1. theunwriter
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    theunwriter New Member

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    Writing fears? how to overcome/embrace them?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by theunwriter, Nov 11, 2011.

    There’s an incessant gravitational pull towards writing that just won’t let go of me. I have a strong desire to write, that lately it’s starting to ache. My ego is pulling me away from writing, but as cheesy as it may sound, my soul is pushing me to write. But the innumerable fears associated with writing e.g.
    1. Scared I’m never going to improve my skills
    2. Perfectionism - unable to let go of my inner editor despite overwhelming advice to just start writing without care. When I do that and realize that what I’m writing is goobly gook, writing the next sentence seems pointless and more of a chore.
    This led me to turn into a lazy, procrastinating wanna-be writer whose probably (and already is) regretting all the time lost that I could have been writing.
    Help!
     
  2. Nicholas C.
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    Nicholas C. Active Member

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    Personally, I take comfort in the fact that even the most successful authors out there have had excruciating moments of self-doubt. Any writer that hasn't had those moments is more than likely delusional about their talents.

    It just comes with the territory and you have to learn to try and ignore it, or at least keep it subdued.

    Good Luck.
     
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  3. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    if one can't allow oneself the time to learn, (by writing badly) and patience with ones own mistakes, how is one ever supposed to be good at it? no one expect themselves to sit down at a piano with absolutely no previous experience and play an entire concert... so why would writing be different?
     
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  4. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    I have to tell you, I suffer from the same thing. I'm the type of person that edits while he's writing his first draft. I've written a few stories that way and I know people say you shouldn't do that but it has actually worked for me (although it sometimes takes me a month to get a chapter out for that reason).

    All I have to say is just keep doing it. You WILL get better. I remember the first story I wrote... it helped at the time that I didn't know it was complete garbage, so I didn't just stop in the middle of the whole thing for that reason. But the point is that it WAS garbage, compared to what people get paid to do at least. Now, it was probably on par with what people would post on the "free story" websites (the one I like to go to is fictionpress.com but there are others) and it was definitely readable and people said they liked it, but I could point to a lot of things I could've done to improve it now. And the most important thing about this all is that I didn't think I would ever get better either, but it just automatically happened.

    I've written other stories since then and the difference is astounding. You can literally line them up like a time line and go "ok, this first one was mediocre, but then he kind of realized in this next one to add in certain story elements that were lacking before from the first story. And for the story after that he was able to add more plot and make the story longer. And for the story after that he was able to create characters and plot that were actually very interesting. And for the story after that maybe there was some kind of philosophical message I was able to throw in to where my story actually has a "point" to it and it's not just some random adventure.

    And it's maybe 3 years from that first story and I have to say, I'm still an amateur writer. It might be a while before I publish anything, if I ever do. But I'll read professional stories that aren't even best sellers and think "how the hell do they do that! I'll never get there!" but I just keep reminding myself where I came from and you just have to keep going.

    Also, I want to point out that I've never taken a creative writing class in my life. English wasn't my favorite subject. Although I did like to read as a kid and I've read a book or two on "how to write" that gave me some tips here and there. But for the most part you don't need to major in writing/communications in college in order to ever be a decent writer.

    And I'm not really a "faith" person either, but you really just have to approach this from the aspect that no matter what happens, no matter how bad your first stories are... your next one is going to be better. So just keep writing and don't try to make your first story a best seller right off the bat. Set a reachable goal for your first story. Maybe just throwing a plot together that another person can understand is enough. And then for the next one find something wrong with the first story that you can try to improve on... and I'm telling you... you won't even notice it happening at first but all of the sudden you find you can write longer scenes/chapters and create more complex plotlines and maybe get slightly better at describing things (one of the things I still struggle with).
     
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  5. Jabby J
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    Jabby J Member

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    I think one of my fears is that I'm going to go over the edge with my writing and write some something horrible. Like my family will read what I've written and I will forever be "that member of the family". I tend to be a bit shy about writing about certain subjects for this reason and I keep telling myself to just let it fly. Once I do, my writing excels and I end up being decently happy with it.

    Oh, and the self doubt thing... It is scary, but I don't think you would be an artist of any kind if you didn't have a shred of self doubt eating away at your soul every second.
     
  6. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    That sounds like me too. In fact, so much that I've gone out of my way to make sure that none of my characters are obviously based off people I know in real life because I fear someone will find one of my stories and see a little bit of themselves in a character and then think that's what I think of them. And also, sadly, my parents/friends are just now starting to find out that I write fiction as a hobby... 3 years into it.
     
  7. lostinwebspace
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    lostinwebspace Active Member

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    This was probably said a thousand times before in a thousand other places and it's going to sound hackneyed, obvious, and easier said than done. Yup. But I find the best way to get over a fear of writing is to write. There. Said it. I think even Stephen King said he gets fears (or blocks, cramps, or bad days) in Of Writing. At least he says he has bouts of immense writing mixed with writing droughts near the end of the book. He even (or maybe I just misread) has a few unfinished manuscripts: 'Salem's Lot was one for a while.

    Anyway, all that to say even the big names have their times. It's normal.

    But back to the point, just write. There are scenes I think are going to be tough, boring, you-name-it to write. But once I start them, they're not so tough. Maybe it comes out like crap, but that's what drafts are for: to wash away the crap and polish it into shiny crap.
     
  8. Tiki
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    I've been reading "Write Good or Die" and it has some amazing thoughts in it. One includes something to the effect of: The more bad pages your write the closer you get to your good pages. One author estimated that an author writes 10000 words before they get to something worth publishing - I have no idea how he came up with that because if really depends on the person, but what I take from it is this -- Every page I write, good, bad, or ugly, gets me closer to my good pages. So even a bag page is a success, a solid step closer to where I want to be.

    I am also a perfectionist... and worried about shortcomings, but that's what we are here for! :) to help and support each other :)
     
  9. ic1978
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    ic1978 Member

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    Long time aspiring writer, first time really making an effort. There are very few people that know. When I do "write" I call it "typing" because I don't have the ability to say I'm a "writer" and keep a straight face. Like I don't deserve to call myself a writer. I wrote a decent little short story and now I'm on to the next one. So I write it. And I've made the mistake of buying a book of the year's best short stories. Every story I read causes me to stop writing for a couple of days because I'm trying to attain something great. I can't simply write for the hell of it. It has to be perfect like the stories I read in that damn collection of incredible short stories.

    Okay, got a little off track there. THEUNWRITER, I don't have any answers for you but I feel pretty freaking good knowing someone else shares my pain. Every once in a while I get this JUST DO IT attitude and I write. I think it's coming out fine and then the next day comes and my self-doubt sets in. If my writing desire matched my self-doubt then I'm be a damn fine writer. There's a lot of psychology involved in our inability to write which could make for a good story. So hone your vulnerabilities and insecurities and embrace them. Use them as a tool for writing. And when you figure out how to do that please let me know how you did it. Oh yeah, make sure you have a person or two who actually read books to critique your work.
     
  10. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm guessing that you mean ten thousand hours? Because you can write ten thousand words in a weekend, and it takes a lot longer than a weekend to get good at writing. :) And I've heard the ten thousand hours (in some book that I've forgotten - Outliers! that was it) as the time that it takes to master a skill.

    ChickenFreak
     
  11. ic1978
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    ic1978 Member

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    So if you write 5 hours a day without missing one single day for 5 1/2 years you would have written for 10,000 hours. I'm really hoping it's 10,000 words.
     
  12. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Well, I don't think you can go from never writing something in your life to getting something published in under 5 years IMO.

    But I think it could be 10,000 words in the sense that you write 10,000 words of crap, then maybe after that write something publishable and then the cycle kind of starts over again.
     
  13. Tiki
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    Tiki Member

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    Yep, your right. 10,000 is definitely not enough. I tried to look back and find the actual quote I remember but could not. :(
    (Anyone with a Kindle or Kindle App I would recommend this book - Write Good or Die - Short little chapters that had some great info and really made me feel pumped to write)

    Either way - 10,000 or 1,000,000 or 100,000,000 words or hours or whatever - each sentence is practice and experience to get you closer to your international best seller! I think the biggest battle in writing, is just staying positive!! :p
     
  14. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, yeah. I'm afraid that that sounds about right to me. Oh, that doesn't mean that every word you wrote would be junk, or that you'd never produce anything salable before then, but as an investment of effort before you've developed a pretty reliably decent skill in writing? Yeah, that sounds about right.

    Ten thousand words, on the other hand, can easily be written in about two weeks; during NaNoWriMo I wrote that many words in one day. And believe me, I'm not there yet. :)
     
  15. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    Amen!
    I also remember hearing someone talking about 1 000 000 words too... to which someone else commented that it was about 14 novels... I haven't checked but it sounds like it would be at least 10 novels. even though that sound a little bit exagerated to me in the opposite direction (or it depends on what we're talking about, if the goal is to master writing completely I think it could be valid, but not for being published, for that it definitely takes less.) 10 000 words is definitely not enough. anyone can write that without being even remotely close to a publishable copy IMHO.
     
  16. rainshine
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    rainshine Senior Member

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    Having been through this, Fear comes from being afraid you are not ready to write yet, only you will know when you are ready to write.
    The answer is to learn all about the craft on here on the internet and read, read, read, so eventually the fear subsides as your knowledge increases.
     
  17. UberNoodle
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    UberNoodle Senior Member

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    OP, I know exactly how you feel. I have a novel's worth of false starts on my PC and I have no idea what to do with them all. That inner editor is a real task master, but I know, and most likely you do too, that she will NEVER be satisfied with anything you write. She's never going to pat you on the back and say 'good job' because that's not her purpose. You can't depend on her for validation. She's the future you who'll never be a writer and so, lay on her death bed wondering that perhaps she could have done things differently.

    Yet you can't get rid of her, because she's also you, but you can understand her and realise what she's all about. Laugh at her, distract her, find ways to get her off your back for long enough that you can at least write something down. And don't, ever, hit that delete key. Memory is cheap. Put whatever you write somewhere out of sight and maybe you'll think differently about it later.

    But what am I saying? I'm not only a serial deleter and screweruperer, but sometimes I let that picky bugger I share my head with simply rule my life. It's hard, but the most worthwhile victories are the ones you almost fail to secure.
     

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