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Writers Trashing Themselves (1 Viewer)

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Tettsuo

WF Veterans
This is so common amongst writers. The sense that you suck and you have so much to learn, when many of us actually don't have tons to learn, but simply need tweeks here and there.

Do you find that you often trash yourself? Is it false modesty or do you actually believe you suck?
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
I know I'm half decent and pretty competent, but it has to be acknowledged, I'm not capable enough yet to be published. That tooing and froing often leads to exhilaration followed by self annihilation. I think it's a necessary process in order to prevent complacency.
 

thepancreas11

New Writers' Mentor
WF Veterans
Awhile back I wrote a novel that I thought to be the pinnacle of my creativity. It was witty, thoughtful, exciting. It had vibrant characters and an original idea. I thought that it was going to get published. Even my beta readers were convinced it would get published. I had a professional editor read it and love it. I wrote a hundred query letters, and I heard nothing back.

For years after that, whenever people asked me about my writing, I would tell them about the scene from the end of "Inside Llewyn Davis" where he plays his heart out for the record executive, just him and the exec in the room alone. He plays his best stuff, is convinced that he's done enough, and then he looks up and realized he just doesn't have it. I felt like that. I felt like I was better than average, maybe even good, but just not publishable. I haven't finished a novel since then.

Recently, I've started writing short stories again. I've recently gotten one published (not sure if I can announce where, yet), and I was a semi-finalist in the "Writers of the Future Contest". I just think of all the time I wasted feeling sorry for myself. I know I'm not a natural, but I can work hard enough. I've increased my reading by 500% (according to goodreads, at least). I've started regularly writing stories I care about (even if they're fan fiction). I just want to enjoy it.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
Mix of both. I mean, I think I have potential (lol doesnt just about everybody have some?) and there is good parts to my work. I have a decent ideas/ concepts but its expressing them is the hard part- actually writing. I lack patience in general, so me taking my time and being content with what I can do is never good enough for me. I am always in a hurry to do better, which is good for improvement but I get frustrated with my work a lot. I don't really know my skill level, i'm a newer writer so its not fantastic but I give myself some cred for forcing myself to constantly improve. I have noticed improvements since the start of my writing journey. People have different goals for writing so some may put more pressure on themselves than others. 🤷‍♂️
(Its amazing how people can hate themselves/ abilities yet somehow have an ego at the same time lol.)
 
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Matchu

Senior Member
Awhile back I wrote a novel that I thought to be the pinnacle of my creativity. It was witty, thoughtful, exciting. It had vibrant characters and an original idea. I thought that it was going to get published. Even my beta readers were convinced it would get published. I had a professional editor read it and love it. I wrote a hundred query letters, and I heard nothing back.

For years after that, whenever people asked me about my writing, I would tell them about the scene from the end of "Inside Llewyn Davis" where he plays his heart out for the record executive, just him and the exec in the room alone. He plays his best stuff, is convinced that he's done enough, and then he looks up and realized he just doesn't have it. I felt like that. I felt like I was better than average, maybe even good, but just not publishable. I haven't finished a novel since then.

Recently, I've started writing short stories again. I've recently gotten one published (not sure if I can announce where, yet), and I was a semi-finalist in the "Writers of the Future Contest". I just think of all the time I wasted feeling sorry for myself. I know I'm not a natural, but I can work hard enough. I've increased my reading by 500% (according to goodreads, at least). I've started regularly writing stories I care about (even if they're fan fiction). I just want to enjoy it.
That was great.

Like my ‘every job interview ever recurring dream.’
 

Steve_Rivers

Senior Member
I used to have massive mood swings about my work. The main thing that helped me is recognizing it for what it is, when it is happening, and saying to yourself "this will pass. I will carry on, regardless." Then, when it happens next it feels less powerful because you can put it in a little draw and ignore it better.

I also try and take inspiration from successful authors when they say things like this...

 

Benjamin Button

Senior Member
Benjamin Button, you're the evidence of worthlessness. Just as zero is the word for nothingness, your face is the physical representation of all the worthlessness in the world. You going to get off your ass, today, Ben? Of course you're not, not you. You sorry piece of shit. How can your family stand you. How can you look in the mirror. God you're a---

Wait, I did interpret this thread, correctly? Right?
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
I know I'm half decent and pretty competent, but it has to be acknowledged, I'm not capable enough yet to be published. That tooing and froing often leads to exhilaration followed by self annihilation. I think it's a necessary process in order to prevent complacency.
Really? Sixty Shade of Grey and Twilight both got traditionally published. Getting published is more about what the publisher thinks will sell and less about how awesome of a writer you are.
 

TheMightyAz

Mentor
Really? Sixty Shade of Grey and Twilight both got traditionally published. Getting published is more about what the publisher thinks will sell and less about how awesome of a writer you are.
It's about my aspirations. It's not just about getting published and it's not just about writing well. My ambition is to be good enough for me. If if leads to publication, then that would be a bonus.
 

vranger

Staff member
Supervisor
I try to be realistic about it. There are things I do very well in writing, and things that need editing. However, I'm head and shoulders over where I was when I finished the first draft of my first novel. It's important to be able to learn something and keep applying it, and I'm mostly able to do that.

I've mentioned this before. Because I wrote a sequel to Heinlein's Citizen of the Galaxy, of course I was very interested in that novel and the history of its creation ... not only because every scrap of information helped my understanding for the sequel, but because it's my favorite novel. I have the untouched first draft, I have the marked-up edits, and of course the published novel. The first draft had more than 400 pages. There isn't ONE of those pages that isn't full of mark-up. Words, phrases, sentences, and at time entire paragraphs either revised or stricken out entirely. This is for an award-winning, successful, veteran author in his prime.

If you get edits that numerous, it's no big deal. It's the avocation AND the business.

Most of us are not getting that kind of direction from an editor, and frankly, I wouldn't accept that level of mark-up from someone I paid, or from a beta reader ... only from an editor offering me a contract and telling me making the edits will get the check cut. The ONLY mark-up that counts is the mark-up from the editor willing to pay you. A different editor might see a different picture.

However, my previous paragraph doesn't apply to a writer who still has a lot to learn and is getting technical advice from a more experienced writer. Yes, always learn more. But we have to reach a point where we're satisfied with our competence and satisfied with a draft. If you think something about a draft is subpar, decide why and fix it, then you don't have to brood about if you're not good enough. Find one way at a time to write better.
 

Cephus

Senior Member
It all depends. I see a lot of self-depricating writers and sometimes, it's not serious, they're actually really good and they're trying to avoid looking egotistical and other times, they're absolutely right and their writing is utter crap. Ultimately, I don't think about my writing one way or the other. It's my readers that matter and if they seem to like it, that's good enough for me.
 

JBF

Staff member
Board Moderator
I would imagine you see it so much because most of us - at one point or another - were part of a board, group, or forum where we encountered a stark raving novice with a marginal grasp of spelling, formatting, grammar, storytelling, or development of world and character. Often as not this particular wannabe called for feedback while simultaneously excusing themselves from the kind of criticism which may have helped them get their chemical fire of a story knocked into readable shape, usually resulting in a stagnated narrative mess (guaranteed to take the literary world by storm, mind you) which despite half a dozen rewrites never got appreciably better.

Once you've survived that a couple of times you realize it's easier to say you suck.

Also, you avoid being That Guy.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
I would imagine you see it so much because most of us - at one point or another - were part of a board, group, or forum where we encountered a stark raving novice with a marginal grasp of spelling, formatting, grammar, storytelling, or development of world and character. Often as not this particular wannabe called for feedback while simultaneously excusing themselves from the kind of criticism which may have helped them get their chemical fire of a story knocked into readable shape, usually resulting in a stagnated narrative mess (guaranteed to take the literary world by storm, mind you) which despite half a dozen rewrites never got appreciably better.

Once you've survived that a couple of times you realize it's easier to say you suck.
Good thing I realized I sucked befor I joined the forum lol
 

Cephus

Senior Member
You avoid being that guy and you avoid being around that guy. There are a lot of those kinds of people running around, thinking they're far better than they are, suffering from terminal Dunning-Kruger and then playing the self-deprecating fool because they think it will win them sympathy points.

It doesn't. They suck. You can't help people who don't have realistic expectations. I've given up even trying for people who a) have no ability to spell anything with more than three letters, b) who wouldn't know 6th grade grammar if it bit them and c) this is the newest one but I'm seeing it all the time, people who randomly capitalize words for no apparent reason in the middle of a sentence. If you're doing any of that, you lack the basic tools to be a decent writer.
 

LadySilence

Senior Member
I am not good.
When I read what I write, I suck.
There are many times that I think of giving up everything again.
But I don't have self-esteem, I never did.

Being critical of yourself is good because it pushes us to improve.

Some days are good, some are bad.
 

Matchu

Senior Member
I quite like my writing. If I don’t like it I edit or I don’t read it. Although I did read the worst thing I ever wrote the other day and it was quite good. Not sure what to do about that one.

Oh, and my mum doesn’t like my writing. It is ‘weird’ and not like Neville Chute at all. Not my fault that she read something weird, frankly, when I sent it to her.
 
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bdcharles

Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9
Staff member
Media Manager
I swing from one to the other. One day I am praising my genius, the next I am cringing.

I read some of my old stuff the other day. Some of it was utter piffle, while other parts do seem to have stood up. But it's all been fun.
 

KeganThompson

Senior Member
You avoid being that guy and you avoid being around that guy. There are a lot of those kinds of people running around, thinking they're far better than they are, suffering from terminal Dunning-Kruger and then playing the self-deprecating fool because they think it will win them sympathy points.

It doesn't. They suck. You can't help people who don't have realistic expectations. I've given up even trying for people who a) have no ability to spell anything with more than three letters, b) who wouldn't know 6th grade grammar if it bit them and c) this is the newest one but I'm seeing it all the time, people who randomly capitalize words for no apparent reason in the middle of a sentence. If you're doing any of that, you lack the basic tools to be a decent writer.
Good thing I only Struggle with the first two and not all Three. Lol
 
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Taylor

Staff member
Global Moderator
c) this is the newest one but I'm seeing it all the time, people who randomly capitalize words for no apparent reason in the middle of a sentence. If you're doing any of that, you lack the basic tools to be a decent writer.
This one is actually quite common, has no effect on the writing, and is easy to fix. :)
 
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