Thursday, October 24, 2013

Reality check

Every now and then one needs a reality check. I recently had one myself, with regards to my writing and I am feeling a little deflated. I had somehow fooled myself into thinking that my writing was better than it was. I am just so mad at myself though. How could I not have known?

The upside is that I could always learn more writing techniques and read more “How to” books on writing. The downside is that I might just be an awful writer and no matter how many books I read about technique and about writing, I could just be a wanne-be that might never be.

I am looking into buying a few good “how to” books on writing and start working on a short story or two. I find it a lot more difficult to write a short story. You really have to plan and think things through and have a great idea with a short story or flash fiction. I definitely have to practice with the short story and flash fiction writing. It is tough!

I have not found a new job yet and I actually started thinking about freelancing again. I had tried it before and it had not gone well, but I am willing to try it again. Why? Simply because I refuse to believe that unemployment is my fate at the moment. I was thinking of trying oDesk this time. Anyone use oDesk before? 

26 comments :

  1. To be honest I think you're realisation is pretty normal state of mind for writers, even the great ones. I think it comes down to focusing more on the story than the writing. It's easy to distract oneself by thinking more time spent honing your skills will make for a better reading experience but it's supplemental rather than essential. I'm a fine one to talk since my blog is all about the craft, but an idea that interests and entertains you first is the place to start any story.

    Having said that, Donald Maass' books are pretty good for getting the wheels turning.

    mood
    Moody Writing

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  2. Mooderino - Thank you for the kind words of encouragement and the book recommendations. I have heard of Donald Maass' books, but weren't sure about reading them. I will definitely get them now.

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  3. It's a cliche, maybe, but I really believe that the only way to fail as a writer is when you fail to write. Wasn't it Ray Bradbury who said he started as a pretty bad writer, but just kept writing, and eventually quantity turned into quality. "How to" books are fine, but there is no substitute for sitting down and doing it. You just have to be honest – brutally honest – with yourself, about what's working and what's not and what you can do to get better. The only people who *can't* learn are the people who already think they know it all. So in that regard, you're already ahead of the game.
    Someone else whose name escapes me said it best. There is no writing problem that can't be solved by more writing.

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  4. We all have things to learn, Murees, and we keep expanding our knowledge in writing. But I think it's true that you must practice writing, along with studying it. Just as you would with any other profession. You'll be amazed at what you can do.

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  5. We all have things to learn, Murees, and we keep expanding our knowledge in writing. But I think it's true that you must practice writing, along with studying it. Just as you would with any other profession. You'll be amazed at what you can do.

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  6. The difference between wannabe's and really are's is that the latter group keeps going even if they know they suck at first.

    Improvement comes with lots and lots of practice.

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  7. John - Thank you for the encouraging words. I like what you said about the best way to learn is to write. That is more my type of approach too.

    Deanie - Thank you. I will definitely work harder at improving my writing.

    Misha - Thank you for the powerful words. I am definitely not the kind of person to give up, but I definitely need more practice.

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  8. Murees, I nominated you for an award. Please stop by www.dhdunne.blogspot.com to find out more.

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  9. I agree with Mood. All writers face this at some point and it's good to put things back into perspective. But we're often much too hard on ourselves. Just focus on the story, keep writing, it will only get better with time. (:

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  10. I've so been here.

    I'm still kind of here all the time. But here's the thing- I think it's bull(@#$*%(. You are not a bad writer. You're having a day- that's okay. Give yourself a milkshake, sulk for a few hours, then shake it off and start writing.

    Just write. Who cares about writing books? Just write.

    Seriously.

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  11. Deanie - Thank you. I am on my way over now.

    Elise - Thank you. Your words are really kind.

    Katie - Thank you! You are always so kind and inspiring.

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  12. Hi Murees .. sometimes the 'learning' or trying to ... gets in the way of actually writing and putting your work out there.

    Also if you freelance - you'll gain loads of experiences .. and your short stories could be based around the different jobs ...

    Good luck - just don't ever stop - cheers Hilary

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  13. Like Moody said, this is a pretty normal, healthy occurrence for writers. I think it's far more dangerous and sad when a writer thinks they're perfect and have no need to improve.

    Me, I'm always working on bettering my craft. It never ends!

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  14. I admire anyone who writes.

    I would probably write one paragraph for a book and be done. :)

    Best of luck..you can do it.

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  15. Hilary - Thank you for the kind and motivating words. I appreciate them.

    Lydia - Thank you. I definitely don't mind learning. I don't think anyone can ever learn or know enough.

    Elizabeth - Thank you. You are definitely the right woman to go to when I want to know what books I should read next. Your knowledge of books are awesome and you are a super fast reader.

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  16. I haven't even heard of oDesk.
    Writing lots and reading lots is the best way to get out of any funk you might find yourself in. It's super common (and normal) for a writer to feel the way you do at the moment too.
    Hugs.

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  17. I always struggle with this feeling as well. I agree with the others who suggest lots of practice, that is what I am trying to do to get myself out of a writing funk. Good luck and hope you are feeling better soon.

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  18. Oh Murees, I wish I'd seen this when you wrote it - I've been writing so hard I've not been reading very many at all.

    Sometimes, when we work on one thing for a long time, we lose sight of how good it is/isn't. Perhaps you could take a completely new idea and write a few paragraphs/chapters/novel.

    I was lucky. When I began writing there were a lot of literary magazines that I submitted to, and a lot that rejected me - sometimes I would submit so many stories that I'd have one rejection a day coming through the post. You grow a thick skin, but you also know how to improve. I have so many stories that I couldn't imagine people disliking... and yet they did.

    I would read fiction in your genre and see how your favourite authors do it. (I also read advice once which suggested typing out the first chapter of a book you like - actually having the words flowing from your fingers help you to learn construction etc. Just don't try to publish it lol)

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  19. Are you in a writers' group? Being able to exchange your writing with other and trade feedback can be very valuable.

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  20. Lynda - Thank you! I like that you said that it is normal for writers to feel like this. It definitely cheers me up.

    Julie - Thank you. I like the idea of practising. I hope you get out of your writing funk soon.

    Annalisa - Thank you! You are always so nice and always give great advice. I know I need a much thicker skin or even fish scales. I am too sensitive.

    LD - Thank you. In my area and my community there aren't things like writers groups. I am not sure whether it is because not many people want to be writers. Plus, I am so afraid of joining one online. What if they hate my writing and rip me apart? I guess I am just too much of a coward.

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  21. I just happened upon your blog and read this post. I thought, "Wow!" You know how often a writer, any writer has this thought? And then I thought, I wonder why she thinks this. Has someone tore into one of your stories? You speak of flash fiction and short stories, is that what you write? Is it what you want to write? I feel into the 'I'll learn to write a short story, then move to novels' trap. They are two different species. Anyways, hang in there, I'm sure it's not as bad as you think it is. Kill the doubt, keep writing.

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  22. Cher - It is nice to meet you. I write novels and love writing them. I just felt that I had to go back to the basics and try and write flash fiction and short stories to better my craft. I have been told that my writing is not that good at the moment and it was hard to hear, but I know it had to be true. Thank you for the encouragement.

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  23. Murees - I'd say only go to the flash and shorts if that is a form you want to work with. On getting back to basics, work on that with your novels. Sounds like you have a few, pick one and polish it up. Just my opinion though, but it comes from experience of doing exactly what you are thinking of doing. I wish I'd stuck with the novels, although I do love the short story form now. :)

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  24. Cher - Thank you for your advice and I will definitely follow it. Writing flash fiction and short stories have been incredibly hard. Novel writing is more enjoyable and I now know that my techniques need a lot of fixing. Thank you for being so kind and helpful.

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  25. I haven't used ODesk. I think most of us have that nasty rude awakening that our writing isn't as good as we think it is. The good news is, there are plenty of resources to help us improve!

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  26. Sherry - Thank you for the kind words and you are so true, there are so many resources out there that could help me.

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