?

Do you like your work?

  1. I love my work most of the time.

    25.0%
  2. I usually like my work.

    50.0%
  3. I'm not sure how I feel about it, because I'm a biased point of view.

    25.0%
  4. I don't really like my work.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. I hate my work.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. labelab

    labelab New Member

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    how does one love their work?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by labelab, Feb 13, 2019 at 7:38 PM.

    Over the past two years, I have reached this phase of hating everything I write. Or at least, I've never really liked what I've written.

    Tell me what makes you love something you've written. Did you fall in love with your own idea? Or your own writing style? Or are we all incapable of loving what we do?
     
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  2. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Congrats on sliding to the bottom. You doing good.

    [​IMG]
     
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  3. katina

    katina Senior Member

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    I do like my work. I would not write if I did not.
     
  4. Harmonices

    Harmonices Member

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    I like my ideas, they don't always pan out into the quality of writing I'd like. I know I'm able in some departments, but at other times it feel's like I'm bashing at clay with a child's fists.

    I know I need to write scene X because it's intrinsic to the story; but it's badly done, mainly because I lack ability with that kind of scene (I'm not hot on action or description in particular). I do believe skill in any craft can be cultivated though, with practice and guidance. So it needs to be worked at. Which can be frustrating and disheartening at times.

    This forum is helping me a lot already. What a fantastic resource! I'd say if you don't like your work, put it away for a few months then reread, it may sound better to you after you forget it. And/or post it on here for feedback. Good luck.
     
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  5. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    There's a phenomenon runners talk about, of 'hitting the wall' at a certain point in a race. The moment when they start to think of giving up because their legs hurt, they're tired, they can't imagine carrying on for another 10 miles. Runners know they have to push through it and then it becomes easier again.

    I always hit the wall at some point in a manuscript. I lose all belief in it and that anybody but me would ever want to read it. Just like runners, if I push through it then the crippling doubt will pass. I still don't generally "love" what I'm doing, but in a practical sense I can make a judgement that it might be good enough to be published.

    When I feel like what I've written that day is crap, usually when I read over it in a few days or weeks I'm pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as bad as I thought.

    I feel like I have a lot to learn and I'm excited to work with editors, but sometimes I read a sentence or a passage or even a whole chapter and think, "Yeah, this is good." I look at others, probably more often, and think, "This could be handled better by a better writer. Maybe me, one day." I think that's healthy.
     
  6. Harmonices

    Harmonices Member

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    That's interesting. I used to get this when I managed creative projects (public events), especially when I'd come up with new ideas. Feeling like it wouldn't be received well. People wouldn't enjoy themselves, no-one would come. It was my job though, so I had to work through those barriers, the self doubt. You're committed.

    I've also experienced similar when hiking and climbing. Again, you're in it for the long haul, there's no turning back however much it aches / however out of breath you are. You've got to keep on to the end destination, especially if you're with others.

    It's much easier to quit on ourselves than it is to quit on others. I guess if we treat our personal creative projects with the same degree of objective commitment we do our professional ones. It might make it easier to plough on past the fear / doubt monsters?
     
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  7. JackL

    JackL New Member

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    Don't ever think it's a handicap. Mistrust in your ability: it keeps you sharp and gives you that edge to always strive to be the best at what you do. You're your first critic, and if it doesn't hit a note in you that it's worth something, then there's a good chance it won't with readers.

    I hate parts of my writing with venom, but I love that part too because I trust that hate-hate intensity. It's usually telling me a word, sentence, scene, chapter etc isn't working, so I'll keep working and reworking it until it does feel good. Usually by the time I love something I've written, I'm pretty much exhausted by how long hating it has gotten me there. I've wanted to quit time and time again, but in the end, not writing and going through all those emotions hurts more.

    So don't ever see it as bad thing, more another tool to help you find the right 'feel' into your writing.
     
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  8. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Active Member

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    It depends on the time, I guess. I've written a few pages into a story and hated it ands filed it away. After over a year, I find it and read it and I actually like it enough to want to continue it.

    It's like painting. In college, I had to take a painting class as a degree requirement. I enjoyed it, but this one unit on abstract was the most challenging. I spent weeks on it, during class, after class, at night I'd take the shuttle into town to the art studio and work on it. This went on for weeks and I hated it.mi hated the colors. I hated looking at it. I was ready to throw it all out, but my painting instructor say to take a few days and just not look at it. Come back with fresh eyes. I did, and after a few days not looking at it, I found that it wasn't as bad as I thought it was at first and found the inspiration to finish it.

    To me, writing is like that. Sometimes I won't like my work at first. I'll like the idea but the execution sucked. I'll file it away. I'll pick it up later with new eyes
     
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  9. Cephus

    Cephus Member

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    I have to like what I produce because I wouldn't bother writing if I didn't. I don't think it's the best thing on the planet or anything like that, but it is worth reading, at least that's what readers tell me. My views really don't mean a whole lot in the end.
     
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  10. labelab

    labelab New Member

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    Hm. I find that the longer I spend re-writing a piece of work, the more I hate it. It ends up sounding forced and uninteresting. Of course, that's just me, but God, I'd love to be able to have your approach.
     
  11. labelab

    labelab New Member

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    ahaha i love this
     
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  12. BayView

    BayView Not even a little tender Contributor

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    Meh. I don't really like what I've written... once something's published, I try to avoid looking at it or thinking about it because I can't make changes and seeing the flaws is too frustrating.

    I agree that there's often an element of Dunning Kruger to liking one's own writing, but I also think some people just read differently than others. Some of us are picky, others are more forgiving. I don't think either approach is the "right" one.
     
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  13. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Sometimes I like my writing because I think it's good. Sometimes I like it because it's a compilation of my thoughts into a permanent form, and I value that even if it's not great.

    For some reason I'm thinking of some home-sewn pajamas that I made, that are dreadful, but that I got so much pleasure from (before they fell apart) that I'm thinking of making some more dreadful home-sewn pajamas. Now, my sewing skills are better than they were when I made those pajamas. If the new pajamas came close to the quality of decent purchased pajamas, would I be so aware of that gap that I would lose the "I made this" charm? Not sure. Maybe I'll sew on some rickrack to make sure they still look home sewn.

    But that's only mildly relevant to writing, because my goal with writing is to get past "I made this" charm and actually be publishable.
     
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  14. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    I didn't vote in the poll because none of them adequately describe my experience. I'm that weird writer that doesn't get off on reading my own stuff. It's more like...Did I get the job done? Did I accomplish the challenge of writing it?

    I kind look at my writing like a stack of freshly-done laundry: It's satisfying to have done it, but I don't sit there admiring how beautifully it's folded.
     
  15. Cephus

    Cephus Member

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    That's exactly it. It's a job. Once the job is accomplished, I move on. I'm too busy with new stuff to worry about old stuff.
     
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  16. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Active Member

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    No offense, but I hope I never end up where you are.
     
  17. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    You misunderstand that to mean my career is passionless. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In fiction writing, I'm all about the challenge. I strive to do the best of my ability and to write better each day than the last, and then when it's done I let it go. In my non-fiction, the passion is for the opportunities writing brings, and the doors it opens (meeting interesting people and doing interesting things).

    "The journey, not the destination."

    ETA: I should also add that I came from a newspaper background with tight deadlines.
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019 at 5:56 PM
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  18. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Active Member

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    You compared your writing to doing laundry. You must be significantly more passionate about folding clothes than I am.
    If you say you're passionate about writing, then I'll believe you. But imo your original post suggests the opposite.
     
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  19. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    I chose that metaphor because it applies to the satisfaction of having completed a job to the best of my ability. If we want to stick with the word passionate while using the laundry metaphor, it would probably be accurate to say I'm "passionate" about having the best possible end product for my laundry efforts and am therefore "passionate" about challenging myself to do the best job possible.

    I'm deliberate during the laundry process...picky about sorting, using mesh bags for small items, using Color Catchers, hanging certain items on hangers to air dry, hanging jeans on pant hangers so there's a crease down the front of the legs...but that doesn't mean the task itself is enjoyable. And once it's done to the best of my ability, I'm onto the next thing without another thought. The rush is in the challenge.

    It is true that if I could get that same rush from something other than writing, I would, and do (I ping pong back and forth between writing and another rush-providing gig). Most writers get their rush from approval for what they've written. Mine just happens to be during a different part of the process, but neither is right or wrong.
     
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  20. Bone2pick

    Bone2pick Active Member

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    You get a rush from the "challenge" of doing laundry? :superlaugh:

    I don't get it, but it sounds like it's working for you.
     
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  21. labelab

    labelab New Member

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    everyone has different approaches to writing but i think this is one of the most fascinating approaches i've heard. it's pretty sick though, don't you think?
     
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  22. peachalulu

    peachalulu Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I really like my work. I like my ideas, some of the things I write can make me laugh. Being pleased with it as a whole is harder. I'm in the middle of editing, polishing, rewriting my WIP. This month has been especially hard because of the weather and life throwing me a couple of curve balls so there has been over two weeks when I didn't work on anything or read any of my work. When I came back to it I was like - sigh - some of it didn't sound as good as I thought.
    But I don't go into panic mode. That's the beauty of editing there's always a chance to improve.

    I also like discovering what I can do with a theme. I've been trying over these last five years to bring more depth into my work and it's a fun challenge to write layered.
     
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  23. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    Most writers, including ones being routinely traditionally published?

    I've been writing for a few years and I've gotten very little feedback. Sometimes people will say something nice like, "I found very little wrong with your prose," or, "I liked it," or even worse, "it is brave of you to put yourself out there," (which is always the wrong thing to say) but I don't have any fans. I have done an awful lot of writing to little reward, BUT I get into flow states sometimes when I'm writing, and that's the feeling I crave.

    I can't imagine someone getting a rush from approval as their main driver and enduring to the point of getting good. There is jut no way. Approval from anyone but mom and wife is so far from common for most of us for so long. Worse, once you start getting good, you start to realize that there are bad critiques with agendas, like pecking order mentality or confusing narrow taste for good taste or just not thinking you should be writing at all, that make positive feedback barely more likely from strangers even after you improve.

    If I wrote for approval, I'd be done. On any given day, I can do a variety of other things to get approval way faster than writing. Writing is a primary source of disapproval if anything.
     
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  24. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    Not saying it doesn't sound weird, but there was a long period when I couldn't work due to vertigo, and I would much rather be at work than doing household tasks. So, I gamified it:

    *looks at laundry pile*
    "You are mine, and you're gonna be the best-looking laundry in town."

    Actually, given the amount of rejection inherent in the profession, and the brutality of comment sections when a non-fiction article goes live, it's probably fairly healthy. I know a lot of writers who crumble when they see the comments for what they thought was a great piece (and probably was--trolls abound in comment sections). Conversely, I've already moved on, because at that point it's out of my control. The comments mean nothing because I already got my joy out of it.

    Actually, yeah, I do know a lot of writers who crave that approval, many of them very good. Modern day journalism and social media provide nearly instant feedback, and some people absolutely crave it. But even before internet publishing, you'd always see writers scrambling to see the Letters to the Editor page. Hang out on social media for a while, and you'll see plenty of best-selling authors who are motivated by it, too.
     
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  25. Spirit of seasons

    Spirit of seasons Active Member

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    Fall in love with your characters? Your setting, theme, anything that makes writing fun.
     
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