Should I be cautious about feeling great about my work?


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Thread: Should I be cautious about feeling great about my work?

  1. #1

    Should I be cautious about feeling great about my work?

    I'm writing my first novel. I've been writing it for over a decade. I've wrote it partially, then partially again, scrapped all the ideas, redid everything, finished it all the way once, scrapped it again, revised everything, then scrapped everything yet again.

    I spent a lot of time dissecting other stories to uncover what worked and what didn't. I read books on writing, on cliches, pitfalls and weaknesses to watch out for. I stressed endlessly over what makes a solid plot, and revised my plot dozens of times so it was natural, realistic, intriguing, engaging, relevant and intense without being predictable, sappy, unrealistic or forced.

    At this point, I'm further along than ever before (except the one time I finished the book all the way and then realized it was terrible).

    This time, I'm actually genuinely excited about what's going down on the pages. I find myself thinking "Ooh yeah, this is a great twist" or "that fight scene was epic!" or actually laughing out loud at dialog as it appears.

    I feel like the story has reached the point where it's writing itself. It's become so real that it's not me anymore. I'm just watching it all unfold.

    I'm kind of worried, to be honest. Like I said, I've never written before. Nobody has critiqued my writing. I have no idea if I'm doing this right. Or if there even is a "right." Is it a danger sign to feel confident in a completely-unproven work? Should I realistically prepare myself for the possibility that, after all this time and work, nobody will even bother reading my story, and it'll all just end as a diary of daydreams?

    Or is this all just "Ha, welcome to being a writer?"
    "We learn more by fixing mistakes than we ever would have if things had gone right in the first place."
    --Keith Bontrager

  2. #2
    Wɾˇʇˇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    This sounds great! Enjoy it definitely. It's a sign that you believe in it and are passionate about it. I went about my WIPs the same way. Didn't write for years other than a few crummy false starts, then one day - boom. Out it came and online it went. And the reaction was not too bad. Some people loved it, saw what I saw in it, while others were more meh. Of course there was a lot of work yet to do, but the fundaments and the feel of it were there, and still are. So yes, feel great about it.


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  3. #3
    WF Veteran Bloggsworth's Avatar
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    " I've wrote it partially..." Really?
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  4. #4
    Thinking highly your writing is a great thing. It makes you positive enough to keep going through the writing process. You spent a lot of time and effort on that story, you deserve the satisfaction. Do not dwell on what others will think of it. You cannot please everyone. I'm sure you have already considered your audience before you even started writing, so go on and write what you have to write. When it's time to edit, that's when you must have a more critical outlook. Stifle the enthusiasm a bit and do justice to your story. But when you're still writing, let it all flow out of you.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Eicca View Post
    I'm writing my first novel. I've been writing it for over a decade. I've wrote it partially, then partially again, scrapped all the ideas, redid everything, finished it all the way once, scrapped it again, revised everything, then scrapped everything yet again.

    I spent a lot of time dissecting other stories to uncover what worked and what didn't. I read books on writing, on cliches, pitfalls and weaknesses to watch out for. I stressed endlessly over what makes a solid plot, and revised my plot dozens of times so it was natural, realistic, intriguing, engaging, relevant and intense without being predictable, sappy, unrealistic or forced.

    At this point, I'm further along than ever before (except the one time I finished the book all the way and then realized it was terrible).

    This time, I'm actually genuinely excited about what's going down on the pages. I find myself thinking "Ooh yeah, this is a great twist" or "that fight scene was epic!" or actually laughing out loud at dialog as it appears.

    I feel like the story has reached the point where it's writing itself. It's become so real that it's not me anymore. I'm just watching it all unfold.

    I'm kind of worried, to be honest. Like I said, I've never written before. Nobody has critiqued my writing. I have no idea if I'm doing this right. Or if there even is a "right." Is it a danger sign to feel confident in a completely-unproven work? Should I realistically prepare myself for the possibility that, after all this time and work, nobody will even bother reading my story, and it'll all just end as a diary of daydreams?

    Or is this all just "Ha, welcome to being a writer?"
    What you're describing is the moment when the rubber meets the road, when you reach the critical do-or-die point. Up until now you have always screwed it up and the fact that you're not means either you are about to have that moment again, or you're about to actually finish what you set out to do.

    The worst thing you can do at this point is start to overthink or otherwise contemplate your work and where you are with it. You are nowhere that matters. You have not (yet) accomplished anything Nor, if history is anything to go by, will you. On that basis alone there is no way you can or should 'realistically prepare' for anything. The moment you do that you become one of those viral clips of a runner or wide receiver who starts celebrating early and trips, literally falling short.

    That isn't meant as a sneer, but all this is eerily familiar. Just keep working, yeah? Don't ask for critique, don't start planning titles or press releases or anything else. These are all traps. Just keep writing and don't stop or think about where you are until you are finally there.
    "If you don't like my peaches, don't shake my tree."

    "Perhaps I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow."

    “Remember this: Dumbo didn’t need the feather; the magic was in him. ”

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  6. #6
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by luckyscars View Post
    What you're describing is the moment when the rubber meets the road, when you reach the critical do-or-die point. Up until now you have always screwed it up and the fact that you're not means either you are about to have that moment again, or you're about to actually finish what you set out to do.

    The worst thing you can do at this point is start to overthink or otherwise contemplate your work and where you are with it. You are nowhere that matters. You have not (yet) accomplished anything Nor, if history is anything to go by, will you. On that basis alone there is no way you can or should 'realistically prepare' for anything. The moment you do that you become one of those viral clips of a runner or wide receiver who starts celebrating early and trips, literally falling short.

    That isn't meant as a sneer, but all this is eerily familiar. Just keep working, yeah? Don't ask for critique, don't start planning titles or press releases or anything else. These are all traps. Just keep writing and don't stop or think about where you are until you are finally there.
    Great advice. Don't overthink your idea just write it. As someone who's also been working on there idea for close to ten+ year's and just got some writing done in the past three I can safely say that Lucky is correct. Don't overthink just write. If you feel great about writing then that is awesome! I felt the same way with my own stories after i had scrapped then several times before hand for not being up to my own specifications.

    I now have two full length fanfiction novels under my belt with one only needing one to two chapters left for it to be complete. I then have a sequel in the works for another that I'm breaking up into three mini novelas, one of which is finished. Point being your felling great and that is a start. If this is something that you really love to do then do your best and don't look back.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

    I don't have a big ego. You just can't comprehend my greatness!

  7. #7
    I used to have massive problems with this, and I'll say that what I learned from my time screaming, "I AM AMAZING YOU JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND MY ART!" is that as long as you can take criticism you're fine. You can't let yourself get too attached to something just because you've worked on it for a long time and you're proud of it because when you put it out there, you WANT it to be critiqued. They are actively trying to help you. They are being nice. And once you understand that, you're golden. It's great to be proud of your writing! I'm glad that you're happy with it!

    I just don't want to give you unrealistic expectations, because when I was younger I was in this same boat and you said you had never been critiqued. So here's my advice: Ride this good mood. Believe in your work. Believe in yourself! You're doing great!

    And when you finish, put it up somewhere and don't look at it for like a month. Then go back and edit. Don't try to edit while you're still on this high. And whatever you do, don't ask for critiques while you're still on this high, because in that mindset, it's just not a good time to do it. It's time to write. It's time to sit down and write an dwrite and write, and if you finish this book and you still feel like that? You're still feeling this emotional updraft?

    Write yourself another first draft of another book. Write until you can't write anymore. Let all those ideas flow out of you. You grab that feeling and you hold onto it and you draft and draft and draft. New things. Do not go back and look at the old thing until this attitude shifts just a little. The cognitive energy will ebb and flow, that's normal. When it's ebbing is when you edit, when you ask for critique. Because that's when you'll be able to see the weak spots as weak spots instead of failures. You said you wrote one book and it sucked? I doubt it straight up sucked. I bet there was a good idea there being held hostage by an inexperienced writer. I bet if you wanted to, once you get more experience, you could bring that idea up to your new standards.

    The first book I wrote wasn't very good either, but it doesn't straight up suck, it's just not publishable. But I'm actually rewriting it right now, using everything I've learned since then. I just don't think you should be so hard on yourself. After all, look at you! You're doing so well right now!

    I know LuckyScars gave advice kinda similar to this, but it might help to hear it from more than one person. Just write. Just ride this tide and write!

  8. #8
    There's always someone out there to take you down for what you do, so enjoy what you're doing.
    "You don't wanna ride the bus like this,"

    Mike Posner.



  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Bloggsworth View Post
    " I've wrote it partially..." Really?
    Heh, if that's my worst grammatical blunder for the day then it's been a pretty good day.

    I appreciate all the input. It definitely has been a massive learning experience, and I do actively look forward to some professional criticism to really polish this thing up.

    I guess there are a lot of elements in writing that only come from experience, so hopefully once this is finished it's not so bad that it can't really be helped without another five-year rewrite.

    Guess we'll see!
    "We learn more by fixing mistakes than we ever would have if things had gone right in the first place."
    --Keith Bontrager

  10. #10
    Member Rojack79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eicca View Post
    Heh, if that's my worst grammatical blunder for the day then it's been a pretty good day.

    I appreciate all the input. It definitely has been a massive learning experience, and I do actively look forward to some professional criticism to really polish this thing up.

    I guess there are a lot of elements in writing that only come from experience, so hopefully once this is finished it's not so bad that it can't really be helped without another five-year rewrite.

    Guess we'll see!
    I still have issues with the There's, and over use of apostrophes. Luckily there are editors for those kinds of mistakes.
    This might not be my best work but that just means there's room to improve.

    I don't have a big ego. You just can't comprehend my greatness!

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