1. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Problems of the Impressionable Young, Perhaps?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Atari, May 10, 2013.

    It had been a long time since I spoke to other writers, aspiring writers, or those who dabbled therein, so when I returned to this forum (although I expected never to do so) and the first thread I read was about someone who "hated" his own work, I pondered about why this might be, though only transiently before starting a thread and thinking through my writing, here.

    Is it age? I have not had the sense of, "I wrote this, but I hate it," since I was in my late teens. I do not mean to insult anyone, naturally, but is it possible that hormones, emotions and worry are relevant to the many emotional phenomena related to writing?
    I am not, incidentally, implying that no one who is "mature" will dislike his own writing, but rather, the particular WAY these people hate their writing almost has a desperate, miserable quality to it.

    If I write something poor, I will sometimes laugh at it and discard it, or show it to someone as an example of what not being in the "zone" can do, sometimes.

    I can imagine working very intensely on a piece, failing to make it possess the emotional quality that I desire, and, in my frustration, showing it to someone to gain a fresh perspective, but I think I would not make a vague statement about "hating" it but rather explain specifically what my writing is not doing that I wish it to do, although sometimes, we must admit as writers, our writing can be doing exactly what we want it to do, and perhaps we, as the writer, do not see it initially, which is why another person's perspective is often necessary.

    Have you ever written something you do not consider to be great or special in any way, but months or even years(!) later you find it, dust it and, upon reading it, you are fascinated by how good you were even then?


    My recommendation, then, for those who perceive themselves always dismissing their own work as poor, uninteresting, unemotional or aimlessly ambling, is for them to write, put the writing away, and several weeks (at least) later, read it again.
    You will have, I believe, a certain detachment from it, and be able to read it without the memory of exactly what you were trying to achieve, but instead be able to perceive what you DID achieve.


    Or something, I dunno what I'm talking about.
     
  2. Atari
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    Atari Active Member

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    Although I avoid poetry as a rule, the same thing happens with those writing short stories or scenes from a novel: They worry, perhaps not entirely without justification, that people will lambaste their writing into oblivion, and thus "preempt" the theoretical assault with some self-deprecation of their own.
    Perhaps I will write something and submit it for critique, to determine how emotionally evolved I have become, or if I still fret like a child having his exam graded.


    Edit: As for compliment fishing, (or isn't it called phishing, in this instance?) that seems to be almost a consequence of the already existing dread.

    I have personally had some wonderful critiques in my time, and even on this website, that seemed to have a great balance of understanding what I was trying to do, noticing what I probably did wrong, and knowing how to say it so that it sounded like a friendly critique and not an insult or making me feel hopeless.

    I remember always begging those who critiqued to avoid being cavil of grammar and punctuation because that could always be fixed and it is rarely a finished draft that is shown, but even more, it was discouraging.
     
  3. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    I'm laughing right now. Hormones? Maybe attention grabbing but most people don't have a high opinion of their own work.

    It's self doubt plain and simple and even the greats have been stricken with it well into their adult years.

    In all honesty I think having a super high opinion of your own work can be crippling. If you feel like your work is perfect you will not be striving to better yourself. Then again despising your work can be equally bad. Being a good writer is learning to balance your ego and self loathing.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think that a lot of people don't understand that writing requires practice. They speak their native language, after all, and they've been to school to learn to write it, so I think that when they first sit down to write on their own, they falsely think that the quality of the result is a reflection of their inherent talent. When that isn't good, it freaks them out and they make nervous burbling justifications.
     
  5. TheDistantShip
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    TheDistantShip Member

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    It's hard not to put up that defensive measure, for any writer, but especially with poets.
    Honestly, the people who loathe their work, in moderation, are way less annoying than the people who believe themselves to be the next celebrity of the literary world.
     

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