1. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Losing All Faith

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Leaka, Jan 4, 2008.

    I'm starting to lose all faith in my own writing ability.
    I have people telling me its really good and that I don't need to fix anything (offline English teachers.) and I'm have people tell me my grammar is horrible (online.).
    So, what does that mean?
    That my writing is horrible. (offline)I mean English teacher's don't spend that long to read and tell me its good.
    Is writing not a career choice I should choose?
    I had always thought I was a good writer with a few mistakes. But now I am seeing so many mistakes in my writing its making me lose my mind.
    I don't know why I can't produce a good piece of work anymore. I'm coming up with good ideas, but I can't execute them properly.
    I can't do my tenses right.
    I can't do grammar right.
    And I can't write a decent story.
    Not only that, but I have to many ideas so I never finish anything.
    What do I do?
     
  2. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    How old are you?
    You're sixteen.
    How many years might you have until you're living your own life?
    Five.
    How many years is that?
    A lot.
    Should you be whining when you have that much time to practice, as opposed to all the adults here who are out there trying to make their own money?
    NO.

    Look, it's highly impractical to imagine that you can make a living off of writing and writing alone, but it's also stupid to beat yourself up for not being perfect at a young age. (Yes, sixteen is a young age. Seriously.) Get over it. And just because you get a job when you're older doesn't mean you stop writing! And it especially doesn't mean you can't get published, if you keep writing.

    Now, I'm guessing that it's late where you are, and you're feeling depressed and insecure and that by tomorrow morning, you'll look at this topic and wince and think 'what the heck was I THINKING?!' So get over it. Everyone sucks- at the beginning. But, you see, there's this great new thing they've invented called practicing. And it makes you better. (I use too many italics.)

    So life will go on. You have plenty of time. Get over it.
     
  3. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    I wasn't complaining.
    Most of the adults at my school that are English teachers ask me to see my stories. They say they will help me edit and stuff.
    Then they ask me what I think is wrong I answer them.
    And then they say they don't see that problem any where and to keep the good work up.
    And most of the time its my grammar. I see its wrong in some areas, but not a lot of areas. I need another eye to watch what I am doing.
    Have someone review and look over it tell me to watch for stuff.

    Then when I think I have very little grammar mistakes I end up having a million in one chapter. After someone actual does review it. Then that makes me feel like I've failed because I try my best to watch my grammar.
    And its frustrating because then I go back and fix it and its still wrong.

    I know what I am going to be doing. I'm not just going to write I'm going to have a side job.
    And yes its late, but no I'm not feeling insecure or depressed.

    This thought has been bothering since yesterday morning.
     
  4. CharlieTheUnicorn13
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    CharlieTheUnicorn13 Member

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    Every person has a few special talents. Writing, I'm sure, is near the top of the list, but not at the very top. Your writing is good--it just needs to be fixed up. Your writing isn't horrible. Believe me, I've read horrible writing. Writing shouldn't be your only career choice--I realized last year that I wasn't going to be able to support myself as an adult with a few novels--but, like Crazy Ivan said, that doesn't mean you have to stop writing. All you need is some more practice. Don't give up. I understand if you're having one of those, "I don't know who I am or what I want anymore," moments. I have them too. Everyone does. If you're stuck in your writing, then maybe it's time to take a break and just relax for awhile until the spirit comes back. It takes time. And, again, like Crazy Ivan said, everyone sucks in the beginning. I look back at some of my older writing and think, "Who the hell wrote this? It's awful!" Just don't give up on your writing, and especially don't give up on your dreams.

    Wow, I wonder how many times I used the word writing in this post.

    P.S. Sorry I didn't use paragraphs for this. Or if it didn't make any sense. It's eleven o'clock and I just had some ice cream, so who knows what's going on inside my brain. :p
     
  5. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Leaka,

    I'm an English teacher (okay, Science and Reading too), but I've been teaching only English for the last half dozen or so years. Members of my crit group find typos and occasional grammar errors in my stories and novels. I just received a proof back for a short story soon to be published and it had a couple errors. Making mistakes is not something to beat yourself up over. Now, if you're making the same mistakes over and over again without making progress, then after a year or two, it's something to be concerned about.

    Your English teachers are probably telling you your work is good, because it is. Is it pro-rate publishing good? Very doubtful. I am only guessing here, but most English teachers will work with students, and improve them layers at a time. Ever seen a paper marked all in red, and how that can knock a person back? If grammar is an issue, begin working on it, one step at a time. For example, you constantly use 'its' in your posts when you should use 'it's' which is the contraction for 'it is'. If you remove that error from your writing, then that is one often repeated grammar error that will never show up again.

    When someone (Teacher, other WF member, whoever) points out a grammar issue. Pay attention, learn from it...study why it is incorrect and what the correct way/usage is. Then begin to implement it. Don't think you'll correct everything at once perfectly. You won't. And you won't always see the errors. I don't see errors in my writing. That is what crit partners are for. That's what rough drafts are for, and for someone to take a look.

    Another thing is that writing essays (which is more common in most schools) and writing fiction, while there is some crossover, they are different enough that being good at one does not immediately lead to great proficiency in the other. Have you ever tried to write a short story and write a novel? There is some crossover of skills (beyond grammar) such as characterization, dialogue, etc. But there are differences in plot structuring, character development, and pacing (among others) that are skills unto themselves--if that makes sense.

    You're only 16? You are young. No offense intended. You'll get there if you stick to it. Will you be able to support yourself with your writing? Maybe. Although the odds are against you, who knows. If you don't try and stick to it (talking years here), you certainly won't.

    Now, truthfully, I just typed this through part of my planning period...and I have actually have some essays to grade.

    Take care and hang in there.

    Terry
     
  6. mercy
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    mercy Senior Member

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    Leaka,

    I think that these feelings are good as long as they don't cause you to quit. I think that realizing that you have flaws can help you to improve. I don't know if this is true but my college comp. teacher told me that when Steven King started out he thought his work was no good.
     
  7. CharlieTheUnicorn13
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    CharlieTheUnicorn13 Member

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    I'm not sure what author it was--but he threw his novel in the trashcan because he thought it was horrible, and his wife found it and saved it, and got it published. But yeah, every good writer has to start somewhere.
     
  8. Crazy Ivan
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    Crazy Ivan Contributing Member

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    You're thinking of Stephen King, with Carrie.

    (...but honest to God, if anyone references Stephen King 's On Writing in this topic, I will get that much closer to suicide. Who made him the writing god aaaargh.)
     
  9. Edward
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    Edward Active Member

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    Speaking of On Writing... nah, just kidding. I haven't even read it.

    Leaka, You've got plenty of time to improve. Most people don't get (good) books published in their teens. Except that Poalini bastard and his damned Dragon-Star Wars books, smarmy little homeschooled brat. I'd say most writers get published in their late twenties. But I could be wrong, that's not something that usually comes up a lot.

    Oh, I should also admit that I also feel this way constantly, not the least reason of which is that my friend thinks my idea is stupid and openly mocks my story. ;_; he's just jealous.
     
  10. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    Leaka, take a deep breath and relax for me mate.

    When I first started this site I had been told by everyone that had read my work (offline) that it was good etc, so I came on here thinking I was gunna be really good. However, your teachers and people who read your work offline are judging you on your writing standards for someone your age. When your teachers say it is good etc they mean it'll get you the marks. On here we point out everything. So yea, you get a lot of comments in the first couple of weeks and you go from "I am a good writer" to "I should burn every peice of trash I have ever written". I stopped writing for a long time whilst I was a member as I just lost my faith in my won work. Then slowly I grew up a bit and realised that the people here are just giving me help on it.

    Leaka, you are not an amazing writer, I can tell you that without ever reading your work. You're a young lad who likes writing and perhaps wants to do something with it. The only was you will ever become an amazing writer is by improving, taking our advice and any other advice and working on it, rather than giving up at the first hurdle. If you are serious about it and want to stick it out with writing, I promise you it gets harder as you go along, but at the same time you improve and your writing gradually becomes better. You stop making silly mistakes with grammer and spelling and tenses and start writing very good peices. Ok, so someone does you a review and it looks like all they've done is point out your faults but remember that they are helping you and you need to get these right to get anywhere.

    So in answer to your questions

    "Is writing not a career choice I should choose?" It is probably not the easiest of career choices but if you like it, go for it.
    "I don't know why I can't produce a good piece of work anymore. I'm coming up with good ideas, but I can't execute them properly." Practice makes perfect, as every condesending person in the world had said.

    "What do I do?" Keep writing Leaka, do not give up. Improve and practice and get better.
     
  11. Manny
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    Manny Member

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    That is so correct! [​IMG]

    I am 37. I excelled at English at school, amongst the top of all my classes. I have since written various articles for magazines and newspapers and been paid. (Yes actual money)

    Later on when I wrote on some forums everyone hailed me as one of the greatest writers the forum had! I was quite flattered.

    Coming over here these folks can be quite harsh without realising it. Suddenly one of the 'great writers' on several non literary forums, becomes a minnow on this one. It is quite a comedown I can tell you! [​IMG]

    However, I am here to learn as I am sure are you. One quite quickly learns from reading who's advice is valid and who's is pedantic. Nobody can be completely correct always, I am surely not, yet I can pick holes in the forum musings of the great and good here already after just a few days reading.

    The content is more important than the structure and grammatical correctness of a particular piece of writing. A more pedantic person who is particularly learned can always correct your grammar for a fee.

    The people who shout loudest about minor things are those who have never been paid for something. Stay focused on content, the readers are not exam markers, they are regular people. The online people you refer to are often online because they have too much time, why do they have too much time to pick holes in a 16 year olds work? Because nobody is paying them to write, so they critique others and pick it to bits for fun.

    A talent for writing and knowledge of grammatical correctness are two completely different things.

    My comments are not necessarily of people here but of similar online communities in general.
     
  12. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Thank you everyone.
    And yes Manny thats why I originally came here to learn from my mistakes.
    I just hadn't realized how many I was making.
     
  13. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    Like most already said, you're young, relax, don't take it too seriously.

    Currently I'm studying graphic design, but my real goal is to be an animator some day and create my own storyline and characters and draw them and later see them on screen, that's my dream. But sometimes I feel really insecure about my drawing abilities, I see my peers and I realize that most are a lot better than me, even if I get praise from my teachers, it's still hard when you don't get the same recognition from your peers.

    But then I think back and realize that natural talent or ability isn't the only important thing, you can always learn to draw or write or play and instrument or a sport, but things like courage to go on, determination, personality, intelligence to know your own weaknesses, those are the things that can't be learned. Think about Donald Trump, he didn't study business and look were he is now.

    Maybe you need a little break from writing, don't force yourself to it; maybe try to finish one of the stories you've already posted before coming up with more, I'd really like to see you do that.

    Bottom line is, don't worry, it's probably just a phase of insecurity, I have them too all the time, I'm sure most people here have them as well.

    Good luck, have a happy life~
     
  14. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    The only reason I was bothered by it is because I take my writing seriously.
    Its the only thing I am good. Its the only thing that I can show off to and people know me for something.
    Its something I can do and I want to do.
    Its my thing and I love writing so much.
    But I get shy and unsure when I realize how much more better people are then I am. I face reality and I don't want too.
    Because this is my dream.
     
  15. silverfrost
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    silverfrost Member

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    I do know how you feel...

    I will write and write all day sometimes, and be so proud of myself for working so hard. When I stop and read what I've written, though, I find myself annoyed and depressed and frustrated. Some days it feels as though I'll never get to the point where I'm a decent writer.

    However, I am passionate about writing. I also think that you just need to be patient with yourself, and if you love it, it can happen for you. It just takes time.
     
  16. Shreyass
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    Shreyass Senior Member

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    I'm seventeen, just a year older than you.

    A few tips:

    1. Stay on this forum, we've got some excellent reviewers.
    2. Post your stuff up regularly, so it can be corrected.
    3. When you're done with a piece, run it through SpellCheck a hundred times, and go over it again twice yourself to spot some unfound grammar mistakes.
    4. THEN post it up.
    5. Stop worrying, implement the advice given to you, you have loads of time to improve.
     
  17. missupernatural
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    missupernatural Member

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    I'm 16 too (woo-hoo!), and so I can sympathise with you.

    Last year the one thing I learnt in English was how to write a proper structured essay.

    I was a naive 15 year old going into year 10 who thought her essays were perfect, after all, I had been getting great marks last year for them.

    I got a nice big shock when my first essay for Year 10 came back... covered in icky red side notes down the page.

    I wanted to kill my teacher. Since when did I get red pen on my essays?

    But the truth was, my essays were fine - for an average level. My new teacher saw things that needed improvement in my level of writing, which my previous years teacher would have deemed unimportant.

    For the first half of '07 I rarely gave any attention to the red scribble, but my marks weren't getting any better either (they were still really good, but not the fantastic level I wanted them to be at, considering I want a journalism career in my future).

    So I began to take all those comments on board in the second half of the year. It hurt, I can tell you, because I wasn't exactly writing in the natural flowing way I wanted.

    But then I got my next essay result back, and I was happy. More than happy actually.


    In the end, one teachers (or reviewers) ideal of writing may not be the same as anothers. Also be aware in your class you will have peers who struggle to string a sentence together that makes sense. Which sometimes means your teacher will consider your writing 'perfect' compared to theirs, despite it honestly not being at the publishable level you are seeking.

    So when you talk to your teachers (especially ones who have never taught you before), be sure to tell them to correct your work - and grade it - fairly strictly.

    There's no better motivation than seeing a slip in your grades, which will force you to improve and take on board all that criticism.

    Leaka, your problem is that your online and offline reviewers are analysing your work at two different levels.
     
  18. Shreyass
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    Shreyass Senior Member

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    And that online reviewers, like the ones on this forum, review at a usually higher level.
     
  19. Klee
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    Klee Contributing Member

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    Not necessarily, but it does expose you to more varied reviews, for example some might like the descriptions like others think they might need work. The writer can't please everybody, so he/she needs to learn to discriminate between the reviews and take what he/she needs.
     
  20. knoxvicious
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    knoxvicious Member

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    Look at it like this:
    Some of us are writers. But some of us are STORYTELLERS.
    Me, for instance. I'm a HORRIBLE writer. I also have no faith in it either. But continuing reading and writing will make you better. The number one advice authors give you is to read, read, READ, since it helps your writing abilities. Maybe you're not reading enough-?
     
  21. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    I read giant novel books.
    I'm only in the 10th grade, but my reading level is at the college level. Or Post end of the high school semester.
    I read most of the time.
    Thats my second hobby.
    Reading and writing thats all I do.
     
  22. mercy
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    mercy Senior Member

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    I just wanted to add. I'm not sure if anyone mentioned it...

    Just like no one is born a doctor, no one is born a writer. It is a skill that takes years of study and practice to develope, and even with that you probably won't perfect it. There are many very good writers; there are few perfect ones. Just keep up the writing and don't forget to study.
     
  23. Bittergrace
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    Leaka- not to be mean, but do you know what a contraction is? 'Its' isn't the same thing as 'It's' (ie 'it is', contracted) etc. That's, not thats etc... These are things that make it hard for anyone to be taken seriously as a writer. It's not bad doing them once or twice, but when you do them constantly it gets difficult to see past these mistakes as just accidents (everyone typos and misspells on occasion). And when your basics aren't very good, the natural bias is already against the contents of the writing.

    Not that you should give up writing. As everyone has pointed out, you are very young. Keep working at it. And perhaps pick up The Elements of Style by Strunk and White and Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss. These are great starts for the nitty gritty of things. I refer to them all the time when editing. Good luck. I almost gave up writing at your age, and 11 years later I'm super happy I didn't. Hang in there.

    Also, I failed honor's english in high school. I now have two college degrees, one in English. High school isn't the beginnning or end of the world. You'll pull through. Keep reading books, it's the best hobby ever. :)
     
  24. Sophronia
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    If you're enjoying your writing, and want to work more on it, then you should take it seriously. It can develope into a great talent that can do great things. Writing is a very noble thing to pursue; don't get yourself down on it!

    Writing, like any other talent, takes time. Practice, practice, practice! Correct your errors on your writing, then correct the errors you made on the corrections of the errors. Delete and add things to a writing. Polish your work as much as you can. Organize your ideas and eliminate things you think you may never use or write about. Take notes when you get more ideas, then narrow those down. Work on inspiration, and try to avoid writer's block XD

    And Leaka, people are always going to be better than you and me when it comes to this. That's reality. But if you can have contact with those that have more experience than you, learn from them. Ask them questions and ask them for any available help. Take their advice, and don't let what they say put you down; use it for your work and be grateful. Use anything you can to your advantage in your writing (as long as it doesn't hurt anyone heh), and you will progress.

    Hope I helped ^^
     
  25. MarcG
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    MarcG Contributing Member

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    Keep in mind that an absolutely negative review is probably the best thing. While a supporting review can help you augment where your writing really excels, a negative review shows you where you really need work. Personally, flaws always outshine positive points in anything I read - I would rather read something with very little going for it and no flaws than something moderately good rife with errors.

    One of the things I've noticed in your writing is punctuation and grammar. If nothing else, start using Word. Pay attention to sentence structure and punctuation in what you read. It will help you immensely.

    Here are some general tips I've learned (though they may not necessarily apply to you, but they're good to keep in mind)
    -Pay attention to how people talk - while you should cut out alot of wasteful chatter that doesn't add to the character, emulating true speech is needed for good dialog.
    -Define your characters well. If the only difference between the characters is a physical one, it gets annoying. Try to at least grant them minor differences in speech, and speech patterns - you can throw in extra pauses or commas for someone who pauses frequently.
    -Spell it right and make sure the grammar's proper enough - if it's full of errors, it's full of major annoyances. Every single noticeable error is like a giant red beacon and burns into my retinas. :p
     

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