1. NaturalSoles
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    NaturalSoles New Member

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    Are You Afraid of Yourself?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by NaturalSoles, Mar 30, 2011.

    I'm having an awful time getting started on writing daily. I always tell myself that I'm going to do it, but put it off till the next day and so on. My conscience appears behind me, peering at the blank page, waiting to criticize the first sentence thats written. Anyone feel like this as well? After reading some of the great authors of our past (Steinbeck, Twain, Hemingway), I feel like a chump compared to their works.

    I'm sick of making excuses, but my self criticism needs to get a sock shoved down its throat.
     
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  2. Smoke
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    Smoke Contributing Member

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    Hah, the first thing I do every day is usually the thing that I do for the rest of the day. Of course, housework and the mental processes of writing seem to mesh.

    What do you usually do while procrastinating? Maybe you should make a rule that you can't have it until you've filled a page.

    Then again, procrastination isn't your problem. Is that you want don't want to write it down unless it's going to shine.

    Everyone has 100 bad drawings that they must get out of their system before they can create their first good drawing.

    I should send you one of my creation files. I put deleted chunks in a text box, and I think I have one that has so much garbage from rewrites that I had to put it into the archive and start from what wasn't cut out.
     
  3. Forkfoot
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    Forkfoot Contributing Member Contributor

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    No. Steinbeck, Twain and Hemingway? Them chumps ain't got nothing on me.
     
  4. MidnightPhoenix
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    MidnightPhoenix Contributing Member

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    I always think like that, but I always say to myself if I want this so bad, then I need to get going because it not going to magical appear in front of me (I wish). I need to grasp it with both hands, this is my dream and I have to do this to make this happen. I know I am not good as any other writers but I can't think that way because it will just put me down.
    If this is your dream, then work for it. It maybe hard, but just think of the brilliant of ideas that are in your mind, write them down and see what you can do with them. Hopefully this will help you.
    I am sorry, if this isn't any help.
    We are our worst criticism.
    :) you can overcome it:)
     
  5. Bay K.
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    Bay K. Contributing Member

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    Every writer has some insecurity about their work ... to some extent, I think.
    Even the 'great authors' you mentioned.
    With them, and many others, I'm sure there were (and are) those that didn't particularly like their works, or think that they were all that --as many of us do.

    My point is, there is no scientific / standard measure for 'perfection' or 'the peak' in literature.
    One man's meat may be another's poison.

    Have an idea / issue to write about that interests you and be disciplined in persistently trying your best to write it.
    Will yourself to stop procastinating and do the best you can --according to your knowledge and ability. (You can't do what you don't know, and what you do know, do!).

    Proof-read for spelling, grammar, and the ideas you wanted to convey.
    Yes, you'll still have that doubting Thomas on your shoulder, but he's there to ginger / sharpen you up and keep you alert and focused to producing the best work you can --not a 'perfect' one. (There's no such thing).

    And, thank God for this Forum and review avenues, where you can bring your work for constructive critiques and improvements.
    I bet you those 'great authors' got some help ... (maybe alot).

    So, in sum, be diligent and focused in actually doing some writing, and do YOUR BEST.

    Have fun and good luck.


    -----------------------------------------------
    Be good, wise and strong
     
  6. 霊Ray霊
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    霊Ray霊 Member

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    I want to add this detail: Even great writers like Stephen King can create total rubbish. Or at least when they started writing imagine how it was like?

    Also, if that stops you from writing, even though writing is something that you really want to do, you´re being your worst enemy possible.

    Do you think a guitar player was able to jam and play solos when he/she first picked up the guitar? No, I had my self experience with the guitar and I´ve seen many people wanting to learn guitar. Most of them, wanted to become good guitar players but when they started playing and it sounded horrible, the pain on the fingers they quit. While some, never gave up and "voilá" they´re pretty good guitar players nowadays.

    My advice for you is to just write, try to write a whole page then re-read it. If you don´t like it, ask yourself why and try to edit it, try to re-write everything in the way you´d like it to be. If all of that fails and you keep going so hard on yourself, perhaps. at least when it comes to writing skills you have low self-esteem. If that´s the case show what you wrote to friends.

    I agree with what MidnightPhoenix said

    For the last, no matter what´s out problem if we try hard enough and (even if you disagree) believe in yourself is very important

    Cheers :)
     
  7. Elgaisma
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    Elgaisma Contributing Member Contributor

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    if you don't write you never will be as good - you will never get better and your writing will always be crap.

    Steinbeck, Twain, Dickens etc are good because they wrote and learned, then wrote some more. Of course your not going to be as good would you expect to be able to explain the hadron collider after learning that 2+2=4. No you would go and get your degree in particle physics.

    Fact is when you first start writing you are going to be writing crap if you want to stop writing crap then you need to write the crap, then write some more of it and keep going. If you are doing it right then no matter how good you are you will look back at your works a few months after writing it and think what was I on when I wrote that it is terrible.

    You have a choice - Don't write and always be crap or write the crap and improve only then do you stand a chance of measuring up to your heros who could actually be arsed to put pen to paper, deal with their rubbish and get better.

    Writing is no different to any career choice - you need to put in hardwork to be good.
     
  8. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I feel the same exact way. That's me in a nutshell.

    However, I'm learning that first drafts will always be bad. You're writing the book in its worst possible form before you take the shiner to it.

    If you find something difficult or not sitting well with you, instead of saying "'K, this sucks, I give up..." say "All right, what do I not like about this? Too cheesy? If so, how do I rework this?"

    A few weeks ago, I wrote a scene in my sci-fi novel where Helen discovers an alien baby. I wrote it, felt ill about it, and am now re-working it so it makes logical sense.

    That's something I'm starting to learn.
     
  9. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    You are not alone. This is what I've gone through so many times. I've been so cruel on myself and haven't let myself just write freely. That's a good way to put it too. "My conscience appears behind me, peering at the blank page, waiting to criticize the first sentence that's written."

    And I've felt like a chump at times as well. I've read so many books, closed the front cover, and thought to myself, "How will I ever write something that's as good as that?" The thought just drives all the hope and determination from my soul.

    But don't give up. I know it's so hard. It feels like you're blood is being drawn out of you whenever you sit down to that blank page or that white screen.

    Just start. Put on some really good music. Soundtracks preferably. Turn it up as loud as you want, and just write. Write as terribly as you ever have. But enjoy it because you are writing. You can see your characters. Hear their voices. See their thoughts. Put all of those details down without hesitation.

    And yes, it won't be perfect. I know because my first writings sucked. But I've gotten better in a way. All I did was start. All I did was think to myself, "What if I keep on practicing like this everyday? What if I really do get better?"

    You will never know until you try :)
     
  10. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    You might as well fall flat on your face as lean over too far backward.

    --James Thurber
     
  11. Daisy215
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    Daisy215 Member

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    I have a thirty page ongoing writing thing that I work on every day.
    It really doesn't have a plot or anything like that, but every day I sit down and work on it, even though it really is a horrible piece of junk.
    Then I work on more important things that I actually care about the quality of.
     
  12. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    The fact that you have read some of the great writers from the past indicates that you care about the quality of what you write. That's good. You also seem to have an expectation of matching them your first time out. That's unrealistic and self-defeating.

    True story: my stepfather, when he was in his mid-40s, was about 5-9 and over 225 lbs. He and my mother went to watch my uncle (who had run track in high school) run in the Long Island marathon. As he watched runners in all ages, shapes and sizes run, jog, walk or stagger through the last 100 yards of that 26.2 mile race, he stood and muttered to himself, "26 miles...I could do that...not right away, but I could get to that..."

    The next day, he went out and bought himself a pair of Pro Keds running shoes, at the very bottom of the running shoe market. No matter. The day after that, he came home from work, changed into sweats and his new running shoes, walked down the block so the neighbors wouldn't see his pathetic (in his mind) effort, and started to jog. He ran about a block, then slowed to a walk for two blocks until his wind came back, then he ran another. And so it went. A few months later, he entered a two mile fun run. Soon, he was entering 5 mile races, and 10-K races. A year later, he entered a half marathon, and a year after THAT, he ran his first marathon. The weight came off. Our entire family took up running, and I eventually ran two marathons myself, inspired by what he had accomplished.

    He never cared where he finished, only how he did against his own previous times. Personal Bests were very big with him. When, in his 70s, a back condition forced him to stop running, he was unbowed - he bought an exercise bike and he still uses it today, at the spry age of 83.

    Writing is a lot like running. You don't worry about beating the person who wins the New York Marathon, just be glad you're in the same event, or working up to the same event. Maybe you'll win it one day, maybe you won't. But if my stepdad had worried about all that, he never would have bought those cheap running shoes and taken those first steps.

    You have a voice inside you that is crying to get out. Let it. Hone it. Perfect it. You will surprise yourself no matter what the quality is, because the single most important thing in writing is letting the voice out. It will choke you if you don't.

    Good luck!!
     
  13. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Sidewinder - I was pleased to see you quoting Thurber. I discovered his writing when I was in high school and I still enjoy it today. You don't see him mentioned much anywhere, which is a shame. "The Night the Bed Fell" is one of my all time favorites.
     
  14. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, he's great. I'm not hugely familiar with his work, but what I've read I liked. Great sense of humor.

    The quotation's actually taken from Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird.
     
  15. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    ^How was that book? My local library just added it to their shelves. I"m thinking of requesting it.
     
  16. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    This! ^ I second everything elgaisma says here.


    I feel the exact same way sometimes, and that is not even when reading the best writers' work, no it happens even hen reading writers I dont even appreciate, imagine the feeling of not ever getting as good as the writers you think are crap! :) Because at least they are published, meaning someone found their work good enough...
     
  17. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's great. One of the best books on writing I've ever read. I definitely recommend taking a look.
     
  18. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Great subject.

    I grew up in a "can't do" and worse yet, "shouldn't do" area. There's a line in the movie, The Seven Samurai, where a peasant says, "The nail that sticks out, gets pounded down," and that typifies the attitude from my childhood. Of course I resisted this and got involved in the arts, community service, and so on, but it wasn't easy. In addition, there was a belief that only "famous people" did things like write books, cook good food, and so on. I recall being hollered at, like seriously, for attempting to invent my own recipe for chilli because I wasn't a "chef" and I replied that I did anyway, she tasted it, and looked astounded.

    Needless to say, I had to get my butt out of there in spite of the fact that there were many nice people.

    But, the problem with leaving a place is that much of it is taken with you. I've had detailed ideas for books stretching back decades and I couldn't begin writing because "I'm not supposed to do that," and so I didn't. Then a couple of years ago I developed a "F@ck it" attitude after my time working in the prison system, realizing that life is short and brutal. Also, while working in a Methadone clinic one of my patients told me that waiting for cool things like video games and movies to come out kept him alive since he had little to live for. I'm not sure I helped him as much as he helped me because he got me writing!

    So, I know how you feel but now I see creativity as a blessing and if you write the millionth Vampire story and some reader gets a thrill, then you are awesome. If no one reads your stories and at least you are satisfied, then that's awesome too.
     
  19. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Great, then it's settled. I'm reading that next. :)
     

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