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Ambitions, Realisation, Levels (1 Viewer)

KatPC

Senior Member
This may not be a pretty thread, but I hope members can give an honest answer to something that has bothered me, and maybe others, a long time, so I can find a clearer path to my writing journey.

I start with a little story of self, it is only short. I began writing, more seriously, when real life problems became too much. Inspired by a friend chasing her dreams, I followed the same to write my story. After 10 months of creating, in midst of working and 2 children, I finished the first draft. Through my journey via generic email mentor guides, Youtube, articles online everywhere, I found myself here, to nose around fellow writers' experiences, to see if they share similar paths, to read threads and critiques, to wonder at precision and opinions; to achieve their writing goals.

Writing means an awful lot to me. It has taken me away from some very bad places and given me strength and kind words from people I never expected. Like all, I began writing full of hope that my story will open feelings inside people that were long forgotten. I wanted to create a real world, a 'real life part 2' where we all can relate and believe, to take you, the reader into the a journey, not too far, but get caught up in the emotion and flight of our 'normal' protagonist.

I know I don't write well. I am honest enough to know I need to improve, but I know I can create. I dislike it when others or self, place time as an issue, yet I can never be a full time writer, not when I have mouths to feed and a house to pay off, this isn't a complaint on life, this is just situational. Unless I win the lottery, time is not always on my side, and improvements, learning, is all but small ... and then that dream, to publish, something to be proud of, to hold a book with your name, a story, with more stories in the future, for people to enjoy, is something that is all but a dream.

I posted an Edit and Drafting thread in another part of the forum, and there were many who generously replied, @vranger replying he made 7 drafts for his first novel and that he was, prior, an avid writer. I don't care about doing 10 drafts, 20 ... if it is to better my story but it opens the question of Ambition, realisation, and your own level. I'm not looking for people to give high five remarks 'You can do it, work hard etc,' yet being realistic calms ones nerves and faith in self. I know @TheMightyAz made a post stating the odds of success is unbelievably low, yet I am not unknown to this fact, it is more of the realisation of what to expect and where I am at.

I like the word Amateur, it doesn't mean I don't want to learn or think I know everything, it is the situation I find myself in. Do I want to be publish 20 or 30 years down the line when I am retired and have more time? I will still be writing but will my Ambition be there? Will the mind Realise it is now doable? Will my standards, my level be good enough ... ever?

At present, I see many deficiencies in my writing. It has improved from the start of the year but the nagging Realisation, from my routine, to me setting as much time to writing, that what I produce will never be strong enough, and the hollow truth is to lower one's Ambitions. Is this part of the journey? A battle of will? A fight with self?

Thank you for reading
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
Lots of levels here. First, I think we have to enjoy writing. And we'd better, because that's our only guaranteed benefit. :) There's nothing wrong with ambition, but it's probably unwise to bank on some level of publication which might never come. Most published authors don't make enough to call it a full-time profession. The term is mid-list, meaning an author who sells just enough to make it worth the publisher's time to deal with them.

If we're going to spend the time, we should try to get as good at it as we can. There are people who spend more time playing golf than most of us do actually stringing words together. They take lessons, hit buckets of balls at the driving range, buy better clubs and balls, and give each other tips. Probably about the same percentage of golfers make a living from the game as authors make a living from writing, but they don't despair. They continue because they love playing golf. If you can love writing without the distraction of what will become of your product, you can relax and just write. You'll improve as you do, and who knows, one of these days any of us might get lucky. :)

However, one piece of advice I used to give authors from the reviewer's perspective: If you're going to self-publish, the product needs to be polished. When we publish, we're taking the chance someone might pay money for what we publish, and it should be worth the price. I've run across a LOT of self-published material I should have been paid to read. So it needs to be adequately proofed and edited. Lots of professional writers used to have reams of material rejected before they ever made their first sale. In those days, those reams of material never were pushed on the public. Now, writers can self-publish junk they write while learning, and that's not good. Once a writer gets a reputation for junk, they'll probably never overcome it.

That's why we need to keep learning, practicing, and improving. One day someone who knows what they're talking about will tell us we're good enough. At that point, publish.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
'I will never be good enough.' It's a necessary evil. You can always tell when people haven't got that essential ingredient. They never improve because their mindset is 'I am already good enough'.

Anyone can write competently. That I can say with absolute certainty and so it's a realistic goal and mindset to have. Rather than looking into the distance at what you'd like to be, look at each step you need to take in order to move towards the distance. And while you're doing that, forget what the distance looks like. Your only concern should be improving in relation to yourself and nobody else or anything else.

Every house is built on foundations. If they're not solid, the house will eventually crack and crumble.
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
'I will never be good enough.' It's a necessary evil. You can always tell when people haven't got that essential ingredient. They never improve because their mindset is 'I am already good enough'.
I get your point, but I disagree with the framing. "I will never be good enough," isn't how I think it should be phrased. "I work at always getting better," is IMO the better viewpoint to take. For me, I've self-published and gotten enough reviews to hold the idea that I am talented. But talent is and will never be enough. Talent is nothing without the hard work. I will forever hold the idea that I can improve. But knowing that I can improve and work at getting better doesn't mean I'm not talented or 'good enough' if I'm not where I want to be.

This site has a ton of talented people, but we all are looking to get better at our craft. That's the essential ingredient.
 

apocalypsegal

Senior Member
The vast majority of people who write don't make a full time living from it. It's always been that way. Maybe for nonfiction, depending on what you write, for fiction, it's mostly a nice dream.

And you're probably better at writing than you think. This is a curse for many of us, we simply can't see our own skills. That's why critique groups and beta readers, if chosen right, can help us. They can see where we miss, or where we hit a homer. Alone, we're just going by our own issues, and sometimes we are blinded by them.

I've been writing almost my entire life. I started telling stories to myself, and then I learned the magic of letters, which made words, which allowed others to see my stories. I was about five and a half. My teachers thought I was weird, I got so excited to find out that those dark lines made the words in my head real. lol Sadly I wasn't quite as excited about math, but that's life. :D

Write because you have stories to tell. You can look for a way to make money from them, but I'd guess money isn't going to be the main motivation for most of us. I do know people who only write to make money. And that's fine. But I think it's easier if you love the stories first.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I get your point, but I disagree with the framing. "I will never be good enough," isn't how I think it should be phrased. "I work at always getting better," is IMO the better viewpoint to take. For me, I've self-published and gotten enough reviews to hold the idea that I am talented. But talent is and will never be enough. Talent is nothing without the hard work. I will forever hold the idea that I can improve. But knowing that I can improve and work at getting better doesn't mean I'm not talented or 'good enough' if I'm not where I want to be.

This site has a ton of talented people, but we all are looking to get better at our craft. That's the essential ingredient.
I'm a realist and honest. I could frame it like that but it would be fooling myself into believing we're inhabited by a philosophical voice at all times when we're not. The truth is, we're not, and the truth is, we think 'I'll never be good enough'. Letting people know it's a natural thought to have is more enlightening than re-framing it to sound more palatable. ;)
 

Lawless

Senior Member
You seem to be badly in the need of small success experiences. How about writing a blog? You could post short pieces about something interesting that happened, or what you think about this or that, or maybe an occasional haiku? When you like someone else's book or article, you could recommend it in your blog, telling in a few words what you liked about it. Or, say, a child has written a beautiful poem. You can have a share in their joy by giving them the praise they deserve. Eventually, the appreciation you have given will come back to you.

The point is, when you can look at writings you have actually completed and made available to the world, maybe you will no longer drive yourself crazy wondering if and when you're going to get a novel printed.
 

KatPC

Senior Member
Sorry all for not replying directly to your posts, but typing on the phone and it's not as easy as on the laptop.

Your replies have given me much food for thought ... maybe like fine wine ... time, patience is what is needed ... and a little more belief.

I will make a better post tomorrow, if possible, thank you all.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
When I first got back into writing earlier this year my thought was "im gonna write a book and get it published" well that changed to "I will write a book and maybe get it published" to "I will write a book and see if it can get published" To "well I will just write a book. and see if I can even finish it"
I started to realize how much I sucked as I kept writing and learning. I question well, whats the point then? (if I cant get published asap) Which isnt the right attitude. I got to the point where I wanted to be good so bad that I made my writing worse by tryin too hard. its still a struggle but now I focus on writing because I like it and to create. Publishing is so far away for me at this point I try not to even think about it. I need to write because I like it before anything else. Having fun is my number one priority. I wont get better as a writer if I don't enjoy it first and foremost. I will get better with time (as long as I listen and take critique well too)
People are willing to read what I post. someone reading and taking the time to comment is all I need right now :)
(this is something I realized recently tbh)
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
I know I don't write well. I am honest enough to know I need to improve, but I know I can create.

Welcome to the club. And congratulations on cresting that first obstacle.


I know @TheMightyAz made a post stating the odds of success is unbelievably low, yet I am not unknown to this fact, it is more of the realisation of what to expect and where I am at.

To put this in perspective...let's say you're standing at the very dawn of humanity with a working knowledge of what's coming down the ages. At that point, with everything you know, would you bet on your own eventual existence? Figure in the natural disasters, wars, plagues, and other assorted calamities that put a crimp in the world and say "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm going to make it."

Would you take those odds? Most people probably wouldn't. Statisticians almost certaintly wouldn't. But here we all. You've already beat the uneven chance by existing. Next to that...how big an obstacle is publishing?

Take anybody on this board. Anything on the street. Anybody, really. What miniscule percent of those do you think accurately forecast the trajectory their life followed? I'm betting none. Life's got a weird way of doing what it wants. Most adults would be strangers to their childhood and teenaged selves.


I like the word Amateur, it doesn't mean I don't want to learn or think I know everything, it is the situation I find myself in. Do I want to be publish 20 or 30 years down the line when I am retired and have more time? I will still be writing but will my Ambition be there? Will the mind Realise it is now doable? Will my standards, my level be good enough ... ever?

There's two factors at work here. One is the longevity of the dream. The other is one of comfort.

The first is the hardest. In the writing-inclined, it's also a lesser concern. I've been picking at my project since I was fourteen (I'm 36 now). This is not the timetable I would have chosen, nor would I have likely kept on in YoungerMe knew it was going to be this kind of slog. That said, what I get on paper nowadays is far and away superior to the stuff I used to write, which leads to the second. This half of the equation isn't about the story - it's about the writer growing until they advanced sufficiently to meet their story on workable terms.

New writers tend to wear their work like an ill-fitting suitcoat. Their knowing how badly they want it is at odds with the new style, it's not broken in and comfortable yet, and frankly most don't know how to wear it anyway.

That takes time and familiarity and more than a few rough patches.

At present, I see many deficiencies in my writing. It has improved from the start of the year but the nagging Realisation, from my routine, to me setting as much time to writing, that what I produce will never be strong enough, and the hollow truth is to lower one's Ambitions. Is this part of the journey? A battle of will? A fight with self?

There's an adage in most forms of navigation that very rarely do you point yourself directly at the target and go. Ocean currents go where they want. Wind goes somewhere else. At times you may lose the stars and have to muddle through as best you can.

Whatever you do, your journey won't be a straight line. So long as you make your corrections and keep on top of things, though...you will get there. Maybe a little beat, maybe listing to port with some of your rigging gone, maybe a week overdue - but you will get there.
 

Terry D

Retired Supervisor
'I will never be good enough.' It's a necessary evil. You can always tell when people haven't got that essential ingredient. They never improve because their mindset is 'I am already good enough'.

Anyone can write competently. That I can say with absolute certainty and so it's a realistic goal and mindset to have. Rather than looking into the distance at what you'd like to be, look at each step you need to take in order to move towards the distance. And while you're doing that, forget what the distance looks like. Your only concern should be improving in relation to yourself and nobody else or anything else.

Every house is built on foundations. If they're not solid, the house will eventually crack and crumble.
Many thousands of writers know they are "good enough". You know how I know that? Because their books and stories and articles and TV scripts and stage plays are published, read, and produced everyday. Stephanie Meyer, E.L. James, and any other hack you can think of are 'good enough' to be published and read. Other writers spend their entire careers writing copy for news stand slop like, The Weekly World News, or write Harlequin Romances just to get a paycheck. It's not art, but it is 'good enough'. Wanting to be better at what we do is a positive trait, but constantly thinking, "I'm not good enough," can be damaging and demotivating for many people. And, frankly, it's not even a necessary trait. Do you think James Patterson believes he's not good enough while he's outlining the next novel some writer for hire is going to write and put Patterson's name on? All we have to do is be 'good enough' to achieve our goals. Stephen King is always trying to hone his craft, but he reached the 'good enough' point almost 50 years ago when he sold Carrie for enough money so he didn't have to worry about money ever again. Few of us will ever be that fortunate, but plenty of us can be good enough to accomplish what we want.
 

KatPC

Senior Member
Lots of levels here. First, I think we have to enjoy writing. And we'd better, because that's our only guaranteed benefit. :) There's nothing wrong with ambition, but it's probably unwise to bank on some level of publication which might never come. Most published authors don't make enough to call it a full-time profession. The term is mid-list, meaning an author who sells just enough to make it worth the publisher's time to deal with them.

However, one piece of advice I used to give authors from the reviewer's perspective: If you're going to self-publish, the product needs to be polished. When we publish, we're taking the chance someone might pay money for what we publish, and it should be worth the price. I've run across a LOT of self-published material I should have been paid to read. So it needs to be adequately proofed and edited. Lots of professional writers used to have reams of material rejected before they ever made their first sale. In those days, those reams of material never were pushed on the public. Now, writers can self-publish junk they write while learning, and that's not good. Once a writer gets a reputation for junk, they'll probably never overcome it.

That's why we need to keep learning, practicing, and improving. One day someone who knows what they're talking about will tell us we're good enough. At that point, publish.

I love writing. I love the Art of Creation, that my days can be filled, filling in the pieces of that jigsaw so when I come home, and the house is quiet, I can pick the stories that I plotted all day. There is never a greater feeling than creating, to let the mind wonder and then, in front of that blank screen, you can create anything from nothing. The bad part is when I re-read my work, it is not what it seemed and it is in editing I need to focus and work on.

I would never publish something that hasn't been rigorously checked through, I simply want to reach a stage where the gap between creating and fixing is not too great. In seeing other's works here, in the workshop and the snippets of help thread, the fine detail in every line, to every word is something I find hard to master. True that we all have our own ways to tell a story and that 'suggestions' to alterations to someone's text is a personal thing, but in spotting redundant words, to forced use of words ... there is a lot that I need to learn.

'I will never be good enough.' It's a necessary evil. You can always tell when people haven't got that essential ingredient. They never improve because their mindset is 'I am already good enough'.

I believe so too. Being 'no good' is not something or deemed not good enough, have been long life lessons, and many a time, you battle on and trust in yourself ... but there are times when you believe in those words you want to ignore. Mindset is a very good choice of word ... I will constantly work on this.

I get your point, but I disagree with the framing. "I will never be good enough," isn't how I think it should be phrased. "I work at always getting better," is IMO the better viewpoint to take. For me, I've self-published and gotten enough reviews to hold the idea that I am talented. But talent is and will never be enough. Talent is nothing without the hard work. I will forever hold the idea that I can improve. But knowing that I can improve and work at getting better doesn't mean I'm not talented or 'good enough' if I'm not where I want to be.

This site has a ton of talented people, but we all are looking to get better at our craft. That's the essential ingredient.

Your last remark mirrors AZ in looking to get better at our craft, this is a mindset issue.


The vast majority of people who write don't make a full time living from it. It's always been that way. Maybe for nonfiction, depending on what you write, for fiction, it's mostly a nice dream.

And you're probably better at writing than you think. This is a curse for many of us, we simply can't see our own skills. That's why critique groups and beta readers, if chosen right, can help us. They can see where we miss, or where we hit a homer. Alone, we're just going by our own issues, and sometimes we are blinded by them.

I've been writing almost my entire life. I started telling stories to myself, and then I learned the magic of letters, which made words, which allowed others to see my stories. I was about five and a half. My teachers thought I was weird, I got so excited to find out that those dark lines made the words in my head real. lol Sadly I wasn't quite as excited about math, but that's life. :D

Write because you have stories to tell. You can look for a way to make money from them, but I'd guess money isn't going to be the main motivation for most of us. I do know people who only write to make money. And that's fine. But I think it's easier if you love the stories first.

No I don't aim to write to make money, just show the world my story and other stories, to prove to myself 'I am good enough.' It is very easy to say 'I am a writer,' but I feel this is invalid unless you have something to show for. Passing a few of my shorts to a few friends who say it is wonderful, doesn't really pass (for me) as being a writer. I want to be comfortable in my writing skills, knowing what I am good at, and concentrate on them, improve on the bad, and show stories that are uniquely me.

You seem to be badly in the need of small success experiences. How about writing a blog? You could post short pieces about something interesting that happened, or what you think about this or that, or maybe an occasional haiku? When you like someone else's book or article, you could recommend it in your blog, telling in a few words what you liked about it. Or, say, a child has written a beautiful poem. You can have a share in their joy by giving them the praise they deserve. Eventually, the appreciation you have given will come back to you.

The point is, when you can look at writings you have actually completed and made available to the world, maybe you will no longer drive yourself crazy wondering if and when you're going to get a novel printed.

I have a very small network of people I trust with my writing, it feels like a secret pastime. This may sound weird, but I would cringe at putting something out that isn't good enough. To have a website that your friends can come along and write a few nice comments, if more 'advanced' writers view a post or story, finding basic errors, it is the pride and confidence that will suffer.

When I first got back into writing earlier this year my thought was "im gonna write a book and get it published" well that changed to "I will write a book and maybe get it published" to "I will write a book and see if it can get published" To "well I will just write a book. and see if I can even finish it"
I started to realize how much I sucked as I kept writing and learning. I question well, whats the point then? (if I cant get published asap) Which isnt the right attitude. I got to the point where I wanted to be good so bad that I made my writing worse by tryin too hard. its still a struggle but now I focus on writing because I like it and to create. Publishing is so far away for me at this point I try not to even think about it. I need to write because I like it before anything else. Having fun is my number one priority. I wont get better as a writer if I don't enjoy it first and foremost. I will get better with time (as long as I listen and take critique well too)
People are willing to read what I post. someone reading and taking the time to comment is all I need right now :)
(this is something I realized recently tbh)

There is a lot of truth in what you say, but it was a point I made at the start, do I lower my ambitions? I have always been one to push myself to attain my goals, whether I have succeeded or not, no one will fault the effort. I liked what AZ said ... to not look too far into the distance and take each step along the way. I am old enough to know that having that crazy inner belief is amazing and can elevate a person's abilities to succeed, yet I have also tasted the bitter pill of defeat, knowing one's brash and high held attitudes were arrogance rather than ability.

Fun is good though ... I love having fun with my stories.

Welcome to the club. And congratulations on cresting that first obstacle.

To put this in perspective...let's say you're standing at the very dawn of humanity with a working knowledge of what's coming down the ages. At that point, with everything you know, would you bet on your own eventual existence? Figure in the natural disasters, wars, plagues, and other assorted calamities that put a crimp in the world and say "Yeah, I'm pretty sure I'm going to make it."

Would you take those odds? Most people probably wouldn't. Statisticians almost certaintly wouldn't. But here we all. You've already beat the uneven chance by existing. Next to that...how big an obstacle is publishing?

Take anybody on this board. Anything on the street. Anybody, really. What miniscule percent of those do you think accurately forecast the trajectory their life followed? I'm betting none. Life's got a weird way of doing what it wants. Most adults would be strangers to their childhood and teenaged selves.

There's two factors at work here. One is the longevity of the dream. The other is one of comfort.

The first is the hardest. In the writing-inclined, it's also a lesser concern. I've been picking at my project since I was fourteen (I'm 36 now). This is not the timetable I would have chosen, nor would I have likely kept on in YoungerMe knew it was going to be this kind of slog. That said, what I get on paper nowadays is far and away superior to the stuff I used to write, which leads to the second. This half of the equation isn't about the story - it's about the writer growing until they advanced sufficiently to meet their story on workable terms.

New writers tend to wear their work like an ill-fitting suitcoat. Their knowing how badly they want it is at odds with the new style, it's not broken in and comfortable yet, and frankly most don't know how to wear it anyway.

That takes time and familiarity and more than a few rough patches.

There's an adage in most forms of navigation that very rarely do you point yourself directly at the target and go. Ocean currents go where they want. Wind goes somewhere else. At times you may lose the stars and have to muddle through as best you can.

Whatever you do, your journey won't be a straight line. So long as you make your corrections and keep on top of things, though...you will get there. Maybe a little beat, maybe listing to port with some of your rigging gone, maybe a week overdue - but you will get there.

Thank you ... to this, and everyone above ... this has been very helpful. It has provided much clarity. My grandma got me, my brother and all my cousins a gold plated keyring. It had a word inscribed on each, and she passed it to each of us, all with a different word, each word representing each of us. I was given the word perseverance. I kept it by my side for 20 years before I lost it ... I need to find that word again.


Many thousands of writers know they are "good enough". You know how I know that? Because their books and stories and articles and TV scripts and stage plays are published, read, and produced everyday. Stephanie Meyer, E.L. James, and any other hack you can think of are 'good enough' to be published and read. Other writers spend their entire careers writing copy for news stand slop like, The Weekly World News, or write Harlequin Romances just to get a paycheck. It's not art, but it is 'good enough'. Wanting to be better at what we do is a positive trait, but constantly thinking, "I'm not good enough," can be damaging and demotivating for many people. And, frankly, it's not even a necessary trait. Do you think James Patterson believes he's not good enough while he's outlining the next novel some writer for hire is going to write and put Patterson's name on? All we have to do is be 'good enough' to achieve our goals. Stephen King is always trying to hone his craft, but he reached the 'good enough' point almost 50 years ago when he sold Carrie for enough money so he didn't have to worry about money ever again. Few of us will ever be that fortunate, but plenty of us can be good enough to accomplish what we want.

I'm not 'good enough' yet. I have had feedback to know I need to push on in my learning. I have stopped writing for a while to focusing on reading, and looking at others' work, here, which have been critiqued to better my understanding of structure, use of words and sentencing. I have many short stories that I need to fix and repair, and this downtime is (I think) probably a good way to 'analyse and learn.'

Thank you for your feedback everyone, it is greatly accepted and appreciated.
 

LadySilence

Senior Member
I started a blog, where I publish some of the things I write.
I have no feedback.
But I don't care, I do it because it makes me happy.
This is an important part of being a writer.
Do something you enjoy.
Write what you like, even if I wouldn't have readers. However, do it well. Good writing will do you good.
"Writing well, it hurts damn" I don't remember who said this sentence, but I find it right and true.
I learned that the first draft must always be fixed. The first draft, it will be crap. But that's normal.
I learned the hard way, making mistakes, accepting that I still have to learn a lot.
You never stop learning.
The important thing is to never give up and always write with the same passion.
We separate dreams and ambitions.
My dream is to write a good science fiction story.
My ambition: to write a good story, which is bought by Netflix.
 

Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
I know I don't write well. I am honest enough to know I need to improve, but I know I can create.
I don't see anything technically wrong with your writing. So just write the best you can and stop judging yourself.
I dislike it when others or self, place time as an issue, yet I can never be a full time writer, not when I have mouths to feed and a house to pay off, this isn't a complaint on life, this is just situational. Unless I win the lottery, time is not always on my side, and improvements, learning, is all but small ... and then that dream, to publish, something to be proud of, to hold a book with your name, a story, with more stories in the future, for people to enjoy, is something that is all but a dream.
It's a wonderful dream. And fortunately, writing is one of the few arts where time can expand or contract. Just do what you can. When I was younger, I wrote letters to my sister. And I kept a journal after my son went to bed. Sometimes I just scribbled while having my morning coffee. It kept me sane. Eventually, I started writing articles for a professional magazine when I could find the time. And then I ended up doing a lot of technical writing at work. I never won the lottery, but I found a way to write.
@TheMightyAz made a post stating the odds of success is unbelievably low, yet I am not unknown to this fact, it is more of the realisation of what to expect and where I am at.
With self-publishing becoming so accessible, we are not reliant on publishers anymore. We can make our own success.
I like the word Amateur, it doesn't mean I don't want to learn or think I know everything, it is the situation I find myself in. Do I want to be publish 20 or 30 years down the line when I am retired and have more time? I will still be writing but will my Ambition be there? Will the mind Realise it is now doable? Will my standards, my level be good enough ... ever?
I started writing my novel after I retired. It feels like the ultimate reward for having worked hard and been financially responsible my whole life. And I never think about if my standards or level are good enough. However, I doubt at this age I would become the next best-selling sensation, but that's the choice I made by waiting so long.
At present, I see many deficiencies in my writing. It has improved from the start of the year but the nagging Realisation, from my routine, to me setting as much time to writing, that what I produce will never be strong enough, and the hollow truth is to lower one's Ambitions. Is this part of the journey? A battle of will? A fight with self?
This type of self-doubt expression is prevalent on this site. I don't really understand it. What do you see as your "deficiencies"?
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
First - none here are perfect writers... or perfect anything actually. Everyone gets better at what they do - so, to get better at writing, WRITE.

I'll hazard to say that writing means a lot to everyone one here. My first two novels were autobiographies - they were cathartic; writing our stories is often an act of healing.

All of us have different processes we follow - basically, the only tenet I cling to is that we should do what works for us, and take advice from others as suggestions that you modify before applying to your work. My method is to work on the plot for quite a while, then write ONE draft, and afterward edit it into submission. That works for me, but probably won't for anyone else.

You're in a place filled with writers - we understand each other here, and although we argue a bit at times, there's a kinship that ties us together.
 

Terry D

Retired Supervisor
I'm not 'good enough' yet. I have had feedback to know I need to push on in my learning. I have stopped writing for a while to focusing on reading, and looking at others' work, here, which have been critiqued to better my understanding of structure, use of words and sentencing. I have many short stories that I need to fix and repair, and this downtime is (I think) probably a good way to 'analyse and learn.'

Thank you for your feedback everyone, it is greatly accepted and appreciated.

Don't stop writing. Nothing you learn from reading the work of others is going to make you better if you don't use it. Artists (if that is what you want to be) practice their art, remember Da Vinci's sketch books? A craftsperson (if you view writing as a craft as well as an art) learns their craft by working on it, not by reading books. So, by all means, learn from what you read -- read widely and across genres, read writers you love and writers you hate -- but DON't stop writing. Just some advice from an old hack.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
First - none here are perfect writers...
Nor anywhere else, even among popular best-selling authors. The last three Harry Potter books are overwritten messes. If the first book had been written like that, she'd STILL be shopping it around. They're only successes because the first books were better, and the endgame was a compelling draw. I just started Sue Grafton's "B" book. The first few chapters are full of a rookie mistake. Everyone is talking about a missing person in past tense, as if they already know she's dead. If one character did that, it might be a clue. But multiple characters are doing it. It was a mistake, and I can't see why an editor didn't catch it. In her first book, I thought she telegraphed the motive and the murderer several chapters before she meant to. But are the books good reads despite "imperfection"? Sure. That's why there are 23 more in the series.
 
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KatPC

Senior Member
Thank you all. You are all wonderful and great in showing your thoughts and supportive words, they may not be solely for me to see, but it is very kind of all of you.
This type of self-doubt expression is prevalent on this site. I don't really understand it. What do you see as your "deficiencies"?

I really apologise for not replying back to everyone, but it's getting quite late here in England (sorry). I think self doubt is individual to everyone. The main reason, as I suspect is the same for many others, I joined a forum is to bounce ideas, have someone read and improve what we make, to make a story, our story or many stories that captures a readers' mind, to take them away to that world, to find support and gain understanding on this writing journey.

I find writing cathartic, it's creative, it makes me a much calmer person, that joy of nothing to something, on a word, on a name ... its so gratifying. I can keep this to myself, but I want to share it with others, see if they can be taken on the ride, yet when I look back and edit, rework, I often find that what was up here, hasn't always translated to what is in front. I have spent weeks on 1 chapter in my novel. Going through every sentence, never 100% happy with it and that passage has become so ingrained that it has become too close, and that it still doesn't feel right ... and if it doesn't feel right, then it probably isn't!

This leads me to:

Don't stop writing. Nothing you learn from reading the work of others is going to make you better if you don't use it. Artists (if that is what you want to be) practice their art, remember Da Vinci's sketch books? A craftsperson (if you view writing as a craft as well as an art) learns their craft by working on it, not by reading books. So, by all means, learn from what you read -- read widely and across genres, read writers you love and writers you hate -- but DON't stop writing. Just some advice from an old hack.

I've stopped writing, temporarily, to focus on reading and analyzing work instead - You can't expect different results if you keep on doing the same thing. If I can read more, break down the writer's style, their technique, how they sneaked in information here and there, it feels better than continually writing, hoping to strike it rich. I maybe wrong, but it feels like a holiday. We shall see.
 
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