1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I was so much better yesterday

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by deadrats, Oct 21, 2016.

    Yesterday, I had a really great writing day. At least it seemed that way. I wrote a good amount words and really spent a good few hours on a new short story. I was feeling confident about it. I was ready to submit it. I thought I would just sleep on it. Somehow, it needed so much work today. It's not ready to send out, and I don't think it will be ready tomorrow. How could I think something I wrote was so good one day and full of errors the next? Can anyone relate? Is this just something writers go through? It kind of makes it hard to trust my own judgement.
     
  2. SethLoki

    SethLoki Retired Autodidact Contributor

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    I can relate. I think I'm smart (and with most people I do smart). I know though in reality that I only burn brightly occasionally. So if I'm happening to be reviewing some writing, say a day or more after putting it down; I'll find plenty wrong with it and self-mutter 'what was I thinking?'. This sometimes paralyses the project and I move on (to the internet); other times I wade into it (molasses) and painstakingly effect repairs.

    In context though I see what you're describing, is of banging out a first draft—a good amount of words isn't an amount of good words*. The fact that you can see a day later that your stuff didn't meet your expectation is more a testament to better overall judgement. I'd be more worried for you if you fired out first drafts and submitted immediately—I'd wager the success rates for the folk that do that are miniscule.



    *serendipitous chiasmus I want to keep/copyright
     
  3. halisme

    halisme Contributor Contributor

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    I hate everything I write two weeks after its done. It starts with thinking its good, then I go "hmm, maybe I didn't explain this well enough. Maybe too much world building is in my head and what makes sense to me doesn't to others". Then I start questioning my characterisation, before reaching a point where my I think my narrative has the strength of tissue paper.
     
  4. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Oh yes, although I get it just as often the other way around: a writing session feels like pulling teeth and I'm convinced every word is flat and rubbish. Then I read it the next day and it's fine.

    I think it's more to do with my mood than the writing. Good mood = writing feels good. Bad mood = writing feels bad.
     
  5. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    Oh, yes, I'd be surprised if any good writer wouldn't have the same feelings about their work. And I may add artist, musician, sculptor... It amazes me that sometimes I write a piece that seems acceptable. and two days later it becomes appalling, and four days latter that same piece of writing seems acceptable again... Then, I *do* question my judgement!!! :ohno:
    Sometimes I even go fetch some previous sentence because it's better than what I've rewritten after. It's insane!
    And there are those times that I read my work for editing and think it's unsalvageable but the next day I realise that I was just tired and the piece was a lot better than I thought.
    Nope, I don't trust my own judgement. That's why I'm trying so hard to find people that at least can provide an opinion. In lack of people, I keep time and distance from my work before I go through it again. It's no use if you don't do it with "fresh eyes".
     
  6. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I'm back to loving this story after some revisions made over the weekend. I don't know. I'm thinking I should just submit it now before I read it again and hate it tomorrow. This is quite the emotional roller coaster. It seems like every time I write something it has to be the best thing I ever wrote or the worst thing I ever wrote.
     
    cydney likes this.
  7. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Crap. Did I just say I liked this story again? Well, that was short lived. I'm pretty sure this piece is just garbage and I've wasted far too much time on it.
     
    cydney likes this.
  8. Iain Sparrow

    Iain Sparrow Banned Contributor

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    Not as a writer, which I am not, but as an artist I can certainly relate.

    My problem is I sometimes don't leave well enough alone, and end up overworking a painting. It doesn't take much and you can lose a really nice piece by trying to clean it up and make every brush stroke perfect.
     
  9. thedrunkenwarrior

    thedrunkenwarrior New Member

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    Ugh, I understand your feelings perfectly. Often times it starts off with so much promise, and then slowly dwindles to, "What in the hell is this crap? Did I say I wanted to be a writer? No, no, a waiter. Clearly, I meant a waiter."
     
    Iain Sparrow and Foxxx like this.
  10. ShannonH

    ShannonH Member Supporter

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    I think Joe Abercrombie perfectly sums up my own thoughts regarding the first draft of anything I've done:

    "When first drafting, quality should not be the prime concern. It's like being sick. Just get it out. You can clean it up later."
     
  11. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I'm not even aiming for perfect. Just solid mediocre. LOL. Publishable, but surely not perfect. I understand the concept of overworking something, but I am yet to experience it myself. I definitely underwork my stuff. I try to edit as I go so there will be less fixing to do later. Still, I spend so much time editing and revising. Not because I want it to be perfect, but I want it to make sense. But for some reason I can believe I'm a total genius one day and a complete fraud the next. It's a cycle I often find myself caught up in.

    Hey, you must be a writer, no? You do know that this is a writing forum?
     
  12. Rosacrvx

    Rosacrvx Contributor Contributor

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    Before you throw it in the garbage bin, I suggest you leave it alone for a week or two. Only then read it again, and you'll know for sure.
     
  13. Foxxx

    Foxxx The Debonair Contributor

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    I read "try to edit it as I go" and I stopped there, because I think that could be part of your problem.

    At least, it's part of my problem.

    I'll write a paragraph, then suddenly spend an hour rewriting it and trying to make it "perfect" (my Type-A Personality likes to lie, and tries to tell me what you said: "aiming for mediocre / publishable", when really I'm trying to go for perfection). And more often than not I just want to scrap the thing altogether in the end.

    Trust me, follow the advice of Abercrombie that Shannon quoted above. Also, Hemingway I think put it very well when he said "The first draft of anything is shit."

    Something I've been trying, is to absolutely resist the urge to edit while you go (unless it's very simple SPaG fixes). Hell, occasionally I even write just to see how bad it can really get. Sort of taking the piss out of myself and having a laugh. Then when you've got it all out of your head, it's time to find the diamonds in the rough (if there are any), clear the rough, and polish those diamonds. As others have mentioned, sometimes that requires taking a break for a day or two from that piece in particular.

    In regards to making sure your readers understand what's going on, one thing I've found that helped me, is to go about writing in a way where every reader will understand it in their own way. That is to say, it is not your job to see into the head of each individual and unique reader, and bend their vision to yours. It is your job to get each reader to see into the head of the main character on their own volition, or whatever perspective the story is told from. Give them the details you want to give them, but do it in a way that will allow room for each reader's imagination, instead of trying to force them to see it exactly as you -- the writer -- see it in your head.
     
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
  14. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    You loved it twice. Therefore, there's something there. I suspect that by looking at it daily, you're getting enough distance from it to see flaws that weren't obvious the day before, but not enough distance to fix them to your satisfaction. Put it aside for at least two weeks, give it another editing pass, and then put it aside for another two weeks. That's my advice.
     
  15. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I would suggest that for a while you try not to try to edit during the first draft. IMO, the creation phase suffers from editing. And you've already learned that there's still plenty of fixing to do later, so I'd suggest that you just focus on the creation in first draft.
     
  16. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    "Ah editing, though art a pain in thine ass." :superlaugh:
     

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