Seeking Help

A quiet corner reserved for the telling of many and varied tales, and discussion of the literary arts.
Post Reply
Author
Message
Lady Moreta
User avatar
Offline
August Tavernmistress
Posts: 744
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:17 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Seeking Help

Post by Lady Moreta »

Okay, so this post was originally going to be titled 'crappy writer seeking help' or something along those lines, but then it occurred to me that if I wrote that I'd probably get in trouble... so I didn't.

So, a while ago now (not sure how many months, but at least six) I decided to post Scout's Honour on my other forum to get some different views on it. The response was overwhelmingly negative. Some of it was helpful (some of it was stuff I was already aware of), but a lot of it boiled down to nothing more than 'you're a bad writer and this is crap'. I got four or five responses (before I deleted all my stuff) and out of those, only one person said anything good about it (and that was in the midst of a whole pile of criticism as well).

It sounds melodramatic, but I don't really know how else to explain it other than, it broke something inside me. I deleted my posts from the thread on the other forum, and, since I'm an admin here and have all the power, I just outright deleted everything from here. I decided that I wasn't ever going to write again.

After various conversations with Perey and a few significant church sermons, I decided that I want to write again. Or at least, I want to want to write again. I just... don't know what to do about it. Every time I pick up paper and pencil, I panic. I've had panic attacks before, I know what they feel like, and that's exactly how I feel when I go to write something. But I keep having ideas (right now, I desperately want to novelise a computer game Perey likes to play); but yeah, I have no idea where to go from here.

I don't expect coddling and no criticism ever that's not helpful, and the suggestions I got here were really helpful. But when you post and the very first response is someone who tells you what you've written is crap and you're a bad writer, it's.. I don't know, 'broken' really is the best way to describe it. It feels like something is broken inside me and I don't know how to fix it.
Ummmm....

Image
Seeress made me do it...
Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Lensman
User avatar
Offline
Posts: 466
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:11 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire, England

Re: Seeking Help

Post by Lensman »

I was surprised and dismayed when you posted that you weren't going to write any more. I didn't understand it then, but now I can understand why it happened. My response is to say that the people criticising you didn't know what they were talking about. I think you are a good writer.

I've been reading for over forty years. I have read some great material. I have also read very poor books, even some published by major publishers. I have also read some dreadful material by independent authors.

The sections you posted were good. They flowed well, they were not repeating phrases or using the same words or structures over and over. You have a good vocabulary. Your punctuation is good and you can spell (frighteningly rare in independent books, I would add). You were writing sequences that were gripping and which read well. I've just re-read a section of Scout's Honour - fortunately, I'd saved it onto my hard disc because I liked it. It reads well.

I don't know why the other forum criticized you. I do not think you are a crappy writer, and I think you ought to write some more.

I'm off to work shortly so I'll say some more this evening.

Lensman
User avatar
Offline
Posts: 466
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:11 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire, England

Re: Seeking Help

Post by Lensman »

I'm just going to attach a link here - this is something a friend of mine shared.

http://booktrope.com/2015/10/14/the-wor ... vice-ever/

I'm not convinced by all the points the article makes - but I very strongly agree with the penultimate point, which is why I am poking it at you. For "writers' circles" read "writer forums". Don't let them knock you down.

Lensman
User avatar
Offline
Posts: 466
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:11 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire, England

Re: Seeking Help

Post by Lensman »

You know something? I talk too much. This has ended up being a long post. No apologies (and a few pictures to break it up). I just hope it's helpful.

Part of being creative is having self-doubt. I don't know if this is formally proven anywhere, but I have no doubt about it. I see it in myself – I regularly read my own stuff and think “this is crap”, even though other people tell me it reads well. Janet is no different – she'll render a picture in Poser and immediately spot faults in it that are entirely invisible to anyone else. I have seen similar comments from other writers and artists doubting their own work.
this is very real even for people like me who are not a disney princess
[attachment=2]10173601_10203815296247968_5569824464319467542_n.jpg[/attachment]
There are a large number of creative people who suffer from depression in some form. It does not mean you are poor at what you do – it means you are creative.

There are people who don't have a creative flair. I knew a friend once who couldn't understand how I could write rolegaming scenarios – he only ever ran commercially produced modules. Me, I can't run a commercial module straight – I always change it. Even scenarios I write myself often end up changing when I'm running them.

There is allegedly a fine line between creativity and madness. I don't know about this, because I crossed that line years ago and I've never come back. The downside is that it means we are naturally fragile. It is very easy to get your confidence knocked and to start doubting you can do anything. There is a very good reason why writers and artists talk about having personal demons (and no, I'm not referring to Impcatcher despite the temptation to do so!). We all have them. Self-doubt, belief in others' criticism, self-doubt, ability to spot the tiniest flaw that no one else would notice, self-doubt – need I go on?
more literal than most
[attachment=1]11064591_10152778841138581_2349732416567342932_n.jpg[/attachment]
So why write?

My answer is because if I don't, my head will explode. Metaphorically, I hasten to add. Because I am always writing stories. Always. All the time. Not always (not often!) coherent stories. Imaginary arguments with other people. The occasional positive daydream (“next month I'm going to be selling a thousand books a week”). Weird impossible futures (“an alien spacecraft crashes in the field I'm driving past”). Mental plans for what I'm going to do tomorrow – I've got what may be a difficult meeting and I've run dozens of possible things I may say through my head today. I can't stop writing. Everything comes down to stories. Sometimes they're “real” stories – Impcatcher, my rolegaming world, Poser image sequences – and sometimes just things that rattle around in my head. But I can't not write.

Putting some of this onto the computer or onto a blank page helps. I can turn random, weird daydreams or flights of fancy into something coherent... something more than just an idle fantasy. These are productive, busy fantasies, hard at work and growing every moment I write.

Even if you don't write for anyone else – write for yourself. Write to get the stories out of your head before too many build up in one place and your head detonates. Because exploding heads make an appalling mess – both literal ones and also metaphorical ones. <And for the record, I think your writing was good - so I hope you will share what you write with the rest of us>.

And if people tell you that what you're writing is crap, ask yourself – are you sure it isn't just that they're envious of what you can do?
Cant go wrong quoting Neil Gaiman
[attachment=0]11182249_392047240983065_8108723831834719761_n.jpg[/attachment]
Attachments
11182249_392047240983065_8108723831834719761_n.jpg
11182249_392047240983065_8108723831834719761_n.jpg (78.74 KiB) Viewed 1154 times
11064591_10152778841138581_2349732416567342932_n.jpg
11064591_10152778841138581_2349732416567342932_n.jpg (32.41 KiB) Viewed 1154 times
10173601_10203815296247968_5569824464319467542_n.jpg
10173601_10203815296247968_5569824464319467542_n.jpg (90.49 KiB) Viewed 1154 times

Lady Moreta
User avatar
Offline
August Tavernmistress
Posts: 744
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:17 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Seeking Help

Post by Lady Moreta »

Lensman wrote:You know something? I talk too much. This has ended up being a long post. No apologies (and a few pictures to break it up). I just hope it's helpful.
Not that you were going to anyway, but no apologies necessary. This was incredibly helpful. And I LOVE that Tangled image.. that is pretty much exactly how I feel every time I write. I love it so much, I'm tempted to turn it into my desktop background (and make the Neil Gaimon quote my avatar).

Given that my first impulse after reading your first response was 'oh, it's all just wrong and not worth it, I'll just delete the thread', I'm... okay, I'm not sure where that sentence was going (yup, I'm a great writer :roll:). I liked the blog post though, it was really helpful. I think I agreed with everything they said, except possibly the 'no outline' bit... I tend to get a bit lost and bogged down without some sort of outline. I think that one is probably very individual.
Lensman wrote:My answer is because if I don't, my head will explode. Metaphorically, I hasten to add. Because I am always writing stories. Always. All the time. Not always (not often!) coherent stories. Imaginary arguments with other people. The occasional positive daydream (“next month I'm going to be selling a thousand books a week”). Weird impossible futures (“an alien spacecraft crashes in the field I'm driving past”). Mental plans for what I'm going to do tomorrow – I've got what may be a difficult meeting and I've run dozens of possible things I may say through my head today. I can't stop writing. Everything comes down to stories. Sometimes they're “real” stories – Impcatcher, my rolegaming world, Poser image sequences – and sometimes just things that rattle around in my head. But I can't not write.
This is... exactly me. How did you know?! Except for the imaginary arguments with other people, which I am trying to stop doing for other reasons, this is exactly the way I operate. My brain just won't shut up.

I don't know if I'm at a point yet where I'd be able to write (certainly not able to with the stinker one of the cats just let off! yikes!), but I think I'm at least a step closer. Realising that all the daydreaming, random thoughts, imaginings, mental plans, imaginary conversations is just me writing is actually a huge help/step in the right direction. Thank you.
Ummmm....

Image
Seeress made me do it...
Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

steveh49
User avatar
Offline
Posts: 140
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 12:10 pm

Re: Seeking Help

Post by steveh49 »

Perhaps negativity was just the general attitude of that other forum, or the members there who replied to your post. There's no easier way to be an expert than to criticise other people, and no shortage of people who adopt that strategy on internet forums.

I wanted more of Scout's Honour and I think I said so in my first post at this forum's new site. That story should be told in a style that's polished without being pretentious and you did this. It also wasn't jarring at all - that probably sounds negative and a low bar to set, but I've just read War of the Worlds and what I'll remember most is the overuse of the word 'tumult'. This from a well-known author who is still published over 100 years later.

As for getting over the hump and putting pen to paper again, I'm not sure because everyone's different. If you're not already a fitness freak, you might try going for a run to clear your mind and then writing as soon as you get home. People tend to be more positive and determined after exercise. Mens sana in corpore sano.

Lady Moreta
User avatar
Offline
August Tavernmistress
Posts: 744
Joined: Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:17 pm
Location: Perth, Western Australia

Re: Seeking Help

Post by Lady Moreta »

steveh49 wrote:People tend to be more positive and determined after exercise. Mens sana in corpore sano.
Exercise? what is wrong with you?! :P Also, I'm lazy... translation please?

Guess what? I wrote something yesterday! Two whole pages!

I have long been wanting to write a devotional for my little sister based on an album I have that I really love. I've already written two (one for each song) but got stuck on the rest... yesterday, I was thinking about something else entirely and a first sentence for one of the songs just popped into my head. I kept going over it and repeating it to myself again and again (so I wouldn't forget) and once I was in a place where I could write, I did!

It felt... good.
Ummmm....

Image
Seeress made me do it...
Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image Image

Lensman
User avatar
Offline
Posts: 466
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2015 8:11 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire, England

Re: Seeking Help

Post by Lensman »

Lady Moreta wrote:
steveh49 wrote:People tend to be more positive and determined after exercise. Mens sana in corpore sano.
Exercise? what is wrong with you?! :P Also, I'm lazy... translation please?
"A healthy mind in a healthy body." Me, I work on the theory that when I feel like exercise I lie down until I feel more like myself again.
Guess what? I wrote something yesterday! Two whole pages!

I have long been wanting to write a devotional for my little sister based on an album I have that I really love. I've already written two (one for each song) but got stuck on the rest... yesterday, I was thinking about something else entirely and a first sentence for one of the songs just popped into my head. I kept going over it and repeating it to myself again and again (so I wouldn't forget) and once I was in a place where I could write, I did!

It felt... good.
Well done! That's really good news - ease yourself back into it gently and enjoy it. Don't let it become a burden around your neck - just write when you feel like it, for the pleasure of doing it.

Post Reply