1. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Advice, please...?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Lucy E., Jun 24, 2008.

    I have no idea if this is in the right section, but here goes anyway.

    Recently, I've completely lost confidence in my writing. All I can do is criticise my work; I've totally lost faith, which is making my writing suffer.

    Has anyone else ever felt like this, and if so do you have any advice for me, please?
     
  2. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    I think there's another thread exactly like this one. One of the advice I read there is to shut up your inner critic and let yourself write. Unless that inner critic has a good idea or suggestion on how to make your story better, you shouldn't listen to it completely.

    As for some personal advice, don't have any. Sure, I've felt like I can't write crap, but there's always that little story I want to tell, no matter how it comes up. I'll scrap the crap when I edit it, that's the way I think about it.
     
  3. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Thanks Klee. :)

    It's not just that I'm critical though, I just don't see the point in writing when I know that I'm just gonna churn out a load of rubbish...
     
  4. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Everyone has these periods. Seriously. What you need to try and do, is keep writing. Even if you think what you're churning out is complete crap, just keep at it. You might be right, you might be wrong, but try to identify what makes it seem rubbish, and correct it. That way, once your cycle of overcritical-ness ends, you might have learnt something from it, and be the better for it, once you're able to see some positivity in your writing.

    I hope that made some sense, Lucy...
     
  5. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Thanks. :) And yes, it made sense. ;)
     
  6. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmmm...437 posts? Lucy, you've been around here long enough to know the answers to your question. My impression of your post is that you are seeking consolation and camaraderie, more than an answer to this age-old writers' dilemma.

    In my case, after completing four "novels" over 100,000 words, the first three remain hidden in dark silence under a couple reams of watercolor paper in the bottom drawer of my filing cabinet.

    Queen Exchange, the best of the three rejects, labored with a narrow plot, based loosely on an ancient chess match between famous Russian chess grandmasters. It was fun to write but horrible to read...unless you love chess enough to understand the "tension". Pretty narrow market, huh!

    The others, well lets just say, I would have failed Freshman English, and been asked to leave a creative writing class!

    My point is the same one that you've heard time and time again on this site. You come to a line the sand that you simply must step over...you "just do it". Don't think about it. Don't stress about plot, or character development or anything else. Just finish the story...right up to the last word. Then, and only then, do you let go of the leashes of those "Inner" monsters who will turn Frankenstein into Brad Pitt. And, if all else fails, 12 x 14 watercolor sketch pads can hide a lot of abandoned manuscripts in a bottom drawer! LOL

    I hope it helps you to know that most of us suffer the same insecurities. All writers are a bit OCD...we have to be, in order to pay attention to all the details in writing. But, that tendency to be compulsive; it's a two edged sword. One side creates writing masterpieces while the other side cuts deeply into our sanity with doubt, self criticism and fear of failure. Get over it! Or, you spend the rest of your life with regrets.

    .....NaCl
     
  7. Cheeno
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    Cheeno Contributing Member

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    Yeah, I agree with the above, but I also think it's important that writers, who by their very nature bury themselves for unnatural periods of time in their obsession, need to be able step back from the precipice of their 'reality' and take an energising and cleansing deep breath. Perspective is hugely important when the focus of one's life is extreme. In respect to myself, if I didn't close my laptop, or my journal, and force myself to take a walk in the rain/sun, or go have a chat with my friendly checkout operator:), I suspect the weight of my work would force me to lose sight of my objective. We're bounded (often hounded) by our doubts and insecurities, so letting some air into the tunnel of creativity, through external activities, etc, certainly helps us see the wood for the trees.
     
  8. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Absolutely not! Consolation is pretty useless in my case, I was just wondering if anyone has any good tips for me.

    I'm clinically obsessive-compulsive, so maybe that explains it! Lol!

    Thanks for you advice, and for everyone else's. :)
     
  9. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    Interesting...you're OCD and I'm Adult ADD...opposite ends of a mental health spectrum, yet we suffer similar writing struggles. Makes one wonder? Is our difficulty related to our psyche, or perhaps it's a manifestation of our own choices. I hope it's the latter because, given free-will, I can make the right decisions and force my way to achievement (that's the "Inner Pit Bull" I mentioned a while ago - I feed him raw meat!). But...if it's the former, then I fear we're just on a bus ride with somebody else driving. LOL

    Good luck!
     
  10. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    LOL!!!
    Thanks. :)
     
  11. wildflower
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    wildflower Member

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    I get like this too at times.

    My advice is this: when you post your work for critique, write down the comments that people leave for you; good and bad. When you feel like your confidence is lacking, you can look back at them and get a boost from the positive ones. When you're just bored, you can read over the negative ones and know what to work on.

    But from what I've read (both from and of you), you shouldn't beat yourself up about being a bad writer. I've only really seen positive feedback for you.
     
  12. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the advice; I'll give it a try. :)
     
  13. garza33
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    garza33 Active Member

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    I must disagree with Banzai who wrote, 'Everyone has these periods.' If ever I felt that way, I would pack it in. Writing is like breathing. Do it or die. Writing is life, joy, beauty, and its own reward. The monetary rewards are a nice extra. A lot of what I write may be looked on as useless by others, but as long as I can prop myself up to a keyboard or grasp a pencil I plan to keep putting one word after another.

    And that's the whole secret to this writing business. Just keep putting one word after another. Don't worry about good or bad, treasure or garbage, until the page is filled and it's time to edit. Then pretend someone else wrote it. Then you can say, as Truman Capote is reported to have told a student, 'This is not writing. This is just typing,' and you can fix whatever is wrong. About 90 percent of good writing is efficient, ruthless, editing.

    My agent has expressed confidence in my writing by finding me publishers,and those publishers have expressed confidence in the best way they know how. They send money. I do not question their judgment. Neither do I question my ability to write so long as the words keep coming and the cheques clear the bank.

    You are the very last person to decide, while you are writing, whether your writing is good or bad. Put down the words. Let them rest. Read and edit them as you would the words of a stranger. You will find that what you have written is far better than what you thought you were writing.

    I've looked over some of your posts, and you have no reason to question you ability.
     
  14. Lucy E.
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    Lucy E. Contributing Member

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    Thanks. :) Your kind advice is much appreciated.
     
  15. Brenda Keesal
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    Brenda Keesal Member

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    Hey Lucy,

    I have only ever read one book some years back about writing and it changed my life. It's called 'Writing Down the Bones' by Natalie Goldberg.. a kind of Buddhist approach to life and writing. One of the best things it talks about is the reality that writers, like athletes, need to warm up and exercise.. so she suggests filling one notebook per month with whatever the hell comes out of yr pen (yes, handwriting!). It's not about whether it's good or bad, but it helps keep you limber and in touch with the words, and it doesn't matter when or how much you write as long as you fill one book a month. Care to try?
     
  16. adamant
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    adamant Contributing Member Contributor

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    One question: how big would said book need to be?

    Actually, I usually only write on the computer given that I use enough pressure to go through the page. Additionally, it's much easier to edit on a word processor.
     
  17. penhobby
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    penhobby Contributing Member

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    Lucy, I have written three full novels and half a dozen incomplete ones, and I have never been published and probably never will. But I still get up out of bed at the same time, every time and write, whether I feel like it or not. I just do it, because I must, because I simply cannot imagine not doing it. I also have adult ADD. Hmm makes you wonder doesn't it.
     
  18. garza33
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    garza33 Active Member

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    Penhobby - You are truly a writer. If you never publish a line, your attitude and your understanding of the drive to create with words make you a writer.
     

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