1. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    How do you deal with discouragement?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Andrae Smith, Jun 30, 2013.

    The title is pretty self explanatory, I suppose. I just want to know how all of you deal with discouragement. How do you get passed those times when you feel like your writing isn't good and it's like you aren't getting anywhere. This is not writer's block, I have a lot of ideas, but I don't feel motivated to write them anymore because I just don't feel like I'm getting any better. I'm so bogged down with different takes on what's "good" writing and what's "bad", I just don't know what kind of writer I am sometimes or what really is good writing. And it just pushes me away everytime I sit down to write something... I haven't seriously written anything in months now because every time I'm motivated to write, I just lose it after a paragraph or two. That and a couple of other reasons, but I've had a lot of time recently and I just can't bring myself to write because it all feels like crap :/ Any advice?
     
  2. UnrealCity
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    UnrealCity Active Member

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    I think I deal with discouragement by accepting the fact that it takes practice and time. Writing is a skill that can be learned and practiced, and improved through practice. This is a very important thing to realize when writing:)

    Don't get yourself down - I have a habit of doing that to myself in a lot of things that I try. Just recognize that it takes time and dedicate yourself to learning and practicing. Try to push yourself a little bit further every time you sit down to write. Instead of 2 paragraphs, go for 2 and a half!

    I still haven't figured out what type of story writer I am, but I won't figure it out by not writing:)
     
  3. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    I know you're right, and I try to stay positive. Yet the more I learned and practiced, the harder it became to write and express. Now everything just feels distant, cold, and without life, ultimately withering before my eyes. Okay so that was a little dramatic, but it really feels like that sometimes. Time and practice are all it takes, but it's not easy writing when half your mind is telling you that it's no good. I've tried to block the thoughts out, but I just can't seem to shake them :p
     
  4. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    You need to read a lot in the same genre you're writing in. This sounds a bit egoish, but I honestly think my writing is better than some of the stuff that's been published. Analyze your writings and compare them with other people's work. It might help to actually read your writings as if you were someone else, reading them for the first time and reviewing them. You also need feedback from other people. If you have low self-esteem like I do, you're probably prone to being too hard on yourself and focusing on the negative. Someone without a bias can tell you if there really is something wrong with your writing. In general, I try to write everyday and if I don't, it's easy to lose that momentum. Finally, one flaw I've found in my thinking is my obsession to make every sentence perfect. It took me a while to accept that's not necessary and even the greatest writers have some really bland descriptive sentences which only move the plot forward instead of showcasing the writer's awesome talent.
     
  5. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Wow, Makeshift, that is actually some really helpful advice-- especially the last 2 sentences:

     
  6. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    It's good to take most advice with a grain of salt. Keep your writing balanced in all aspects and that will help. I would caution against taking advice to heart that tells you to completely exclude one thing or another. Don't worry about figuring out what type of writer you are. Labels are for marketing not writing. Write short stories to help you rebuild your confidence. Keep editing and working on it until you have it jut how you want it. It's a much easier undertaking than working on a larger project. It sounds to me like you're overwhelmed so I think taking smaller steps would be good. All in all it doesn't matter if you are a not a strong writer on a technical level. Technical skills can be learned creativity and the desire to write cannot be taught. You will get better the more you practice so keep at it. :)
     
  7. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Andrae, do you hang on to what you've written? It might not be as bad as you think, actually.

    The best thing to do is read it over again, MONTHS after you've written it. You might discover that being too close to it makes you see it as one big flawed piece of dog-doo. However, once you're away from it a while, you begin to look at it as if somebody else wrote it. You might be surprised at the quality.

    I know I go through phases when I think, hey this is pretty good. Then other phases when I think, geez, why do I bother? I think this flip-flopping is pretty normal, actually. I'd worry, if I always thought my stuff was fantastic and had no flaws! I've found getting distance (by this I mean time away) from any particular piece is important.

    Mind you, you do need to plunge ahead and actually WRITE your bad stuff! Otherwise you'll have nothing to work with later on. But keep it. No matter how bad you think it is, hang on to it. If you look at it three months down the road and think ...whew, this is still awful ...then chuck it. But I'll bet you'll like it better than when you wrote it—and if you don't, you might be able to see a way to make it better.
     
  8. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    You're not going to get any better if you just stop. Re-read your old work. Dissatisfied? Good. Analyse it, work out where you went wrong and then avoid those mistakes when you work on your next story. Not satisfied with that one either? Learn what you can from that one too and then move on.

    In 2009 I was out of education and unemployed. I wrote six novels that year. Collectively, that's approx 1650 pages. Not one of those stories will ever see print. But I learned a lot from each of them about style, character, plot, pacing, tone, dialogue, etc.
     
  9. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    You've got to be confident and just try to get it out there. Sure you'll face challenges, sure it'll be hard (I'd never lie to you) but so what? Just do it?

    Somethings you shouldn't think too much about, and just keep doing because at least then you'll know you've tried. Like trying to get your stuff published. Just take a rejection as their loss, like a job offer. You don't find a job by stopping sending out applications, nor do you find someone who will publish your stuff by stopping sending it out, and getting published is much harder than finding a job.
     
  10. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Do you have another, non-writing, creative outlet? I find this can be extremely helpful for those times when you become discouraged with a writing project, when you start to doubt yourself, have writer's block or even when you just need to get away from it for a while. My favorite outlet is music - playing, not just listening. For me, playing takes me to a different place, and I always find my writing dilemmas easier to manage when I return.

    There are lots of other ways to express your creative side away from writing. And if you don't already have one, finding and developing a new interest can be a truly energizing process.

    Good luck.
     
  11. ChaosReigns
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    ChaosReigns Be Still and Know Contributor

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    i know how that feels, ive done exactly the same thing with guitar, it takes time and practise as everyone else has said, that may be the key. practise, write those ideas you have down... you can always improve them
     
  12. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Wow thank you all for your advice and support. I don't mean to sound like I'm pouting, I simply don't believe in staying down--especially if I'm the one who knocked myself over. I just didn't quite have the right perspective on things to get up and keep pushing. Writing is hard business, and giving up is not an option, but shaking self-doubt can be so hard, you need a fresh pair of eyes to see things differently.

    Yeah I guess I've been turning out what feels like crap and I haven't brought myself to keep it. I will make sure I keep whatever I turn out for a fair amount of time. I really like what Terra said about starting small. I think that is exactly what I need to do. And even if it comes out bad, editing was usually my favorite part (ironically). I've been doing some good and reading a lot more in this down time, I guess I can take a more critical eye and practice some things. I did sign up for a fiction writing class this semester so I could really learn and make some connections with people.

    Ed, I really love your input. I usually draw but my drawings are attached to my writing. If I had any musical ability, that would be awesome! No, I have actually taken to cooking. It's fun, creative and fulfilling. Maybe if I balance out my time and energy for a while I'll reach a new equilibrium from which I can try writing again.

    Once again, thank you all So much! I really appreciate your help. :)
     
  13. davidm
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    davidm Active Member

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    My method of dealing with discouragement is heavy drinking. :D I recommend a nice IPA. :)
     

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