1. royalstar
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    royalstar New Member

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    I've never felt happy with any of my pieces of writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by royalstar, Jun 24, 2009.

    Never have I felt content or satisfied with anything I've written. Looking back at everything I've written throughout my life, I truly was never happy with anything.

    Is this a psychological thing? Is it a chemical thing within our brain that prevents us from never having satisfaction with a work? Will I have to bypass all these feelings of discontent with my writing just to complete any writing?

    I know that perfection is impossible, so I am obliged to be happy about a piece of writing and all its imperfections. However, I would like to feel that a work is perfect while knowing that it is impossible for it to be perfect, to know that it is the best it could possibly be.
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I think most writers feel that way.
    I do, anyway. And it really hinders my writing anything. Like today for instance, I tried to start writing a new story. The idea is in my mind, it seems like it should work, but I was having trouble starting as I wasn't happy with anything that was writing. I tried to force my way through it but couldn't. On the other hand, once I get going things tend to improve and I can at least fix things til I'm happy with them, its just laying down the first (inevitably awful) draft that I find hard to get through.
     
  3. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    I think I could definitely be happy with something I wrote. I'd say I'm happy with 100% of my poetry. Poetry is different from a novel of course. I can write a novel and be happy with it despite its imperfections.. my problem is more just knowing when to stop messing with it and be satisfied with it as it is. I figured I might as well be happy with it, because if I'm never happy with it I'll only work on one piece for the rest of my life! And.. I don't want that.
     
  4. ThePman220
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    ThePman220 Member

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    I hate most everything I wrote when I was younger. With time and experience, that hatred has become more of a mild dislike.

    Here's hoping that sooner or later that'll turn into being pleased. There's always hope, right?

    At any rate, just keep at it. The better you get, the less reason you'll have to hate it, right? I don't think any writer is ever 100% happy with his/her work, that just goes with the territory. But you can get to a stage where it doesn't feel like complete crap.
     
  5. lovely
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    lovely Member

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    I used to hate it all to, and that feeling has barely subsided. I very strongly dislike it all.
     
  6. lipton_lover
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    lipton_lover Contributing Member

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    I used to hate everything I wrote, and I knew for a fact that it was horrible. Then one day I sat down and wrote something that by my standards was amazing. Every since then, I've written stuff people say is good, and I'm happy with what I write. But you may just be a perfectionist without knowing it, in which case you may never be happy with what you've written and even if you don't like it that's fine too.

    Nate
     
  7. bluebell80
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    bluebell80 Contributing Member

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    I don't like to use the word hate, because I really don't "hate" anything. I used to "hate" a lot of things about my writing, but when I used that term it turned into a hindrance for my writing.

    What I do instead is really look at what I wrote. Figure out what it is that I don't like, and try to come up with ways to fix it as if the piece was not my own. Most first drafts are crap. I have accepted that. I look back at short stories or starts of novels and I see why I couldn't go any further with them, because something in the story or the writing, or the characters just didn't work.

    I've also accepted the idea that my writing is never going to be perfect, so I need to just settle for publishable. Perfection is like beauty, it is all in the eye of the beholder. As writers we are ten times as harsh on ourselves than the rest of the non-writing world will be.

    I also make jewelry as a hobby. I learned a lot about writing and my self critic while practicing the craft of jewelry making. Things are never going to be made as perfectly by hand as it will by a machine, but that is part of what lends character to the pieces and the one-of-a-kind feel. I like to make elaborate pieces of jewelry and sometimes simple pieces, but they are never without flaws.

    Just like my writing. It will never be without flaw. Even if it does get published, I am sure there will still be little things that I see when I re-read it that will pop out at me as things that could have been done better. But that is part of learning the craft.

    I've been making jewelry for about 5 years now. When I first started I joined a forum much like this one for jewelry makers. At first I was so ashamed of what I was making I was scared to share it with others. I looked at their brilliant pieces that sparked with perfection, and looked at my mess of wires and thought I would never be as good as them. But over that first year I learned so much that after a while I was posting pictures of new pieces and even selling some. My friends and family always ask me to make pieces for them as presents, because they think it is amazing that I can make jewelry out of wire and chainmaile out of little rings.

    Most people who read fiction, or any type of writing, aren't writers, much like people who wear jewelry would never think they could make it themselves.

    Never being happy with what you write is an indicator of lowered self-esteem. We don't think good enough in our own head, thus we feel that everything we churn out is crap. Granted the opposite can also be a sign of low self esteem -- the narcissistic point of view that everything we write is gold, when in fact it is not half as good as we think.

    I think the key to being a good writer is being a critical reader. The more we read and dissect the work the better we can think about our own writing and tear it apart and make it better.

    I never look at my poor writing as a defeat, but look at it as a way to improve. For me there is always room for improvement.
     
  8. MelissaLynne
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    MelissaLynne Member

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    I think its normal to hate your own creations sometimes. Its hard for me to like my work even when somebody else likes it. However when I look back on previous stories I've written in the past I actually learn to appreaciate them a little, because I know I have grown as a writer. I don't like the stuff I wrote when I was younger, but than when I read them these days it takes me my surprise that I wrote something like this at the time. I think the most important thing is what you think about your writing now and compare it with others. Do you think your stories have improved? Do you hate them more than you do the old ones? For me its kind of nice to look back because it makes me feel better to know that my writing gets better as I get older. If the same goes for you than you should feel better about it! That way at least you know you can only get better as time goes on.
     
  9. littlebluelie
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    littlebluelie Member

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    Yeah, I suffer from this too. It's tough being a perfectionist. Especially when you read stuff like "Twilight" and you have written something better than it, but you allow Stephanie Meyers her imperfections and not yourself.
     
  10. Mephisto0
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    Really? I've got the oppisote probelm I love my writing to the point I don't want to change it.
     
  11. KurtistheTurtle
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    KurtistheTurtle Member

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    Yup. If you don't appreciate your own writing, then consciously define why. Expel the belief from inside yourself. Hell, I'm still proud of a story I wrote in 6th grade.
     
  12. ManhattanMss
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    ManhattanMss Contributing Member

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    Maybe this will help you shift out of perfectionist mode: I read a passage from a writer (might've been Lorrie Moore) who edited the BASS series one year. She (if that's who it was) described her choices and talked a bit about the stylistic qualities or personality of a story as arising from something a reader might think of as "wrinkles" in the prose--those aspects that could be battled over and wondered about and picked apart and argued to death by critics and readers and editors and teachers and even the writer herself. My interpretation of her comments about the short stories she had selected (and others) was that it is the wrinkles themselves that are largely responsible for the essential flavor any great story or writer becomes known for.

    The picture that painted for me was of a grand and beautiful quilt, patched together lovingly and stitched by hand so many years prior that the material was almost threadbare in places--thrown casually across a big, un-neatened-up featherbed. I've never since then been tempted to imagine "perfection" was even a quality to covet, let alone think of as possible. Though I know a lot of writers do seek perfection or some pristine quality in their writing, I'll take a cozy, warm featherbed any day, as a reader; and I think that's more where I'd like to be as a writer.
     
  13. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    You need to read this amazing book called Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott. I think it's just the thing that will help you with how you feel about your writing. Here are a couple quotes from it:
     
  14. SpecifyIt
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    SpecifyIt Member

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    I suppose, at the end of the day, we're all looking for that feeling of content. Those who have it, seek a relative perfection. Though perfection is, indeed, impossible to reach, you can come close. Regarding my older pieces of writing, I say this: they were all incredibly crap. I believe my new ones are 'all right', but nothing special.

    I've read quite a few stories on here that are bloody great. I can only hope that one day, I will be able to create a masterpiece out of nothing; that probably will never happen though. Human spirit perseveres!

    Those quotes at the bottom of the page are so similar! I really can connect with them.
     
  15. Gamecat
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    Gamecat Member

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    I wouldn't say I'm ever fully satisfied with my writing but I'd never go so far as to say I hate it. I wouldn't post to forums like this if I didn't think I could be a good author.

    Don't know who said it first but it's commonly held that a story is never finished, only abandoned and that sums up my feelings on the matter. Perfection is unattainable but you can get it as good as you can then walk away and start the next piece.
     
  16. royalstar
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    royalstar New Member

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    Thanks for the replies, everyone. I read each and every one and they all gave me some things to mull over. I was looking at some old writings and I finally found one that I MILDLY felt proud of. So there's still hope. And also I'm going to begin finishing this essay I've been working on but have been frustrated with...
     
  17. KurtistheTurtle
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    KurtistheTurtle Member

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    Aye, good luck mate. And remember, Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Myabe not, but it is still undeniably foul.
     
  19. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    May your infinite well of awesome puns never run dry :D
     
  20. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    I must be honest, I have read none of the replies so it is entirely possible I am simply restating everything which has already been stated. That being said, I am fairly apathetic. So neener-neener.

    I have never, in my entire life, with whatever it was that I have ever written, been entirely satisfied with what I have in fact written. If I were satisfied one hundred and fifty billion god damn percent, I would go back and look everything over again because I would be worried that I most certainly missed something. I'm currently finishing up the last few chapters of my novel right now and every day I must resist the carnal, some would say masochistic, urge to go back to the last chapter and begin editing. I know if I did that I would go to the previous one and do the same. Then suddenly I'm on chapter one again and I have to go to the last chapter to make sure everything sounds nice and peachy once more.

    Think of it as some strange obsession I have that I cannot kick. I am the guy who sits in his bathtub and washes each tile a thousand times before I go to the next, only to go back and clean the previous one... just in case. And you know what? I'm still not satisfied. The pallid sheen is not quite saintly enough... I can keep scrubbing until it gets so white it looks like Gods hair, I just need the time!

    As for you being unhappy about your work, I believe you're simply frustrated. It comes with being a writer. You're no more than a golfer with the shanks, no offense. You can either let the nicknames you've labeled yourself run freely - Shankapotomus is my favorite - or you can go back over your work and find some joy in it. I suppose beyond that, however, I will never be much of a help. You see I'm never overly joyed with my work, it can always be polished a bit more, but I have found peace in what I consider something "finished". Granted, it's only finished when I run out of polisher... I think I might in fact have an issue. That's not the point.

    I guess the only advice I can give you is a simple question: why do you write? If you write because you want to emulate the adulation given to our esteemed literary heroes, then you may want to quit. If, however, you write because the process makes you beam in some hedonistic, some would say masochistic, passion which makes you want to fall asleep in the arms of the story you have spawned from that little piece of meat between your ears... you might want to keep writing.

    Now, I'm off to go polish my bathtub.
     
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  21. HPandtheMI
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    I think this happens to many of us. It definatly does to me. When I first started writing I wrote the first chapter a million times, never being very satisfied with it. Now I realise if I do that I won't get anywhere, though I still not might be completely satsified, I really like this quote:
     
  22. seta
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    seta Contributing Member

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    I used to never be happy with anything I had written because it was never what I wanted it to be.

    My lack of knowledge about story structure and plot/character development - as well as lack of planning - limited my ability to tell the stories that I really wanted to tell.

    Now that I've done a bit of research and reached out to you guys here, I am armed with the missing pieces which have facilitated my creation of awesome stories! (Okay, maybe they're not awesome yet, but I'm getting there!)
     

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