1. jlauren
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    jlauren Senior Member

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    Overcoming discouragement

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by jlauren, Jun 10, 2009.

    What do you do when you know you have a really great story to tell, but over time become increasingly unsure about your ability to write it?

    Sometimes I put something down and can't feel satisfied with it. I know it's in me, and I know I'm a good writer but I struggle with my own insecurities. So as a result, I generally stop writing! I'm afraid I will never finish anything because of discouragement.

    Help! :(
     
  2. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    From what I've seen of your writing, it's pretty good, so I wouldn't feel discouraged. I don't know how new this is for you or anything like that, but based on what I saw in the review room, every issue you have appears to be easily correctable with a bit of dedication.

    Join a local work shop, focus on writing something different when you're not feeling your main project, and obviously easier said than done, keep a positive attitude and don't be so hard on yourself. We all face these same situations. I flat out quit screenwriting because I felt insecure about it, and it honestly was a mistake. Hopefully, the writing I'm doing now will be a better fit for me in the long run. I have a slightly thicker skin now, and that alone makes a huge difference in my personal progression.

    Also remember that we ALL take a beating when we put our work out publicly. But it's not you that is being criticised, it's your work. We're here to help each other out, and 95% of what I've seen here has been in the spirit of helping rather than harming.
     
  3. Vapor
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    Vapor Member

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    Well I have this problem too so I probably shouldn't be giving advice (but too bad, I'm gonna anyway lol). Something I learned from playing chess is to treat every lost game as an opportunity to recognize mistakes and not repeat them in the future. Of course you want to play perfect, but even the most gifted champions became the best only through many years of examining why they lose games. So just try and have the mindset that you may have to write many crappy stories until you gain the skill to express those great ideas you have in you (I think many people have great ideas, but few have the combination of skill+idea). Or in other words don't dwell on writing great stories, just focus on making each one better than the last.
     
  4. jlauren
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    jlauren Senior Member

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    Thanks Savory. Don't worry, I haven't just acquired these feelings after joining this forum! It's something that I've struggled with for some time and I suppose I will continue to struggle with it. The joys of being creative I guess.

    I've started to read some of your work - The Awakening. Impressed. I don't have time to read it all now but I'm going to be following you to see what you pump out!

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Vapor - I love your advice. I think for a while now I have been so bent on writing 'great stories' that the pressure has overwhelmed me. No one can write an epic from the get-go! I've just got to learn to take it slow I think.

    Thanks again :)
     
  5. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    Thank you, but I haven't written anything called The Awakening. Maybe it was a piece I reviewed at some point...
     
  6. Maroon
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    Maroon Active Member

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    Hi there.

    Where do you think your insecurities come from?

    Is it that the stuff you're writing isn't good enough for you, or are you worrying about how it will be received by others once it's finished?

    If it's the former, that's a toughy. All I can say is, do your best to look on your work with an objective eye, and keep in mind that we are sometimes our own worst critics.

    If it's the latter, well that's a great deal more common. And it's natural, of course. Who wants to pour hours of themselves into a piece of work that doesn't get praised? I have this problem from time to time, and here's what I tell myself:

    Firstly, worrying about the end result of a piece of work can be totally paralysing. Try to shake off those thoughts - if you must, comfort yourself with the knowledge that there'll be plenty of time to worry once it's done! Secondly, if the worst should happen and you complete your novel to find it's poorly received, then isn't it better to have a novel than no novel at all? It's an achievement!

    Relax. Don't expect it to be perfect first time - that's what revisions are for. Most of all, have confidence in yourself! Sounds like the people on these boards already do.

    Hope this helps!

    </pep talk>
    x
     
  7. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Jessicalaurenking,

    Really, what you have to do is simply write, realizing that you will improve as you do.

    I think everyone to some extent feels the story could come out better. Realizing that, you have to do what it takes to write and finish a project. And then write and finish another, and the next. Depending on your goals, maybe submit them and see what happens, always learning from the experience.

    What is the worst that can happen if you submit a piece? That it'll get rejected? Happens all the time, so no reason to be insecure. You'll be one of the crowd.

    Completing a project to the best of your ability is the only way to succeed in writing, whatever your goal.

    Hang in there.

    Terry
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i don't have the problem, but if you do, there are only three things you can do about it:

    1. go ahead and write it anyway
    2. have a good writer write it for you
    3. give up trying to be a writer and go sell ties, or something
     
  9. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    I agree with maia on this one.

    Even when you're unsure...just go ahead and write it. The novel I'm working on right now puts me way outside my comfort zone because my MC just isn't a person I'd be comfortable even being around (and I write in first person which makes it harder), and I was having the same challenge you're facing. Then I realized that I love being challenged, and writing outside my comfort zone (morally outside) will be its own reward, whether it turns out good or not. I don't have much doubt in my writing skills, and even though I'm uncertain as to whether or not I can pull off the character, I'm determined to do it. So I guess I overcome discouragement by becoming determined to prove to myself that I *can* do it. Even when I thought I couldn't.

    ~Lynn
     
  10. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Well then just keep writing. You're probably just being to hard on yourself, but keep writing anyway. If you're not satisfied now, maybe you'll be satisfied later, and even if you're not satisfied later, maybe you'll be satisfied in the far future. Maybe soon, you'll actually exceed your own expectations without realizing it. :-D
    But you should also know when something is good enough instead of continuing to push it even farther. You'll never get anything done that way since you'll be aiming for an unreachable goal. /rant.

    Andway, the point is to just write what you want to say and ignore everything else. :-D Maybe you're just too caught up in expectations.
     
  11. lynneandlynn
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    lynneandlynn Contributing Member

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    I think this is a problem most of us have. We get this 'perfect' story in our heads and expect it to turn out exactly the same way when we put it on paper. It very often turns in a way we didn't anticipate, and I think that's when we start to get discouraged because our writing doesn't match the ideal we hold in our minds.

    ~Lynn
     

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