 11:22 PM
If it was me, I wouldn't discuss my novel with him again.

11-23-2006, 11:26 PM
For some people, discussing WIP with the SO is just a bad idea. You may find it better to get on and write it without any discussion with your fiance. When you're ready for critiques, beta readers you've never met may be a better idea. It really depends on the people involved, though, and I wasn't clear from your post if the arguments started because you asked his opinion on your work and he said things you didn't like.

Alternatively, if you ask for his opinion on something it might help to be very clear about what sort of critique you do and don't want.


Simon Woodhouse
11-24-2006, 12:16 AM
I very rarely discuss what I'm writing with anyone. My partner is supportive, but not particularly interested in the nitty-gritty of what I write. Friends and acquaintances often seem to want to talk to me about it, but I find these conversations difficult. It's hard to put writing into a context that someone will understand if they've never tried it themselves. Also, once I get started I can go on and on about it, something that I'm sure must bore people.

I've come to accept that writing is a solitary game, and it's only the end product that should be shared (with a willing audience).

11-24-2006, 12:34 AM
I echo what Mac said.

Also, a question for you, when he comments on your work, do you feel that he's commenting on you personally? Even if you don't feel this way about other critiques you receive, do you feel as if he's saying what you're doing isn't worthwhile, and therefore that you're not worthwhile, if he doesn't love it unconditionally? Or something like that?

11-24-2006, 12:38 AM
I think that one's SO doesn't have to be engaged with the writing itself. You can talk to them about markets, finding time to write and all those things surrounding writing without ever having them deal with the manuscript. I take this tack with family and BF, we discuss it in general terms, so I don't feel isolated, but they only read my stuff post-publication. My beta-readers and editors deal with the objective task of making the work suitable for its market. I also go to a writers group and talk to writers online to fill that gap.

Julie Worth
11-24-2006, 12:47 AM
Shoot him, then write about that.

11-24-2006, 12:58 AM
I'm not insecure in that I think he's commenting on me. I'm not shallow "Oh, he doesn't love my writing, so now I must be emo because he doesn't love me! DRAMALLAMA!"

I've avoided talking about the content, I have talked about it like Veinglory said, but I wanted to talk more. He's an artist and wants to do his own manga, so he's talked to me about his ideas, just after the first argument I didn't want to do the same. I told him this, because I felt it was unfair.

He said he wasn't interested in the content of the novel the first argument was about - I accepted this, but he wouldn't even give it a chance. I felt he judged me on a couple of lines he read over my shoulder.

The second one - I've started a new 'verse, but I was wanting to recycle a few things from the old one (misc characters and things that could easily be tweaked, some were too much fun to throw away). And although I was telling him about the new things, all he was hearing was that I was keeping old things, not trying anything new.

I just want to say thank you to everyone who replied, venting this is really helping me.

11-24-2006, 01:26 AM
Is there any way you could be more specific about the nature of the argument? I didn't realise it was over his critiquing until you asked about whether you should let him read your stuff anymore, I thought it was over the fact that you write in the first place. Of course you totally don't have to go into specifics, but it may help us help you to know what's going on. And why after you fight you suddenly are unable to write.

11-24-2006, 01:47 AM
I almost want to say the same thing Julie said. (You're my new hero for the day, Julie!)

You should be able to talk about your writing with your other half. But, if it constantly causes friction...maybe it's best that you don't. I never wanted to surround myself with people who gave me false support. I appreciate candor when it comes to my writing...but I expect my wife to be supportive of the fact that I'm writing and following a dream, whether or not she fully believes on the particular piece I am working on. If she tells me something I wrote is dreadful I expect, and am never disappointed, her to temper that opinion with her belief in what it is I do and why I do it.

I'm rambling. Sorry.

I don't think it should be a no-go topic. I think if writing is important in your life, you should address how you feel with him. You should say that although he may not think you are quite there in the craft, as of yet, that you would really like to feel his support as you continue to grow. He doesn't have to support your current WIP, but it wouldn't hurt him to support your craft/hobby/whatever you want to call it. That wouldn't hurt.

11-24-2006, 02:14 AM
I don't tell my family that I write. I have absolutely no intentions of telling them about anything I write until it has been accepted by a publisher. I have come to realize that this is the only way I can save myself from that dreadful, all consuming 'terminal writers block' you described. It's not that they're not supportive, its just...after I talk with them about something, I never want to touch it again. Even though she doesn't mean to do it, my mother manages to make me feel like whatever I write is the most idiotic thing ever put to paper. They don't understand that I take this seriously.

I wouldn't know about significant others, since I don't have one. I would like to think that if I have one someday, I'd be able to share these kinds of things with them, since its an important part of me that I'd *like* to be able to share. But sometimes, for whatever reason, it just doesn't work that way. It doesn't say anything bad about your relationship with them, just that in this one area, things don't mesh. If not sharing is the only way to fend off writers block, then thats what you have to do.

11-24-2006, 02:17 AM
My skin is a little thinner when it comes to my husband's comments because he's the one I most want to impress. At the same time, though, his encouragement gets me writing more than anyone else's. So, I understand your dilema, in a way.

If it really does shut you down, I would wait to let him read your novel until you have one complete draft. Then, when he finally reads it, let his voice be one among many others. That way, you will have more perspective when you get feedback. You will be better able to determine what is a problem in general, and what is just his personal preference.

11-24-2006, 03:24 AM
I eschew monogamous romantic relationships for the above reasons. Writing stuff-- I mean in a serious way, not just a scribble every so often in a journal-- is like having a baby for a couple. Sure, you might still be together after it's all over, but it totally changes everything.

I never feel like writing when I'm "with" someone, anyway. I generally take all that emotion and spend/waste it on "my lovah". (bleah) When the relationship starts to fall apart, I start writing again. And frankly, now that I'm older and wiser I find I prefer writing to being in a relationship anyway, and always have.

Not to say that I don't have friends or whatever. But having a steady boyfriend-- no way, man! Not if I want to write, draw, and play musick.

Weirdness and risk make me want to write. Waking up and saying, "What do you want for breakfast?... No, I don't know where your red shirt is..." kills my urge to write, draw, and play music. Waking up and spending half the day wondering, "What happened here?", having dangerous/illicit affairs, and being an unsociable ***hole are the things that inspire me. (I also like pretty scenery and more normal stuff like that, let me hasten to add.)

And as for showing my family members my writing-- that's crazy talk! That's why everything I've written that's been published to date has been under another name. Yes, I WISH I could discuss my writing with my mom, dad, and sisters. I certainly do. But it's not gonna happen in this lifetime.

My best friend who is the guitar player in my band is a guy I've known for a really long time now-- he's a great writer of lyrics and poetry, and I always show a lot of love for his writing. He's pretty shy about letting people read his poetry so I don't bug him about it. I've let him read outlines and chapters of my fiction, and he always does the best he can to give me good criticism-- but I know he doesn't like fiction all that much and it's hard for him to read a fictional story all the way through.

I realize that the above does not constitute what anyone could call "advice"; sorry about that.

11-24-2006, 05:05 AM
I can't write after an arguement with my husband, and we've never argued about writing. It's all the other stuff that gets in my way. General marital topics.

Since you're not married yet...now is the time to think really, really hard about the relationship. Negotiate things ahead of time; you're going to spend X amount of time writing, maybe give yourself X amount of years to publish a book, and you'd appreciate it if he'd keep his little trap shut until time's up.

Another thing to think about is: what is his purpose in his critique of your work? Is he trying to make you stronger? There would be something to work with there...talk to him (outside of an arguement. Bring it up at breakfast or something) about how certain things make you feel, and be specific in what you're looking for in feedback.

Or is he truly trying to discourage you? Out of jealousy, or controlling behaviors, or plain old spite? Then it'd be time to take Julie's advice, even if not literally. Kill him on paper, and kiss him good-bye.

11-24-2006, 06:45 AM
I've been happily married for 15 years and going on 10 books now. The secret is my wife never reads any of my books. (She does read my comic strip through.)

A very famous writer (who I dedicated my first novel to) once told me “never let anybody read your work in progress who can’t buy it, sell it or edit it.” (I’m paraphrasing as this conversation happen 15 years ago, but you get the point.)

11-25-2006, 11:04 PM
It would be nice to have a supportive SO or family. My SO will watch hours of TV and then complain if I give her a 3-page story or 5-minute short film to look at. That's a real blow sometimes.

It's a bit rude if your SO is also creative, and thinks HIS stuff is important and YOUR stuff is contemptible. On the other hand, creative people can be volatile and opinionated. I can see a manga head completely writing off romance as a valid genre, for example. Nothing personal, there are just so many "jerk opinions" to choose from.

If you get hostility, forge ahead alone, and when something is published maybe he will pay attention to it. Of course he could be threatened if your stuff ends up being more successful than his. It probably works best if neither party ever succeeds. No, that's not it either. Conclusion: People are a pain in the butt.

11-26-2006, 12:31 AM
When it comes to writing me and my husband are a bit standoffish. He really isn't interested, he's proud of me, but isn't interested in the writing itself, so I don't bother him with the stories, I don't have anyone read anything until I finish writing it. No use going into editing hack and slash mode before I've even figured out where it's going otherwise I'll never finish.

So I would suggest getting it written before you discuss anything with him, find yourself a sounding board (someone you can bounce ideas between and they help unlock your mind to what your story is trying to tell you) and write.

If he is good at editing, have him help you at that stage, if he is good at discouraging you, don't approach him on this.

As for the fair or unfair basis, welcome to being in a relationship, nothing is ever going to cut straight across, it's just a decision of whether or not the relationship is fulfilling and uplifting. If he can't help you on the writing front, but makes up for it in other areas and you can live with that, then I wouldn't even give it a second thought, just do what you love, find your happiness and your odd quirky balance and it'll work out. And punishment tit for tat kind of thing never turns out right, just find some other thing he can do for you that makes it fair in your eyes to evaluate his manga.

11-26-2006, 12:42 AM
I want to thank everyone for their help.

I'm going to talk to him today, couldn't yesterday (didn't want to chance having a fight on his birthday) and couldn't the day before (to indecisive).

I think I have to accept that he's never going to be the sounding board I want him to be (in all honesty, that's what I wanted him to be - most of the other people I've used as sounding boards are either working full-time or snowed-under with university work).

I'm gonna talk it out with him - and be rational and stuff. >.>

Thanks again,