1. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark

    Indecision about quality

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by HorusEye, Sep 16, 2009.

    Maybe I should ask this on a psychology forum instead, but here goes...

    I'm having trouble discerning which parts of my writing are good and which parts that suck. Thing is, my reactions to my own writing aren't consistent. I could read a paragraph one day and think it was brilliant, then read it again (perhaps right after, or the next day) and think it sucks. Then I edit it and think it's somewhat better. Later again, I'll read the edit and decide that the first version was best. Some days I just wanna delete everything and some days it feels like gold.

    I can sometimes have it the same way with other peoples' work. Yesterday I watched a film that I had loved previously, but this time i found it to be trite and boring. Vice versa has happened too.

    Am I really just reviewing my own current mood rather than what is before me?

    Perhaps I try and see it through someone else's eyes and decide they would hate it?

    Perhaps I just read it too many times?

    If you've felt similar and got input on it, I'd love to hear...
     
  2. Joran Selemis
    Offline

    Joran Selemis Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2009
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    I can usually discern my bad and good writing by finding an example of the effect I am trying to create and mimicking the style but with my own take on it. This may work for you.
     
  3. arron89
    Offline

    arron89 Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    2,460
    Likes Received:
    91
    Location:
    Auckland
    You need to find a way to be objective about it. Forget "I like the way I wrote that sentence" or "This dialogue is ****" and start asking "What am I doing in this scene?", "How am I doing it?", "What effect will this have on the reader?".

    Basically, this is where you have to get technical, to get inside your work and start tighening screws, so to speak. Its not enough to let your attachment to the words cloud your judgement. Question everything, be ruthless, but don't make it about aesthetics yet. You might hate a sentence, but if you can see a clear reason why it belongs, or a clear function it serves, leave it. I think style and aesthetics should be the final concern. You need to make sure what you have is working like it should first. So don't be afraid to rip apart what you've wrtten and look at what makes it tick. Chances are, those mechanics will have been created unconsciously while you were writing the early drafts - now is the time to bring them into the conscious view and see how they can be fixed and improved. If you concern yourself too much with style and aesthetic quality too early on, you risk excising necessary structures andmechanisms from yur work without realising it.
     
  4. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    I second what arron said. Also, it may help to get an outside opinion. Ask someone who has some knowledge in writing/editing and ask him or her to look over your work and give you some feedback.
     
  5. Rei
    Offline

    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2008
    Messages:
    7,869
    Likes Received:
    32
    Location:
    Kingston
    I think this is normal and it's something you shouldn't worry about it. Everyone has these moods.
     
  6. FrankB
    Offline

    FrankB Member

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2009
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    2
    Everybody's right but also keep in mind that you're (hopefully) growing as a writer. The same clothes you wore when 10, no longer do the job. Jokes that cracked you up at four, aren't quite as amusing when you're 16.

    Most folks who are in the formative stages of their writing careers have much to learn, both in life and in writing. With maturity, comes recognition of strengths and weaknesses. You'll learn to write to your strengths and improve on your weaknesses.

    In short, (and theoretically) the more and longer you write, the more your work will improve. You'll do a better job of editing on the fly and you'll produce less crap.
     
  7. jwatson
    Offline

    jwatson Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2009
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    canada
    I agree with Rei

    I feel this way a lot and there is nothing I can do about it but ignore the voice in the back of my head saying, "This sucks."

    I always cling onto the fact that there has been writing worse than what I have that has been published. Of course, that is only my opinion. That thought usually reassures me but it's also quite arrogant but I don't mean it to be...
     
  8. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,351
    Likes Received:
    2,891
    Location:
    Boston
    Here's an interesting fact: late in his life, Tolstoy thought his great novel War and Peace to be "wordy trash." This just shows how opinions about your own work can change.
     
  9. architectus
    Offline

    architectus Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2008
    Messages:
    1,796
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    Ca
    I've never experienced this with movies or novels. If I liked a movie, I like it every time I watch it.

    Were you're moods different when you liked a movie and disliked it?

    Perhaps only read your writing when you are in a good mood.
     
  10. HorusEye
    Offline

    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2009
    Messages:
    1,215
    Likes Received:
    48
    Location:
    Denmark
    Maybe the film/book has stuck with me for a long time and I've praised its brilliance in my head too much, so that when I return to watch/read it again my expectations of it have surpassed itself. Or something along those lines. Maybe it has simply been sufficient time for me to change as a person, inbetween viewings.

    Oh, that's a very good advice, actually. I think sometimes I might experience a strike of paranoia, hurry over and open up my latest document to verify that it's not complete garbage, and of course in such a mood it's hard to like anything. ;) I'll make it a rule not to!

    Cheers
     
  11. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    you may just not have spent the years of reading and viewing written works and movies that it takes to acquire the experience to become a 'discerning' reader/audience...

    as you grow in knowledge, experience, and discernment, you'll most likely find that much of what you once considered ok, or even great, isn't...
     

Share This Page