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  1. #1
    Steve McLeod
    Guest

    My Biggest Challenge

    Hi All

    Just joined up so this my first post and I'd really appreciate some help with what I consider to be my biggest challenge.......myself!

    I've been trying to write a novel now for several years, sometimes off my own volition, a couple of times as part of the NaNoWriMo project, but I keep failing due to my own criticisms. Each and every time I write I go back to proof read what I've written and end up hating it! I read it back and it feels stilted, bland, obvious and dull and I convince myself that no one will ever like it and end up deleting it, then either end up starting again or more often feel demoralized and refuse to try again until the bug hits me once more.

    Even when I've let people read what I've written and they tell how much they enjoy it, I still end up hating what I've done so far and go through the whole deletion thing once more.

    So, as aspiring and succesfull writers on here, how do you cope with your own doubts about your work? Does anyone else go through something similar? If so, how do you stop yourself?

    I'll be very grateful to anyone who can help, especially if it helps me break this cycle finally!

    Steve



  2. #2
    Jean Bonifacios
    Guest

    Re: My Biggest Challenge

    Finish the novel first.

    Then criticize it. That's what a revision is. Don't waste your time revising until it's done. Get the idea on paper. That's the most important part. Trust me, if I read through my WIP...I'd be nothing but a blind woman because I would've stapled my eyeballs from the torture of it.

    Read novels like your writing when you get that urge to read through what you just did.

  3. #3
    leslee
    Guest

    Re: My Biggest Challenge

    One of the ways we sabotage ourselves is by getting stuck in one spot, endlessly reading and judging the same page or paragraph. Years pass, and all we've written was, "It was a dark and stormy night."

    So, as Jean suggests, quit looking backward and just write the damn thing.

    Or, if you REALLY want to make yourself crazy, post a few paragraphs here and let US tell you what's wrong with it. We're merciless.

  4. #4
    John Oberon
    Guest

    Re: My Biggest Challenge

    Yep, finish it.

  5. #5
    Jeanne Gassman
    Guest

    Re: My Biggest Challenge

    Steve,

    I'm sorry, but did you say you were DELETING old drafts/attempts? Why???

    Some thoughts...

    Good writing is an art form, and like any work of art, you make mistakes, you have false starts, you have to practice. A few years ago, I attended this fabulous art exhibit called "Masters Redux." The exhibit was a collection of the practice works by great artists--Monet, Degas, Matisse, and others. Some of them, like Monet, painted the same hayfield over a dozen times, experimenting with capturing the colors of the light. Matisse took photos of compositions and painted different versions, changing the color and composition. Degas, the famous painter of ballet dancers, was losing his sight in later life, so he turned to sculpture, shaping and forming the same figures dad after day under his fingertips so he "could feel their life." Note that none of them threw out their work! They kept the practice pieces and learned from them.

    Sometimes stories need time to germinate. I had a short story I wrote over 20 years ago when I first started writing seriously. I liked the concept, and I liked the characters, but I knew the writing itself was clunky and stilted. I had no idea then how to fix it, so I dumped it into a folder and filed it away. Twenty years later--after many, many hours of writing, reading, and studying the craft--I thought again about that story. Could I make it better? Did I have the skills? I took it out and started over. In the end, I kept only the bones. I kept the character, the situation, and the concept. That story is probably one of the best short stories I've ever written.

    So...

    Don't throw out old drafts. If you hate them, file them away and start something new.
    Do finish what you start. Set it aside for a few weeks or months. Go back to it. Revise.

    Another possibility is that you aren't ready to write a novel. Perhaps you would benefit from working on shorter pieces where you can experiment with craft and form and learn from your efforts.

    Think about joining a critique group of writers who can and will evaluate your abilities beyond "I liked it." You'll gain confidence when you tackle your writing weaknesses and conquer them. The only way to do that is to revise and trust that you're doing the best you know how to do at the moment.

    Jeanne

  6. #6
    Beautiful Loser
    Guest

    Re: My Biggest Challenge

    You've already answered your own questions. The biggest challenge you face is yourself.

    Post a few areas within your novel you feel are "stilted, bland, obvious, and dull" for critique here if you think it'll help you finish your WIP.

  7. #7
    Steve McLeod
    Guest

    Re: My Biggest Challenge

    "I'm sorry, but did you say you were DELETING old drafts/attempts? Why???"

    Ermm....umm....erm......yeah.

    Is that bad?? :S

    Well, after reading your posts, I can see a few flaws in my philosophies I guess I just need to write and write and write and not go back to re-read it until it's finished.....then save the original version and re-do the parts I don't like....then do that again a few dozen times until I'm happy!

    Many thanks for the help all, I do appreciate getting the point of view of some more experienced minds and I gotta say, I'm damn impressed at the speed at which people responded! Some places I've posted on I've had the grand total of very few replies after a few weeks, to see so many responses so fast was amazing!

    Well, at least i know which writers forum to frequent regularly now

  8. #8
    Jean Bonifacios
    Guest

    Re: My Biggest Challenge

    Well according to Don Daffy Dimwit, we're all a bunch of idiots that need to get a job, stop smoking and drool at controversy because we're too stupid to care. Of course we have plenty of time to respond. We're all just a bunch of idiots!

    Sorry, I'm sure this will be removed by the moderator soon. Pay no attention to the bitter 'aspiring writer'.

    You're welcome. Write and read (other stuff, NOT yours)

  9. #9
    Diane Snyder-Haug
    Guest

    Re: My Biggest Challenge

    Steve,
    I agree with everyone else above, you need to just keep going with your novel and don't look back and re-read until you reach the end. I'm much like you when I start a new novel, I hate everything I write and this usually lasts for the first three chapters, after that, the novel starts zipping along, the writing flows better, the words "sing". Then when I reach the end, I go back and deal with those troublesome first three chapters which I probably will still hate. But I need those chapters, awful as they sometimes are, as a sort of launching point to get me going. Best to you. You are not alone!

  10. #10
    martin shaw
    Guest

    Re: My Biggest Challenge

    Sometimes Iím three weeks on one page, and on others I can write two pretty decent pages in a day...it depends which part of the book you are on.

    I donít read other peoples work if I can help it because I am afraid that subconsciously I may use it as my own at a later date; Iíd be plagued by plagiarism so to speak.

    If rubbing your work out helps you to accomplish your own perfection then so be it, but at some time you will have to let people in to see where youíre at and take note (which you havenít done). Hold on a minute you have done it. You crafty see through stomach shrinking panty maker.

    It has been your own decision to destroy it, so in retrospect itís a futile question, and even more futile of me to go through a great many lengths to give you reason for you being you.

    I have a ferret that I feed bread to keep it hungry for blood. I keep it hungry for blood because its blood itís hungry for. When I donít give it bread it starves, and then when I feed again itís hungry for bread. I have in fact turned it in to the first veggie ferret. The point is there is no point, because when I go hunting for rabbits it eats my pack lunch, and then I am lost in the wilderness with low insulin levels and have to eat ferret to survive. Itís a good job my wife was with me .

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