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How do we attack discouragement?

Discussion in 'Insights & Inspiration' started by Mordred85, Jul 5, 2015.

  1. lastresort

    lastresort Banned

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    When I was a teenager, I was learning to play guitar. But there was a friend who was also learning, and he was just sensational. It discouraged me to the point where I said to myself "no matter how hard I try I'll never be as good as that". It was a mistake. I have developed my own artistic style since then, which is totally different to his. He is technically light years ahead of me still but he would struggle to capture the same mood that I can evoke. We are unique works of art in the end. We all have something different to offer.
     
  2. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    Only a mother could love
    those clunky chords.
    Strum dee strum dee strum
    My clunky chords
    my clunky chords
    never will be better than yours
    oh yeah
     
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  3. lastresort

    lastresort Banned

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    clunky poem more like it
     
  4. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's actually a soft 'ch' sound if you read it properly. I'll go elsewhere for my lit crit from now on.
     
  5. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Bayview is right in that authors often (if not always) approve questions beforehand and that gives them time to research and sound far more knowledgeable than—perhaps—they actually are. But...

    I used to feel the way you do. I love science fiction, but most of that genre is written by people with degrees in science and since I don't have one... well, you get the picture.

    Then a couple of years ago, I got the idea that since I also love comedy, I could combine the two. I was almost inspired.

    At about the same time, I noticed an inordinate number of people on social media who treat science as if it were a religion. And that's when the other shoe dropped for me.

    Combining science fiction and comedy with the express purpose of poking fun at the beliefs of Science Zealots turned out to be my oeuvre. Before that, I had trouble coming up with story ideas... or thought I did. Since then, I've got far too many, a lot of them based on ideas I had rejected before.

    And writing has become far easier. Well, not easier, but easier to talk myself into... if you know what I mean.

    Look for your niche. I'm sure it's there somewhere.
     
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  6. furzepig

    furzepig Member

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    Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm writing a historical fantasy right now, and looking at published works in the subgenre sometimes makes me despair a bit. I was cheered up recently, though, when I discovered that Guy Gavriel Kay had posted research bibliographies for his historical fantasy novels. I cribbed a couple, and was very heartened to see that he'd mentioned like 6-10 books. I can read 6-10 books. Actually, I don't even need to read that many, because I already know a fair amount about my time period.

    Also, in case you're thinking about jumping off the pier into researchdom . . . a great way to start learning about a topic you know nothing about is to start with middle-grade nonfiction books. DK publishes some fantastic ones, with shiny color pictures and everything. That can give you the basic understanding you need to decide where you want to drill down and do more involved research.
     
  7. Cervo

    Cervo New Member

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    You are focusing on the wrong things here. One thing is that authors you talk of are probably all older than you. When you grow older you both have experience/knowledge, and have started to piece the world better together in your head. As for children's books, people will probably be equally baffled fifty years from now over what is being written today. It is not necessarily more complicated, only different.

    What is important here is to stick to your own guns. Read what you are interested in and try to learn from that, whether it is style or knowledge and remember that no amount of knowledge compensates for bad style.
     
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  8. Amy Brahams

    Amy Brahams Member

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    Nice ;)
     
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  9. Crybaby

    Crybaby Active Member

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    Oh, I know exactly how you feel. This forum for instance, when reading other peoples work for critiquing, I look at the standard of writing and think to myself, I'm nowhere near as good as this.

    Listening to others talk about how they set out to write can often make me feel discouraged and out of my depth.
    I too write in common tongue and this is what I prefer to read, and like you it gives me hope also. Confidence is a bugger but they way I look at it is, if you enjoy it, keep at it.

    I tell myself this everyday. :D
     
  10. Albeit

    Albeit Active Member

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    "Comparisons are odious." - Jack Kerouac I believe.

    The only comparison worth a damn as far as self confidence is concerned are the ones that allow you to gauge if you are getting better.
     
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  11. Lew

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    I ran into this with a massive project that started 20 years ago, historical fiction about a Roman diplomatic mission to China. I was fairly comfortable with Rome, and got comfortable with first century sailing, but as they approached China, I became intimidated at my ignorance of most everything having to do with Han China, and set it aside. About three years ago I picked it back up, did some research, and finished it. The key is to keep going. If you need to do some research, just do it.

    As to 50s children's books, my son-in-law (British) gave me a book, one of a series of children's books from that era about a pilot named Biggles. Nothing childish about that one, nor even any children in it, packed with action (though no profanity) and made me want to go fly a Sunderland flying boat! I think we talk down to children too much today in literature, rather than expose them to the possibilities of life. I got my start reading Robert Heinlein in elementary school, whose young characters built rockets in their garage, or had a radio station in their room with QSL cards from lunar stations. Never built that rocket, but I did get my degree in Aero Engineering so I could have. And in high school I designed and built a 100W voice and CW ham transmitter that worked quite well, thanks to Heinlein's inspiration. Got QSL cards from lots of countries, but never the moon.
     
  12. Lew

    Lew Contributing Member Contributor

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    Famous poem from the 60s, "Desiderata,"

    "Do not compare yourself with others, lest you become vain.. or bitter."
     
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  13. Kallisto

    Kallisto Active Member

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    Thanks for this. Yeah, I just got someone who said that my story (which I worked for 7 years on) wouldn't pass as junior high fanfiction. That hurt a lot and I have no idea why. Everyone seemed to like my story okay and those who said they didn't like it, just politely said, "Sorry, but it seems to need a lot more work. Here's my feedback for what I did read and some suggestions for improve."

    Then after reading this and rereading the rude critique, I realized it wasn't about me. It was more about them coming to me when I was halfway through critiquing their story on a message board with a deadline or else I don't receive credit. They come to me with this new draft and say, "Can you critique this one instead?" I told her no. That's not going to work. I already started on the one draft given to me. If it wasn't what she wanted critiqued, then she shouldn't have sent it to me. That's where it was a whole lot of "It's only two paragraphs. I had this great critique with a lot of great suggestions for your first two chapters, but in reality it's not better than a junior high fanfiction. It's so riddled with mistakes and typos."

    Thanks you guys because it put it all in perspective. I just sent her her story back with the critique I did, said "I hope the best for you. I'm sorry it didn't work out. I don't appreciate the name calling (she basically said "Do you have a mental illness or something?) especially since I had a friend who died of a drug overdose when he couldn't cope with his mental illness." I ran my story through grammarly just to make sure that maybe me and the other 5 people who read it through didn't miss something. Found the few typos she was talking about, and let it go. Because haters are gonna hate.

    So thank you for saying I don't suck just because I'm not perfect. It really means a lot.
     
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  14. deadrats

    deadrats Contributing Member

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    I seem to be having a a long-term relationship with discouragement.
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016
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  15. Crybaby

    Crybaby Active Member

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    Me too. Although the person discouraging me, is me :eek:
     
  16. jannert

    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    That's such a shame, but you coped perfectly. It takes a bit of grit to figure out whose criticism is worth it, and who is just being snarky and dismissive for reasons you can't fathom. Good for you.
     
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  17. S A Lee

    S A Lee Senior Member

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    I think the thing to remember is that a lot of skills, including writing, are a craft and not an innate skill.

    I'm going to make an analogy here. In karate, the black belts are called dan and the coloured belts are called kyu. Kyu are dyed cotton, but dan are white cotton wrapped in black silk. As time goes on the black silk wears away. The symbolism of this is to remind everyone, including the wearer, that they went on a long journey to earn the right to wear this belt and not to forget where they began.

    Authors who are knowledgeable sought that knowledge, they polished their books and they built their platforms to reach where they are.
     

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