1. WhatLibertine
    Offline

    WhatLibertine Member

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2014
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    8

    Typos, Nonsensical drivel and Self Doubt...

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by WhatLibertine, Sep 20, 2016.

    Approximately two years ago, I made it my ambition earn money as a writer. I felt that I had a modicum of ability based on the the fact that my writing was already of a reasonable standard, despite me having very little by way of formal education. My thinking was that if I applied myself, focused on education and practised accordingly, I would eventually reach a professional standard.


    Now I find myself falling short of the mark. I believe I have put in the hours, the learning, and the self-criticism. I have gone back and learnt the fundamentals of syntax and grammar, practised sentence craft and worked on different styles. I have completed copywriting internships and entered writing competitions, taking great lengths to act upon any feedback I received.


    Even now, this stream of consciousness was started as a writing exercise, a way to assess how I can improve and what gaps there are in my ability to recognise good or bad prose, whether written by myself or a professional.


    Nonetheless, I find even now I am often turning out sub-par pieces of work and even making basic grammatical errors - after proofreading!


    I realise that self doubt goes hand-in-hand with any creative pursuit, I also know that those who succeed are the ones that take the inevitable knocks and continue to improve, adapt and learn from them.


    I should clarify that what I am referring to is not the creative process, but the technical side of writing. Constructing sentences and communicating information as succinctly and clearly as possible. For me, this seems to be very inconsistent and I always find errors in anything I write over 200 words. I’ve recently been trying to make some extra cash as a copywriter and it's with this endeavour that the inconsistencies have become so apparent.


    I decided to post this little ramble to see if it may promote some discussion on tactics for improving the craft of writing. My only ideas at this stage are to review my drafting process, perhaps experimenting with a complete rewrite from first to second, for example.

    If anyone has any opinions, I would love to hear them and perhaps share ideas.
     
  2. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,799
    Likes Received:
    2,413
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Well if it makes you feel any better, I read a 11k novelette and at the start of one chapter I kid you not saw this:

    The day my duties began started with an announcement to shower in preparation. -His to Use:Mastering Melody by Talia Zane (first sentence chapter three).

    And that is one of many mistakes I see in 'professional' writing.

    On the other hand I have grammar problems too. It is simply hard to avoid those things, but all you can really
    do is try and learn from them. As long as you can have a well developed elements within your writing, why
    worry about simple things like grammar (unless it is really bad)? Just keep writing and get opinions of your
    writings regularly when you feel you need to get feedback on how your doing.

    Good Luck. :supersmile:
     
  3. Scot
    Offline

    Scot Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2016
    Messages:
    329
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    Argyll, Scotland
    If your writing is as well written as your post you have nothing to fear.

    The only advice I can give is that you should critique others' work on this forum, read the critiques others have posted, and absorb that which you feel relevant.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
    Cave Troll likes this.
  4. big soft moose
    Offline

    big soft moose Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2016
    Messages:
    1,431
    Likes Received:
    1,016
    I know my SPAG leaves a lot to be desired, but my approach is to get the thing written to 'shitty first draft' and sort out charecterisation, dialogue, action and plot along the way, t (i'm currently about halfway through at nearly 40k written in the drafting process) then worry about dealing with the run on sentences and comma breaks and what have you , after that.

    otherwise i'd probably never write anything
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
    Cave Troll likes this.
  5. deadrats
    Offline

    deadrats Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2016
    Messages:
    639
    Likes Received:
    293
    Two years is nothing, depending on what sort of writing you want to sell. Having had a long career in journalism, writing and selling fiction is so much harder and the competition is crazy. I think the more creative the writing is, the higher the standards are for publishing. That's my experience at least. The hardest thing ever is probably to sell poetry to any of the top literary journals or poetry reviews. But I'm pretty sure we're not talking about poetry. I don't know. You mentioned some writing competitions. I'm guessing that's more creative writing than the copywriting.

    Writing competitions usually have one top winner. Maybe they publish some finalists, but one person usually gets the big prize. I was once a reader for a competition. There were a few of us that voted on which stories got passed up to the final judge. I was so sure that a certain story was going to win it all. The competition judge felt differently. Someone always wins, but you could be up against hundreds of other writers. I recently entered a few writing competitions. I think it's good to try and put yourself and your work out there. It doesn't hurt to try. But don't use your success or lack of success with writing competitions to gage how good your writing is.

    That being said, there's competition at every level of writing whether it's through a writing competition or not, and it's never going to feel like a fair fight because there are always going to be people who have done it longer and can do it better. But that doesn't mean you can't do it too. It just means you have to try harder. I'm one of those people that has to try harder.

    It sounds like you have made some progress with copywriting. Is that what you mostly do or want to be doing? I've never done those types of writing jobs. I understand the pay sucks and it's not really my thing. But if that's your plan and goal, to be a better copywriter, I think, like with any type of writing, we get better the longer we do it. The number one thing I think of as I write is clarity. Nothing else will matter without it. Sometimes it helps to ask yourself how clearly to have stated something and is there a better way. If something sounds wrong, say it in a way you know is right. Especially, with copywriting keep it clear and simple.
     
  6. MarcT
    Offline

    MarcT Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2016
    Messages:
    99
    Likes Received:
    57
    Location:
    Buenos Aires, Argentina.
    I agree entirely. Get it written, polish it up later and you may find that in the process, you'll find more of the story to put down.
    None of us are perfect and not finding errors in 200 words of writing would be unusual to say the least. On the other hand, show those 200 words to five or more critics and you'll get five or more different opinions.
    The key is to maintain consistency and keep writing. I'm not one for giving advice, but I find that writing every single day (as well as reading), hones the craft.
     
    Cave Troll likes this.
  7. Tenderiser
    Offline

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,288
    Likes Received:
    5,161
    Location:
    London, UK
    What do you want to write? Fiction or non-fiction? Short, medium, long? I know my advice is different for each path. :)
     
  8. Scot
    Offline

    Scot Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2016
    Messages:
    329
    Likes Received:
    264
    Location:
    Argyll, Scotland
    Interesting. Would you care to elaborate, perhaps in a WF article?
     

Share This Page