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What makes you good enough? (1 Viewer)

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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
 

druid12000

Senior Member
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.
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
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.
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
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.
 

bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
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.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
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
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
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.
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
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.
 

VRanger

Staff member
Administrator
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".
 

JBF

Staff member
Global Moderator
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.

Seems a little light on the self-loathing. :p
 
Thanks for the replies everyone! The general theme I getting from everyone is persistence is the main characteristic, without this, writing doesn't exist and through persistence and pushing, you can then find your true potential in being a writer?

A follow on question to you all ... what makes you want to write?

I had a spark of an idea many many moons ago but only gave myself real heart in the last year or so. I understand everyone's situations are different but like all, i have set goals i want to attain, mid term ambitions, longer term goals.

Why do you write?
 

TheMightyAz

Staff member
Mentor
Thanks for the replies everyone! The general theme I getting from everyone is persistence is the main characteristic, without this, writing doesn't exist and through persistence and pushing, you can then find your true potential in being a writer?

A follow on question to you all ... what makes you want to write?

I had a spark of an idea many many moons ago but only gave myself real heart in the last year or so. I understand everyone's situations are different but like all, i have set goals i want to attain, mid term ambitions, longer term goals.

Why do you write?

If you let the walls, the hurdles and the setbacks bother you, you'll never make it. Grit your teeth, kick something at hand, apologise to anything animate present, and get on with it.

What makes me want to write? FUN. ... And paragraphs. I love paragraphs.
 

Foxee

Patron
Patron
Why do you write?
Ideas are fun. Following the idea down its various paths of development, nudging it into shape, originating something that I haven't done before. I'm in it for all of that.

As for the actual writing, I agree with whoever it was who said that they didn't enjoy writing, they enjoy having written.
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
Ideas are fun. Following the idea down its various paths of development, nudging it into shape, originating something that I haven't done before. I'm in it for all of that.

As for the actual writing, I agree with whoever it was who said that they didn't enjoy writing, they enjoy having written.

I guess I’m strange because I enjoy writing... and plotting and editing. I hate marketing though.
 

Pamelyn Casto

WF Veterans
I'm with you, Indianroads. I also hate marketing my work. I love writing because I love to see where an idea might go and how it might end up expressing itself (essay, short story, flash fiction, poem, prose poetry, haibun, etc.)

But the marketing part is so time consuming. I do it but don't like it, not one little bit. I'm always grateful for the private requests-- the times markets come to me and ask me to provide something. I'm so beyond grateful for that.

But at the same time I love getting an acceptance from places I never expected might want my work. Most recently I submitted a piece to a place I consider over my head and they accepted it! So I got to see my work in a magazine I never dreamed might be open to me. (I submitted there at a friend's urging.)

I also love entering writing competitions. I've won quite a few smaller ones but each one counts whether a smaller competition or not. There are certain contests I enter annually because it's such fun to enter and even more fun to win now and then. There's no marketing involved but I get another publication credit, another hard-copy anthology containing my work, along with the prize money. Then I can often resubmit that winning piece elsewhere.

I enjoy the challenge of writing something that someone else might find worth reading.
 

Hewlett

Senior Member
I don't enjoy writing. I like to read, to story-tell, appreciate the beauty of words, but do not enjoy putting them together to express myself, or to force others to understand me. I'm neither good, or passionate about writing. It's simply something that I know I have to learn about, and do, in order for any communication with other humans that comes in the form of writing; be as effective as possible. Making my life much simpler.
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With that said, I feel there is an infinite amount of things we could learn about writing, and NOTHING AT ALL we need to learn about it. Also too many rules for something that has given you the impression that it is mighty free, it becomes off-putting or intimidating for someone who is passionate about it. It's a never ending rehearsal when your heart isn't really in it. AND, in my honest, negative opinion again...few people posess a natural born bad ass killer gift of writing. I hope you do.
 
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I don't enjoy writing. I like to read, to story-tell, appreciate the beauty of words, but do not enjoy putting them together to express myself, or to force others to understand me. I'm neither good, or passionate about writing. It's simply something that I know I have to learn about, and do, in order for any communication with other humans that comes in the form of writing; be as effective as possible. Making my life much simpler.
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With that said, I feel there is an infinite amount of things we could learn about writing, and NOTHING AT ALL we need to learn about it. Also too many rules for something that has given you the impression that it is mighty free, it becomes off-putting or intimidating for someone who is passionate about it. It's a never ending rehearsal when your heart isn't really in it. AND, in my honest, negative opinion again...few people posess a natural born bad ass killer gift of writing. I hope you do.

That's interesting. I posted the question because i never sought to write, it has just grown and is becoming very important to me. Communication, understanding are my aims as a person to improve upon with writing, but to encapsulate feelings into words, about how life gets at you into a fabricated world, the challenge is huge yet the urge to try... to keep going when time, realities of finance, being a dad, a husband, the fact that grades all point that this should not work and may not work ... i still want to tell my story ... and lots of other stories stuck in my head.

I see writing as bettering yourself and in my journey it's incredibly tough. I have no idea how to write yet i have done a first draft and in all honesty, scared to death at jumping into a group like this to gain some heart from others, yet that is what writing brings. Like many of you guys and girls here ... its great to share ideas, and see what others say, i don't agree with all, but it doesn't mean i don't appreciate the replies and thoughts. Being a father has taught me many things that i link to writing. If your child does something wrong you tell them off, they don't like it, no one does but it is through bad that we can improve.

I really struggle with self, its always a lonely battle so I'm very thankful to everyone who have posted back. It is only through writing can we express ourselves through silence - that's a quote in my book
 
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