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View Full Version : I feel like I'm back at Square One with writing (rant)



Sean D. Schaffer
02-23-2007, 03:26 AM
Hi everyone,

I don't know how to say this, but after 25 years of aspiring to be a professional writer, and having tried several genres and different formats of writing, I feel like I'm still trying to figure out what I should stick to writing. Earlier today I felt so depressed I wrote a little 'goodbye-letter' to my writing career. Of course, I'm not going to just give up, but I have never been good at finding exactly what to write.

I know I'm not good at full-length novels, because I can never seem to get them to proper length. I can't seem to get into anything else as far as submissions goes, because I'm terrified of failure. And I feel like some kind of loser, in a way, because I've been writing so long a time without any reward.

I don't know what to do or what to think or anything. I'm so flat-out tired and my imagination seems to have run so dry, that I cannot write anything at present, except for posts here at AW.

This is by no means a goodbye-letter. Rather, this is a mini-rant, and in a way a question. I don't know what to do, what to write, how to submit. After 25 years of writing, I kind of think that I should be somewhat more knowledgeable than I used to be. But I'm not.

So I guess the thing I need to figure out is: how do I decide what kind of writing to do, and once I get to that point, how do I go about the process of being the kind of writer I decide to be?

I'm not really depressed now, like I was earlier. Rather, I'm more confused than anything else. I see people around me getting lots of work done and here I am, seemingly unable to get past a particular point.

Maybe I should just give up; I don't know. I have no idea what I should do or how to make my career happen. I'm not even sure I want to be a full-time writer anymore. Maybe part-time, but then I read posts that tell me a serious writer spends X-amount of time behind the keyboard writing, and I feel like I'm not worthy of the title 'writer'.

I know I've written posts like this before, and if you all are pissed off by my discouragement, I understand. But right now I am so confused and so afraid I'm going to fail, that I can't seem to get myself back in gear.

Even if I could get myself back in gear, what gear would I put myself in?

scarletpeaches
02-23-2007, 03:33 AM
I've been there. Even other people trying to encourage me with words doesn't help, because when I'm in the pit, words are my enemies.

All I can say is, I hope you get back to a place where writing brings you joy, soon.

And lots of money. :)

kdnxdr
02-23-2007, 03:38 AM
Hey SDS,

As a novice writer, I appreciate your candid honesty. I've heard other writers talk about going through different phases with their writing.

As I am just beginning to enter the ring (I'm up to about 40 pages into my first book.), I'm not going to have a very strong platform to encourage you.

In my mind, these valleys are probably a big part of writing the things that seem to make it difficult for you or pretty common, from what other writers say. I would think that if you backed off, gave your self some breathing room and took a fresh angle, it would help you get refreshed.

Write in small increments, experiment, read a book on writing, take a vacation, go do something fun, etc. Stop trying so hard and maybe you won't throttle the flow. Maybe a new hobby? Painting? Extreme sports?

I just think that whatever a person does in life, they should do because they have a passion to do it.

Hope something I said helps. Wish you well,

kid

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 04:10 AM
Sean, sometimes it's important to keep on plugging, even when you hate what you're writing, and hate yourself for writing it.

BUT....sometimes, it's important just to walk away. To put your writing in a folder and go outside and leave it all alone for a week or two. Or longer. Writing is great for the mind, but you can drown in it if you don't learn to abandon it once in awhile.

Pat~
02-23-2007, 04:17 AM
I agree with PeeDee. Give it a good rest for a short spell, and maybe read something inspirational instead. Or get some exercise, and listen to some really great music while you're at it. All those "oughta" "shoulda" feelings are making you anxious, and the mind can't be creative when you're in that state.

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 04:20 AM
I agree with PeeDee. Give it a good rest for a short spell, and maybe read something inspirational instead. Or get some exercise, and listen to some really great music while you're at it. All those "oughta" "shoulda" feelings are making you anxious, and the mind can't be creative when you're in that state.

And by "read something inspirational" it means go read some novels that floor you. The sort of books that make you go "Geeze, I couldn't write like that...NEVER could I write like that."

It helps.

Pat~
02-23-2007, 04:31 AM
Yes, read something from the genre that most interests you. Right now my muse is on strike, and since poetry is the genre that most interests me, that's what I'm reading. I'm hoping that hearing the rhythms of good writing will entice the muse to return.

lippyone
02-23-2007, 04:41 AM
Writing is all about re-writing. If you don't love to re-write (or at least learn to do it) you'll never amount to anything in the world of writing. My rule of thumb is spend 70% of time re-writing, 20% of time researching and outlining, and 10% of time writing original pages. Give that a try on your next project and see if it helps...but writing is also about networking...entering contests...trying to get an agent...or if you really believe in your work self publishing...maybe try blogging...all sorts of stuff...

MidnightMuse
02-23-2007, 04:45 AM
I agree with them (above me. Yeah, them) It might be best to give your brain a vacation, turn off the stress and frustrations, and read a few great books. Take up a new hobby that has nothing at all to do with writing, or launch yourself into a hobby you enjoy already.

You're a creative person, but we can all dehydrate our creativity now and again. I've had this happen, and the best cure was to acknowledge it, stop stressing, focus on something else and just have some writer-less fun. Then, suddenly (and usually when I'm the furthest away from a pen, paper or computer) I get hit in the brain with an idea so great, I HAVE to sit down and work on it, no matter how long it takes to get out.

Most of all, hang in there. :)

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 04:52 AM
Writing is all about re-writing. If you don't love to re-write (or at least learn to do it) you'll never amount to anything in the world of writing. My rule of thumb is spend 70% of time re-writing, 20% of time researching and outlining, and 10% of time writing original pages. Give that a try on your next project and see if it helps...but writing is also about networking...entering contests...trying to get an agent...or if you really believe in your work self publishing...maybe try blogging...all sorts of stuff...

If I spent 70% of my time re-writing my stuff, I would have hung myself years ago.

MidnightMuse
02-23-2007, 04:59 AM
Wow, I was typing my post when you posted, lippyone, and missed that. And I agree with PeeDee - 70% rewriting?

Shoot me now.


Seriously.

Will Lavender
02-23-2007, 05:18 AM
This is probably too simple, but:

I say write what you like to read. Whatever you enjoy reading most, write that. I tried to write the book I would like to pick up in a bookstore.

And afraid of failure? Hell, we all fail. Hard. All the time.

You can't be afraid of rejection. You'll get rejected. I promise. :)

Keep at it. Maybe, like PeeDee says, you just need a break.

Shadow_Ferret
02-23-2007, 05:28 AM
25 years. Bah. I see your 25 years and raise it to 35 years.

Let's see where your writing career is in 10 years.

But then, guess what? I'll have 45 years then. I'll always have 10 years on you. So neener neener neener.

Have a beer and get back to the keyboard, mister.

Linda Adams
02-23-2007, 05:35 AM
Your signature line caught my eye:


Well, I've finally trunked my twenty-year-old novel and have gotten the closure I so desperately needed.

Have you worked on one novel for twenty years? I worked on one novel for about the same time, trying to make it work and getting frustrated because it didn't and nothing I did worked. I also had a hard time with the length. Ultimately, I permanently shelved the story because it simply carried too much baggage because of all the frustration. Later, I realized one of my problems was that I had literally grown out of the novel and hadn't known it.

I would also suggest not worrying about what other people think a serious writer is. I had someone give me some bad advice years ago when I was trying to write screenplays. They said that, to be successful, I needed to write a screenplay a week. Okay, I wrote a screenplay a week, burned myself totally out, and didn't have luck selling any of them. Now I cringe everytime I hear someone say "You have to write X a day." Tonight I worked late. If I had a word count or time goal, I would have started it frustrated because of the lost time because I was late. Yes, there does eventually need to be some kind of push to write more, but if you're shooting for first publication, take the time you need. I'll tell you I learned a LOT of new skills (once I was willing to trash the first book and start a different one and do many, many revisions), and those lack of skills are why I struggled so much with the first one. The length issue may simply be a skill area you haven't learned yet. I still have trouble with length and have a tendancy to run under, rather than over.

Taking a break is a good idea. Use the opportunity to stretch your wings. Read something from every genre, even ones you wouldn't normally touch.

Good luck!

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 05:37 AM
If I wrote one thing for twenty years, I would hang myself then too... :)

Neil Gaiman talks about a woman who told him that he wouldn't make any good money unless he wrote each issue of hsi comic in one week, like she did. He nodded, smiled, and kept on taking as long as he needed to. HIs comics have hung around forever and forever, and hrs are gone and forgotten.

Don't listen to stupid advice. Dont' be afraid to just write, without importance or gravity to the project. Just write something smash-bang-fun.

You can get burned out by a lack of creativity. You can get drowned out by too much creativity too. Make sure that's not happening. That happens a lot.

lippyone
02-23-2007, 06:27 AM
Everyone is different...some people agonize over every word and it takes days to create a single page of prose or screenplay. Others have a general idea what needs to be in a scene and they can write at a rate of multiple pages per hour. If you are in the former category maybe my ratio doesn't quite apply (you do a lot of pre-processing) but if you are in the latter category it most definitely does apply. Learn to love the rewrite and prepare to actually write something word reading!

I challenge you to ask any accomplished writer (other than media writers).

Sean D. Schaffer
02-23-2007, 08:18 AM
Thanks, everyone, for your posts. I think you all might be right; I need to take a break from creative writing. I'll probably just relax for the next couple days and get back to work. Also, I would like to thank those who pointed out the flaws to the 'serious writer' syndrome I seem to be suffering from. It's good to know that I am able to slow down and work at a pace that I am more comfortable with and still consider myself a writer.

I am going to have to consider, though, the possibility that full-time writing might not be for me. Probably I will have to make it a part-time goal instead, because of my mental problems and because of the stress involved in a full-time writer's lifestyle that I've read so much about in the posts here.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your help. I know I write stuff like this every so often, and part of it has, I think, something to do with my Disthymia--a form of Depression. Plus, I've been going through a lot of hellish ordeals lately, and I think it all has beaten me down to where I cannot think properly.

So the idea several of you had for me to take a break, definitely seems like what I'm going to have to do. I'll see if I can't find some writing that I really want to read, and go for it.

Thanks again, everyone.

:)

Shadow_Ferret
02-23-2007, 08:26 AM
Hold on there. I don't recall telling you to take a break. I said have a beer and get back to the keyboard.

lfraser
02-23-2007, 08:32 AM
Sean, I go through the same feelings periodically, and when I do the quality of my writing takes a nosedive.

I've been re-reading the scenes I wrote a year and a half ago, in the previous version of my novel. I wrote them when I was writing only for pleasure, and it really shows. The writing is easy and flows well, and I'm surprised at how good it is -- better than a lot of what comes out of me on the days when I feel that I absolutely must write because if I don't I'll never be any good, and who am I kidding, I'll never be any good anyway, and then my life will have been wasted but nobody cares about me anyway so what difference does it make? You know, that all-or-nothing shit some of us put ourselves through.

When that starts to happen I just do something else, because ultimately I'm doing this for the sheer joy of writing.

WildScribe
02-23-2007, 08:33 AM
Maybe you should submit your letter to a writing mag... it's a popular sentiment. They might like a new take on how terrifying writing can be, followed by a quip about still writing?

lfraser
02-23-2007, 08:47 AM
Hold on there. I don't recall telling you to take a break. I said have a beer and get back to the keyboard.

You're a meanie. :tongue

tlblack
02-23-2007, 08:50 AM
There aren't too many people that know I didn't write for two years after a certain sleazy publisher got my ms from my scam agent. (guess there will be about 13,000 or so now lol) I had the best of both bad worlds at the same time, as well as that cloud 9 feeling before the rug was pulled out from under my feet. It took two years for me to pick up a pen and write more than a grocery list or a note to my sons teacher. I don't know that my doubts will ever go away, but I have written something in one form or another since I was a kid. I had to step way back and take a hard look at everything. I still blame myself for being naive about agents and publishers, but then at the same time I have to remember that there wasn't any of the negavity about either one when my book was put in print. None that I found anyway, and I did look. I got my contract cancelled without too many of those lovely rant replies that didn't answer any of the questions I had posed, and started rewriting my book for my own satisfaction, if nothing else. I sit here now and still wonder if what I write will ever really be "good enough" but I refuse to keep letting that one bad experience ruin the rest of my life. So... I write and I write and I write and then I tuck it away or put it on the computer. Right now it doesn't matter what words come out of my head or what genre they need to be stuck in, they are being written. When I get my current books into the best form I think they can be then I will start submitting them and see what happens. Besides, if I don't write down all that my mind thinks about, how in the H E double toothpicks will I EVER use up 17 reams of printer paper, a dozen or so notebooks, or use all the lead in the pencils that fill one whole drawer of my desk? My closet is ... well... I wouldn't open it too fast lol. I wrote down the details, not all of them, but enough to perhaps make a point, and then put it somewhere where maybe it can be of some good.

Take care Sean and try to focus on the positives and not the negatives. I know it's not easy, but I also know that if you only focus on the doubts then you won't be able to get past them. Not sure this helped any or not. If you want someone to talk to feel free to PM me. I am not sure how much help I can be, if any, but I got biiiiiiig ears... or is that shoulders? Hmmmm, where's that damn mirror when I need it? Oh wait... I remember now... last time I saw it was this morning when I woke up. It screamed, jumped off the dresser, and bolted out the door.

MMcC
02-23-2007, 08:59 AM
Take a break, but make it a short one. Before going back to writing either your novels or anything similar, try doing reviews or an article that's not creative, but critical in approach. Read a lot, but resist the urge to write creatively while doing it.

Then go become the next best selling phenom.

There, that was easy, huh? ;)

We're here, and we've all been THERE.

Sean D. Schaffer
02-23-2007, 09:10 AM
You all know what I think my big problem is? I think tlblack hit the nail on the head. Before PA, I wrote with pleasure in mind and my words just flowed and really meant something to me. When I started pressuring myself to be a professional, I think the flow began to slow to a trickle, and eventually dried up.

What with changing the methods with which I write, and overpushing (is that really a word?) myself, I think everything just began to overwhelm my sense of what I was really doing. I think a lot of what I've learned, I'm going to have to un-learn now, so that I can get back to my original reason for writing: I originally wrote for the love of it, and I did hope also that someone would read my work and appreciate it--and the money would be cool, too. :D

But the break will help me figure a lot of the junk out and get me going into a better way of writing. I think writing critical articles like MMcC suggested, will help me return to some of my original desires in writing. And like Linda Adams pointed out, I really think the push to become a certain kind of writer (i.e. 'serious writer') has really drained me of my desire to continue. This is something I'm going to have to work out within myself like you all have pointed out to me. In effect, I'll be taking almost everyone's advice, including Shadow Ferret's, in that I will be going back to the keyboard even though it won't be for the things I've been trying to write for the last several months.

So this thread is really going to help me out in a bundle of ways, I can tell. The pushing myself has been the hardest thing for me to handle, and taking a simple break from the majority of what I'm doing will help me out in manifold ways.

Thanks again, everyone!

:)

blacbird
02-23-2007, 09:23 AM
I've gone back to square -437. I think I see you way up there ahead, but the air is all dim and blue and it's so far, I can't be sure. Can you wave?

caw

PeeDee
02-23-2007, 09:55 AM
It's worth pointing out too that "square one" isn't necessarily a negative place to be.

Think of it as a fresh start instead of a setback.

nighttimer
02-23-2007, 11:50 AM
Writing is the most frustrating and distressing gig in the world. When things are going well and you're in the zone it's almost as good as sex. Sometimes even better.

But when it's BAD....:cry: :rant: :e2violin:

Writing can make you swear at your wife and kids, kick your dogs and throw things against the wall. There's nothing as tiresome and tedious than having to hunt down and kill some creep editor who doesn't pay the $50 bucks they own you and get indignant when you suggest it might be a nice thing for him to pay you since they already published the story.

I'm in a negative zone right now with writing. One of the publications I was writing for changed formats and got rid of all the "old" writers because we didn't fit the new style. I'm still doing well enough to be part of a rotating pool of writers on a local public events TV show and I do some dabbling now and then for a community newspaper, but I'm bored and not being challenged as a writer.

So I've been sitting on my butt writing here and there as the mood strikes me. Unmotivated, unhappy and unconcerned.

Sounds like a perfect place for a writer in his mid-career phase.

Blase. Blase. :Headbang:

lippyone
02-23-2007, 05:59 PM
One last thought...It seems like most of y'all write prose and like all writers (at least those of us who are relatively unpublished) yearn for the validation that publishing would give us. Is what I wrote any good at all? If someone invested in getting it published than it must be...well there is the self-publishing route...but an easier way to get relatively honest feedback is at zoetrope.com. You review others work and people in the community get assigned to review your work. Just a thought.

scarletpeaches
02-23-2007, 06:07 PM
Sean, it sounds to me like you might be putting more pressure on yourself than other people (agents, publishers) are. There's no one way for a 'real' writer to act. There are rules to follow in grammar, but none in the actual writing process. There's no special writers' hat to wear (unless your name is poetina...)

When I wrote my first fiction novel (ho ho!) I was eighteen. It was crud. Absolutely, utter, paperwasting nonsense. But I had such FUN writing it, because I hadn't developed an internal editor then. I didn't have a clue what I was doing, apart from trying to get to 'the end'.

Then, when I started taking writing seriously in the sense of adding technicalities to my passion and commitment, that was when I realised it was work, too. Still fun, but there were rules to be followed if I had a snowball's chance in hell of making it.

Perhaps your internal editor is taking over? Give yourself permission to write crap. Hemingway said, "The first draft of anything is shit."

And as you progress, just remember that each progressive first draft is slightly less shit than the previous one. ;)

Pagey's_Girl
02-23-2007, 06:16 PM
That's why I still play around with my fanfiction stories in addition to my "serious" work. It helps me keep in mind how much fun writing is, and it gives me a much needed break from that "OMG, I have to do this, I have to be perfect, it has to be amazing on the first try or else it's crap!" feeling. Once I can get back into that headspace of "I'm writing this because it's fun, because it's for me, because I want to tell this story" then I can look more objectively at my original stuff.

Just my $0.00002 cents (adjusting for inflation there. :) )

scarletpeaches
02-23-2007, 06:18 PM
I'd say it was worth about...37p. Don't sell yourself short. :D

Cav Guy
02-23-2007, 06:29 PM
Sometimes you just need to relax and let it come to you when it does. 70% rewriting sounds a bit much to me, and most of the "serious" writers I've met were pretentious jackasses who spent their time writing turgid crap that impressed the hell out of some "writers' collective" somewhere but put real readers to sleep or made them want to kill themselves (or whoever wrote the crap they just read).

You have work (rewriting, editing, serious-type stuff) and then you have play (sketching a character for the hell of it, reading fluff - I like Get Fuzzy - or something non-serious).

Let yourself go and just do something fun.

Sean D. Schaffer
02-24-2007, 09:06 AM
Hi everyone,

I feel much better now. I've been relaxing today and as I sat down at the typewriter to just write whatever, an idea for a novel came to me. First, it was just a two-page vignette, but now it's grown to include an 8-page first chapter. This is all organic; I have not done any outlining at all. It's just coming together. I now understand, I think, the importance of just writing for the pleasure of it. As I continue writing this work, it flows in its own unique directions and kind of leads me on to where it wants to head.

I am overjoyed that I have learned a new lesson today, and I am glad to be applying it to my writing life. Thanks everyone, for your kindness and your willingness to listen to my OP rant.

:)

Sassenach
02-24-2007, 10:57 PM
Everyone is different...some people agonize over every word and it takes days to create a single page of prose or screenplay. Others have a general idea what needs to be in a scene and they can write at a rate of multiple pages per hour. If you are in the former category maybe my ratio doesn't quite apply (you do a lot of pre-processing) but if you are in the latter category it most definitely does apply. Learn to love the rewrite and prepare to actually write something word reading!

I challenge you to ask any accomplished writer (other than media writers).

Huh? Do you mean journalists?

lippyone
04-11-2007, 05:47 PM
Huh? Do you mean journalists?

Sorry for the delay. But yes I do mean journalists. They tend to write very direct and fact driven work. Rarely do they consider deeper issues such as theme, foreshadawing, subtext, etc. Rarely do their stories have a lot of movie parts and rarely do they make up dialogue.

Elodie-Caroline
04-11-2007, 06:22 PM
I've only just come across this posting, otherwise I know I would have answered it before.
Anyway, for me, I write because I have the faint idea of a story, then these ideas build up into a bigger story and get sub-plots and stories within and behind the main story. I also realized that the story I am editing at present has a perverse kind of subtext to it, one I didn't realize was there until after I'd written it. It has characters in which I give life to and I care about, they have mannerisms for when they are happy and sad, for when they are using their sense of humour, for when they are feeling hurt down to their soul.

But I can't help but feel that you are attempting anything to become a writer. For myself, if I didn't have these people in my head, who's story I need to get out, then I wouldn't write... I couldn't write just for the sake of it.


Elodie

NTG
04-11-2007, 06:39 PM
You all know what I think my big problem is? I think tlblack hit the nail on the head. Before PA, I wrote with pleasure in mind and my words just flowed and really meant something to me. When I started pressuring myself to be a professional, I think the flow began to slow to a trickle, and eventually dried up.

Lots of people do things they hate because they need or want the money. But IMO, writing shouldn't be one of them. If it ain't fun, don't do it.
You've been pressing. Quit doing that. (Just like all these other nice people said.) Let go. Let the enjoyment come back. When you feel like it, write something just for you, and maybe a best friend or two. Just for fun. No pressure. Try to remember why you wrote the first story you wrote. Try to get that feeling back.

In the meantime, back up even further, and ask yourself what you really enjoy doing when nobody makes you. Is writing the only passion you have? Or is there anything else? (Being outdoors, flying, painting, driving cars or trucks, selling things, volunteering to help people, teaching, solving math puzzles, working with animals. . .anything at all. . .) Is there anything that you have a passion for that you might enjoy doing for a while? Back up and take a long hard look. Who knows. . .maybe what you want to do is write specifically about that passion.

Not trying to tell you what to do. Just tossing suggestions in the air. You wanna practice skeet shooting with 'em, be my guest.

NG

seun
04-11-2007, 06:41 PM
I'll second (or third or fourth) the suggestions to take a break. If it's a few days or weeks, a break could help a lot. Let yourself think about writing but don't force it. You'll hopefully end up thinking about what to write, your subjects and characters while doing anything but physically writing. If you can think 'quietly', you might find it helps.

Hope it does, matey.

Popeyesays
04-11-2007, 09:11 PM
Thomas Harris turns out a novel every seven years by average. Think his career is hurting?

Regards,
Scott

Ms.Write
04-11-2007, 10:11 PM
Like the others here, I too can relate.

I would say, definitely take a break, then start paying attention to the issues that concern you, the storylines that intrigue you (even movies). I would analyze the novels I truly admire, to see what makes them work.

I found all the Julia Cameron's books very helpful - The Artist's Way, The Vein of Gold and especially The Right to Write. They're very helpful in dealing with our inner critic, finding inspiration and much much more.

If writing is part of your life, you are a writer. If you want to be a published writer, you need to look at market guidelines and get feedback on your own work.

I too got discouraged and took 10 years off novel-writing, turning to other forms like poetry as a creative outlet. The point is, can you be happy not writing? I know that I cannot. It's something I have to do.

There are many people out there who don't know what they want to do. At least you know that you want to write. I don't know what kind of writing you really want to do, but I'd say look at the type of stuff you like to read (or even view in other mediums like film). If you really want to find your direction, just ask and then be open to what moves you.

OOPS - just realized this is an old post! I was responding to the question posed in the beginning.

Sassenach
04-11-2007, 10:44 PM
Maybe you don't really want to be a writer. Which is fine. Or you have issues you have to deal with. If the latter, I highly recommend The Artist's Way.

engmajor2005
04-12-2007, 01:47 AM
I can't seem to get into anything else as far as submissions goes, because I'm terrified of failure.


There's your problem.

Novelhistorian
04-12-2007, 01:54 AM
See whether you can write something just for fun, that no one will ever see. Make it side-splitting, if you can. Maybe a fragment about your seventh-grade teacher whom everyone thought was the biggest nerd on the planet. Anything, so long as it's ridiculous and absolutely not intended for an audience.

Then, once you put the smile back on your face, see how you feel.

engmajor2005
04-12-2007, 02:01 AM
See whether you can write something just for fun, that no one will ever see. Make it side-splitting, if you can. Maybe a fragment about your seventh-grade teacher whom everyone thought was the biggest nerd on the planet. Anything, so long as it's ridiculous and absolutely not intended for an audience.

Then, once you put the smile back on your face, see how you feel.

Not to hijack, but I've been feeling pretty shitty about my writing lately. Maybe I need to do that.

Helloooo Legend of Zelda fanfic! Helloooo vampire erotica!

lfraser
04-12-2007, 06:03 AM
Not to hijack, but I've been feeling pretty shitty about my writing lately.

Me too. But I don't really obsess about it much these days. I'm moving forward, page by page, and if it stinks, so what? It's the first draft. The story's taking shape. And every now and again, when I'm not expecting it and I've given up on writing for the day, one of my scenes starts to play in my head, and I see how it could be better, and before I know it another skeletal scene has been fleshed out nicely.

The thing is, if I'm stressed about writing, I can't write. Maybe a pro needs to be more stringent about their writing time, and has to force their way through the various roadblocks that appear along the way, but I don't. I'm just learning. And I have a demanding full time job that eats up most of my life. That job pays the bills and keeps body and soul together. So writing time is limited. I just do the best I can.

And really, t'aint like anybody's ever gonna actually read this thing. It's only a proto novel. I supose some day I might have the guts to show it to someone else. Or maybe I'll decide it's just too turgid and overblown and boring and jest plain stupid to be unleashed upon some poor unsuspecting soul, in which case I'll save it to a cd and forget about it. Whatever. The real goal is to finish it.

If it isn't fun, why do it? We aren't all cut out to be writers. Some of us don't have the discipline, and some of us don't have the talent. Chances are I fit into one of those categories. Chances are that most of the people on this board do, too. This whole writing gig is a long shot. So if I'm not enjoying the time I spend writing, it's just wasted time.

Novelhistorian
04-12-2007, 06:37 AM
This may be off-topic or may not, but there are some laughs to be had on another thread in this forum, about unusual (to put it mildly) images taken from school essays.

Birol
04-12-2007, 06:59 AM
Sorry for the delay. But yes I do mean journalists. They tend to write very direct and fact driven work. Rarely do they consider deeper issues such as theme, foreshadawing, subtext, etc. Rarely do their stories have a lot of movie parts and rarely do they make up dialogue.

How do you relate journalists to other writers of non-fiction? Do you feel writers of authorized biographies, how-to books, textbooks, etc., consider such things as theme, foreshadowing, or subtext?

Sean D. Schaffer
04-12-2007, 10:13 AM
Maybe you don't really want to be a writer. Which is fine. Or you have issues you have to deal with. If the latter, I highly recommend The Artist's Way.


You know, you're the second person (Haskins was the first) to present that idea to me. At first I thought he and you might have something. But I think it's not so much my desire not to be a writer, as it is to be more than just a writer. I've been focusing on nothing but writing for the last several years, and I've always had an equally abiding love of art.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I believe I have been pushing myself too hard and, like Engmajor2005 pointed out, my fear of failure has also been a huge problem for me. Further, I have been pushing myself in one direction only, while leaving my other talents untapped.

So I'm going to focus on different forms of art, and not just writing. My drawings used to be one of my main forms of expression, and I still dabble in them every now-and-then. I'll still write, of course, because writing is another of my talents that I think would be wasted if I didn't continue to pursue it. But I think you basically hit the nail on the head with the idea I have some issues to deal with.

I'll see about googling The Artist's Way and finding out what it is. If it can help me figure out what's going on, great.


Thank you kindly for the suggestions.

:)

JanDarby
04-12-2007, 09:04 PM
I'll repeat the recommendation for The Artist's Way. A lot of the book's focus is on using other forms of art/awareness/play to get rid of the assorted blocks that are preventing you from doing what you really want to do.

One of my favorite bits of advice in the book, and one I need to remind myself of right now, is that it's a lot harder, a lot more exhausting to AVOID doing the work you're supposed to be doing, than to just do it. There are, of course, reasons why we avoid the work, but it can sometimes help to realize that a lot of the angst comes from the avoidance, rather than the work itself.

JD