What makes you good enough?


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Thread: What makes you good enough?

  1. #1

    What makes you good enough?

    Hi everyone.

    I'm not sure where you maybe at in your writing journey and i would love to read your views and your path.

    I decided a few years back to write a novel. I work 5-6 days a week and 2 little kids who i love, have very little time yet writing this book is purely for me. I've looked up lots of online videos and writing tips, 'show and don't tell' etc, learn to be a ferocious editor and battle with constant fear ... seeing my writing, the mistakes as 'It's not very good.'

    I have completed my first draft and happily onto my 2nd draft, editing, expanding, deleting, restructuring and unlike my first draft, the amount i have to do, the poor quality, the challenges ahead of publishing, finding beta readers, people to trust in reading something I've spent many a weeks and years on with the real prospects of alot ... saying ... "you should change this, this feels wrong, this is poorly written."

    To me that is scary.

    (Thank you for the welcome messages in the Intro page)

    Writing isn't natural for me, but jumping into that world ... very much is. I can be at work and storylines, characters, scenes develops during the day and when i head home in the dark of nights, sit on my computer to enter back into that world and create more stories.

    What has made you face your fears with no fears? How do you or have you looked on when you reveal your work to beta readers, publishers and its not what you hoped for?

    Thank you for your time and reading

  2. #2
    Quote Originally Posted by Takeaway Junkie View Post
    Hi everyone.

    I'm not sure where you maybe at in your writing journey and i would love to read your views and your path.

    I decided a few years back to write a novel. I work 5-6 days a week and 2 little kids who i love, have very little time yet writing this book is purely for me. I've looked up lots of online videos and writing tips, 'show and don't tell' etc, learn to be a ferocious editor and battle with constant fear ... seeing my writing, the mistakes as 'It's not very good.'

    I have completed my first draft and happily onto my 2nd draft, editing, expanding, deleting, restructuring and unlike my first draft, the amount i have to do, the poor quality, the challenges ahead of publishing, finding beta readers, people to trust in reading something I've spent many a weeks and years on with the real prospects of alot ... saying ... "you should change this, this feels wrong, this is poorly written."

    To me that is scary.

    (Thank you for the welcome messages in the Intro page)

    Writing isn't natural for me, but jumping into that world ... very much is. I can be at work and storylines, characters, scenes develops during the day and when i head home in the dark of nights, sit on my computer to enter back into that world and create more stories.

    What has made you face your fears with no fears? How do you or have you looked on when you reveal your work to beta readers, publishers and its not what you hoped for?

    Thank you for your time and reading
    For me, there has not been a time when fear has just disappeared. It becomes manageable. The hardest part of facing any fear has always been determining what exactly am I afraid of?

    An analogy I like to use is poking bears. Walking through the landscape of my mind and I hear a growl from behind some bushes (the fear). I poke it with a stick to see if I can get it to reveal itself. When it does, and it doesn't always happen quickly or easily, it is usually much smaller than I imagined it to be. Years of ignoring a problem or fear can make it grow into something far beyond it's actual proportions. Once identified, in my experience, it's almost inevitably much easier to manage.

  3. #3
    Takeaway Junkie--

    I'd say writing for publication is a wild sort of life--where we're always worried about someone else's judgment, preference, choice, their acceptance or their rejection. It can be a frightening life. I'd say you never want to get rid of that fear, though. It's a good thing. It keeps you motivated, keeps you awake and aware and working even harder to be the best writer you can be. I like druid 12000's words on that-- we learn to manage that fear we likely all have.

    I've never written or marketed a novel. But I have written and published plenty of essays, stories, and poetry. Each one brings up that fear that I'm not good enough when I send it to a market. I send work out anyway. Worried every time. So I know what you mean. I know that fear. But we learn to work with it and learn to let it help us keep improving. I look forward to watching you put that fear to work. Best of luck.
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  4. #4
    Your thread sets us up for bragging. LOL So, OK, here's mine:

    I started out writing interactive fiction for play by mail games I created. That was my first 2.5 to 3 million words. Customers kept coming back, many staying with me for years, so I supposed they were satisfied. However, (and believe it or not I still have a LOT of that material, laboriously converted from one platform to another starting with TRS-80 Model I SSSD 5.25" diskettes!) looking back on that material, it's as rough as you'd expect from any novice writer. I had some natural talent, but I carried it off more with imagination.

    I really bore down after I started to write novels, and I promise I've put in major time in study and applying what I've learned to my writing. When I advise writers to study and work out their weak areas, it's only because I spent the time doing that and I know it pays off.

    The two best pieces of feedback I got were these: One was from a friend, which I'd normally discount, but the gentleman wrote it in his newsletter, and he didn't have to include the note at all if he didn't enjoy the novel. He said, "I didn't expect to read a book written by a friend and enjoy it as much as books I read from popular authors." Stuff like that gives you chill bumps, even if if came from a friend.

    The second was last summer after I wrote a sequel to a famous sci-fi author (now deceased)'s novel from the late 50s. I wrote it on a lark because I'd always wanted more to the story. I didn't know what to expect from it, but I asked a Board Member on the Society which still promotes discussion of his work if he'd like to read it. His response was enthusiastic. Since then, other Society members have read it "informally" and given it thumbs up. I didn't expect that. It's a tough crowd. LOL I'm still trying to get any response from the organization which holds his copyrights to get a license to publish it. I wrote it only to scratch my itch, but since I got good feedback I'll try for more.

    Getting feedback like that doesn't make me think I'm guaranteed to serve up a good book. I just finished editing my latest, and I was proofreading and going, "WHERE DID ALL THOSE PREPOSITIONAL PHRASES COME FROM? Damn it!" Once I edit and see three or four in a sentence, yeah, I've got to do something about them. The difference between me now, and me several years ago, is now I have the knowledge and the technical tools to recognize that stuff and fix it.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Takeaway Junkie View Post

    What has made you face your fears with no fears? How do you or have you looked on when you reveal your work to beta readers, publishers and its not what you hoped for?

    Thank you for your time and reading
    For me, it's a number of things; a reasonable expectation of failure helps, plus a degree of having done the best I can and having a small modicum of confidence in the output and my abilities. I'm not the sort to go easy on myself if I think something's substandard, so I try and knock it into the best shape I can before letting anyone else get their hands on it Then there's still the part of me that is thrilled someone is reading it at all.

    Also - not every reaction is equal. Some opinions are worth more than others on any given subject. I've had scathing crit or whatnot and I then read the critiquer's own work or see some comments of theirs online and I think - nah, you're really not qualified. Other times, I've had the same level of response and thought: I need to do some work here.


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  6. #6
    The only one who can heal you is you.




  7. #7
    We face fear in practically everything new that we do: skydiving, scuba-diving, riding a motorcycle, climbing into a fighting ring, asking someone to marry you. But should you allow your fear to rule and diminish your life? Sadly, some do. Life expands when we push against the edges, and shrinks when we turn away.

    How we live it up to us. We can either hide from experiences, or shove our trepidation aside and move forward.

    Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.

    Marilyn Ferguson


  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Takeaway Junkie View Post
    What has made you face your fears with no fears? How do you or have you looked on when you reveal your work to beta readers, publishers and its not what you hoped for?
    Still in progress. But I have learned some things...or are in the process of learning them.


    • Even highly successful authors have some degree of Imposter Syndrome
    • Comparing what you're doing to someone else's finished book that went through rounds and rounds of editing and revision (or even your own book that is finished as opposed to a work in progress) is discouraging.
    • Anything worth doing is worth sucking at first.
    • If you fear it, do it.
    • People are going to criticize you unfairly if you put yourself out there. They're the ones who are too small to originate anything, usually.
    • One step at a time, don't stop.
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  9. #9
    Practice, determination, repetition, self loathing, practice, determination, repetition, self loathing, practice, determination, repetition, self loathing, practice, determination, repetition, self loathing, practice, determination, repetition, self loathing, practice, determination, repetition, self loathing etc.
    Craft / Draft / Graft And Write To Entertain Yourself And The reader.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Foxee View Post
    Still in progress. But I have learned some things...or are in the process of learning them.


    • Even highly successful authors have some degree of Imposter Syndrome
    • Comparing what you're doing to someone else's finished book that went through rounds and rounds of editing and revision (or even your own book that is finished as opposed to a work in progress) is discouraging.
    • Anything worth doing is worth sucking at first.
    • If you fear it, do it.
    • People are going to criticize you unfairly if you put yourself out there. They're the ones who are too small to originate anything, usually.
    • One step at a time, don't stop.
    Personally, the better I've just written something, the more intimidating the next writing session. If I believe something was really good, I'm then thinking, "Nice, but can I do that again?" ... and again the next day ... on and on. LOL

    It's a matter of believing in yourself. I've spent a lifetime reading great books by great authors, and that's the level I want to write at. It's a bar set high and one not easy to reach, so the notion it's too high lives. However, each novel I get behind me bridges the gap between doubt and confidence. I'm moving along.

    Your statement is absolutely correct. Not all successful authors feel that way, but I've read plenty of interviews with name authors who admit they're terrified their latest manuscript isn't "good enough".

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