1. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    dealing with people who write better

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by black-radish, Apr 5, 2010.

    Hey everyone,

    I love writing, I really do.. It helps me to organise my mind and it's a way to express my feelings..
    Right now I'm writing a fantasy novel, which I love soo much.. but when I read a book sometimes I get discouraged.. I just keep thinking: "why cant I write like that?"
    And I know, it's a different style and there will always be people better than you.. but it just discourages me to write.. stupid right?

    Also, I've got a friend who has this really different style, really fast and energetic, while I'm more of the describing kind, so she always changes stuff I wrote to be more "fast" saying I use to much " I ", ( "The alarm clock went off and the annoying sound dragged me back to the reality of the monday morning. My arm moved around, my fingers searching for the snooze-button.") which she doesn't at all ( "woke up in the morning and made me a cup of tea. Sipped it but burned my tongue! Ran to the sink and put my tongue under the stream of cold water. Looked at the clock, late for work! Dashed to the garden, searching the robes of my jacket for the carkeys. Forgot them! Turned around to go back inside but already closed the door-" )

    Umm what was I on about again? Oh right- I like how she writes, and I know I could never write like that... that doesn't neccicairily mean she's better, I know..

    Do you know anyone who writes different/better? How do you feel when you read your favorite author? Do you ever get discouraged?

    And how do you deal with it??
     
  2. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    You have to realize that a lot of these published writers are older and more experienced. It's only natural that someone my age is not up to their level. So to answer your question, no, I don't really get discouraged. I'll add more about this when I get home later tonight.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Of course.

    We, all of us, know people who write differently than we ourselves and people who we feel write much better than we ourselves do.

    That is their journey.

    We are each of us on our own journey as a writer.

    Concern yourself only with the journey you are on. ;)
     
  4. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    Wise words :)

    You're both right. I mean, I still have like 40 years to learn about writing and learn different techniques..

    It would actually be sad if I was at the top of my abilities now, nothing more to explore.. :)
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You should always have goals to aspire to.

    Just the other day, I commented to a friend how a particular set of characters represent some excellent writing, and that I wish I could write that well.

    It wasn't an expression of discouragement. I was excited at the possibility and the challenge.
     
  6. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    Yeah that's true.. and even so, I shouldnt feel the need to 'be better' than anyone, it's pretty dumb but I guess I'm like that...

    It's just so hard to judge your own work.. I mean, we all have blind spots.. certainly if you read your work many times..

    People around me say how much they love my work, but maybe they're just trying to be nice? Or just mention the positive sides..
    Because my boyfriend, the person who I want to be proud of me, doesn't like it at all .. He hates reading and he doesn't even like anything I write..

    So yeah, it's pretty much the opposite of each other and I don't really know how I can judge my work, because, as I explained, if I let one of my friends read it who can write themself she just tells me the stuff I'm doing wrong but it seems out of spite or something.. ugh well Im a bit tired.. I might translate something to english and then post it at the review section, but still it's hard to judge when it's not the main language..

    I guess it's all a matter of being insecure, I mean, everything you write is a little piece of your soul and it takes guts to show it to people..
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Instead of having to be better than someone else, why not just strive to be better than you were yesterday?
     
  8. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    I try, but sometimes it feels like I'm losing my talent.. that yesterday was better. BS I know, but I'm a bit in a downward spiral..

    Maybe I should just write, no whining, it'll get better, I just need to DO it.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Tell your inner guidance counsellor to shut the frak up.

    The inner critiquer who tells you, "This sentence is weak. Look for a stronger verb and lose the adverbs." is okay. That one is on your side. But the one who tells you you won't amount to jacksquat, and that your only promising future is as a correctional facility guard, well, wrap him in duct tape with a cinder block and drop him in the East River.
     
  10. thunderbyrd
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    thunderbyrd New Member

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    years ago i got gutted for no apparent reason by the novel "sophie's choice". i read novels constantly in those days and was generally inspired by whatever i read. but that novel hit me in a funny way, i just didn't feel like writing after i read it. have never understood why it affected me like that.

    but there will always be those who can do it better than you. whoever you admire as a writer, he/she is in awe of somebody.
     
  11. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    Any ambitious person is his/her own worst critic. If you feel a strong desire to write well, you're almost certainly going to judge your own work by searching for its flaws, rather than its virtues. You'll always second-guess yourself. This is natural; in fact, if you didn't feel this way, you probably don't care about your work. Many people, including myself, don't realize how hard on themselves they are; if others were to judge them the way they judge themselves, they would hate them.

    I suggest that you look for inspiration from books you read, but don't compare your own work to theirs, no matter what you might think of it. I find that my work, in all areas, comes out better when I focus on my original ideas and don't look back until it's finished, than when I over-think everything. You should try doing the same.

    Never consider yourself to be above criticism and improvement (that would be a disaster!), but always be confident in your work. Part of you needs to think that you can learn from everyone else, but another part of you has to be convinced that you are the most brilliant writer in history. For all you should care, those best-selling authors don't exist. Your ego is the most critical part to your success. An artist of any sort has to be selfish and arrogant; the only alternative is laziness, desperation, and/or self-imposed incompetence.

    Tell me if any of this helps.
     
  12. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    Yes! thanks this really motivated me! :D

    I really want to continue on my novel now but its 2:34 am so I'm heading to bed ^^

    Thanks for the help and motivation from all of you!
     
  13. MsMyth71
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    MsMyth71 Senior Member

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    I've personally flourished by surrounding myself with many like-minded writers. When I say "like-minded," I don't mean that we all write the same, but rather have important things in common:

    1. we're hungry to write
    2. we don't get off on belittling others to make ourselves look better
    3. we offer constructive advice
    4. we try our hardest to read a piece of work and ask, "what is this person doing? Can I help them do it? Can I help them make it better?" instead of "their story should be exactly what I like/want/need in a story."

    #4 was difficult to overcome. I think many writers forget they are, in fact, artists, and that there is no perfect formula that will produce a masterpiece at the snap of your fingers.

    In short, "better" is purely subjective. You may be a whiz on the line-by-line stuff, the syntax, the grammar, but that guarantees nothing except that you can write a good essay when push comes to shove.

    What is great writing to one person will be hack-drivel to another. When you find your own voice then the grousers, elitists snobs and spiteful lot really don't phase you. You learn what works for you, what's successful, what feels right and you work at building that into the best "you" that you can.

    The only writers I don't like "dealing with" are the ones who are too narrow in their thinking, who think you need a tidy little checklist. In dealing with that, I usually ignore them. They do nothing for my own personal writing growth.

    A more important question might be, does this writer (and other writers who you admire, both novice and expert) inspire you? Do they excite you?

    I can't remember a time when I looked at another writer's work and said, "wow, I am super jealous. I can't do it like that." I love having opportunities to revel in what my fellow writers (and published authors) are churning out, what's in their heart, what comes out on the page, what delights me.

    When you are inspired to fail miserably (and to pick yourself up again), then you know you're really doing something you love. It sounds like this fellow writer has a lot of confidence and that usually comes from a willingness to take risks and to push yourself outside of that comfort zone.
     
  14. CharlieVer
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    CharlieVer New Member Contributor

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    I've found I have three of them.

    There's the good one.

    There's the one that says I won't amount to jacksquat.

    Then there's the one that says that I'm the best author on the planet, that every word I put in front of another will launch the reader into instant nirvana, I can walk on water and my book is going to outsell the Bible.

    After the manic depression seesaw of listening to them, I had to duct tape both of the latter two. Neither of them knew what they were talking about.

    The good one reminds me that, if I stick with it, work hard and, when sharing my work with other writers, pay attention to the most usable feedback I get and throw out the feedback I can't use, although perfection is unattainable, my book will be pretty darn good.

    (The good one also sometimes tells me that I have to throw out some of the good stuff--the story, and not the words, are what's important. As Stephen King said, sometimes you have to kill your children.)

    Charlie
     

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