Friday, January 1, 2010

Feeling Discouraged

Hello. Perhaps this is not the way to start a new year, but I'm feeling really discouraged about writing.

Maybe this is not the right time for me. I keep finding that my stories don't have enough action. I'm great at dialogue, but books can't be 100% dialogue. (Unless you're Isaac Asimov, but I'm not him. And I'm exaggerating on that one..but not much.)

Anyway, I'll write something that I think is great, but then when I go back and read through it, not so much. I'll think of a way to fix it, but that opens up 100 more problems. Also, whenever I think of a "fix" I'm driving down the road, or fixing the girls lunch, or changing a diaper, etc. It's never at a time when I can even quickly jot down the epiphany I just had.

I'm taking care of the girls all day and working at night. There's just not much time. Maybe I should just wait until the girls are in school. But that holds its own pitfalls, because when the girls are in school full time I will probably go back to work full time, and I will run into the same difficulties I have right now...maybe my evenings will be more free, because I will work while the girls are in school, but when will the house get cleaned? When will the groceries be purchased? In the evenings of course.

Perhaps its just the end of winter break talking. The girls have been out of their classes for almost 2 weeks. Maybe when the big one goes back to preschool I'll start feeling the whole writing thing again.

I still love writing, I just hate the feeling I have when I read my work afterwards.


  1. hey hun,

    don't worry we all go through this, it's one of the worst bits about being a writer.

    I read an interview with Bernard Cornwell once who said he felt the same way. Then one day he typed out a section from one of his favourite books only with the names of his characters. When he read it back over a few weeks later, he ripped it to pieces, much the same as he did to his own work.

    The lesson? You're your own worst critic. This is okay, it's good that you don't believe anything you bang out on the computer is gold. Do you have a crit partner? or a beta reader you trust to give you an honest opinion? It might help to get over your hang ups.

    As for inspiration striking at awkward times - could you maybe get yourself a dictaphone? Or a mobile phone with a voice recorder built in? You can write them up later that way.

    I promise you, your work won't be as bad as you think it is. And it's okay to feel low about it. I threaten to give it up at least once a month :-)

    Anyway sorry for the super-long comment. Hang in there, hun. It'll all click into place xx

  2. I agree with Gemma, it is something all writers go through. We just have to ride the waves and know that the passion and fire for it will come. And the writing will get better with each MS we type out. For most of us, writing well is a learned thing. Most of us won't be awesome from the very first. Hang in there! Keep writing. If you write, it will come!

  3. Don't give up. You are a great writer and that is proven by the voice in your blog. I often feel that way when I finish something and go back to re-read. It's part of the process, I think, to feel like burning your stories when they don't read as exciting as it felt like it would be. :0) It's okay. It does happen to all of us. Do not delete anything. Keep it all. One day you will read it and love it, or you will read something and be struck with the perfect idea to make it better. You never know.

    As for time, you'll find it. As mommy to three kids and having a disabled husband, I can't explain where I find the time to write, blog etc.. but I do. Somehow. I think we worry about where the time will be before we really know what we're talking about. :0)

    Good Luck and See you tomorrow, eh?

  4. Penny,

    Your writing is AWESOME! And I'm not just saying that. It really is. I'm so jealous that I didn't think of something like Blink, and your new WIP is so cool.

    These feelings that you're having are perfectly normal. I question myself every day. I even panic a little before I post a chapter at YA Chicks because I'm so afraid it sucks to the millionth degree.

    Have you read "On Writing" by Stephen King? I remember that he felt his novel "Carrie" was awful and he actually threw it in the trash. His wife found it, read it, and encouraged him to submit it. And the rest is history.

    Hang in there girl! You've been doing a GREAT job:)

  5. I can't add much to what's said before, except this: can your husband share more of the domestic load? Can you and he work out a way for you to get an hour or two every day to write while he takes care of the kids'/family's needs, etc.? I found that working full-time and writing were largely incompatible for me, in partg because I'm lazy, but in part because I just didn't have the energy to write after a long day at work. But even an hour a day adds up.

    As for the action scenes, believe me, I suck at it too. But I found having a fairly detailed sketch of the scene to work from helped, as did just plodding through the action line by line. "OK, he's in the parking lot, now what? OK, he pulls out his gun and switches off the safety. Now what? Scopes out the entrance..." and so on.

    Good luck and keep at it.

  6. I dove into my first read of 2010: Donna Tartt's THE LITTLE FRIEND.

    Reading her, I feel a crummy writer, because she is so amazing.

    I'm kind of discouraged, too, because it's the first day of the new year and I've done the same ol procrastinating today, writing wise.

    It's just the same as 2009... grr.

    So, you aren't alone!

  7. Gemma, thank you so much, that is a really good idea. I will pick up a mini-recorder at my next opportunity!

    Sherrinda, thanks so much! One of my New Year's Resolutions (I only made two) is to at least open my WIP every day. If I open it, then chances are I will write at least a little bit. Even if the writing is terrible, I have to remember how much the process calms me and how happy it (usually) makes me.

    Kristi, thank you too! It sounds like you are even busier than I am! You are inspiring, I appreciate it!!

    Melissa, thank you so much. I feel like such a hack so much of the time, but I love your writing, so that means so much. Funny, my husband gave me On Writing for Christmas and I was so excited because I never mentioned it to him, he just somehow knew. I started reading it and literally couldn't put it down until my big girl came over and tried to comandeer it. I can't wait to read more.

    Travener, thanks my friend. I actually hit the triple cherry husband jackpot, he makes twice what I do, does a lot of the cooking, and nearly all the deep cleaning. I do the day to day dishes and laundry and stuff, but he's really involved, so unfortunately for me there's nothing to offload to him. Solution? Professional cleaners! Just need to get the money first. Solution? Sell a book! Hmmm...vicious circle, you think? :)

    Amber, totally! I swear, every book I pick up makes me think my stuff is crap. I remember reading on some agent's website something like this: "I'm looking for sweeping romantic love like Stephenie Meyer's Twilight books, or epic world building like Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series, or fantastical adventure like JK Rowling's Harry Potter series...etc." Okay, so you're looking for the next jauggernaut series. And I thought they *told* us not to claim we were the next X, Y, or Z. Huh? Sheesh...

    To everyone: Thank you So, SO much. I can weather so much more with support like this. I really appreciate all your kind words and thoughts. You're the best!

  8. Trust me, every writer has an area they aren't strong at. Whether it be descriptions, dialogue, action, pace, voice, or romance. For me, I get cold feet about descriptions. In my first draft I'l dabble in the scenes a little but ultimately rewrite the entire descriptions during draft two.

    I read once on an agent blog that your best writing comes out in the second draft so don't be discouraged! You've got tons of blogger buddies here if you need us!

    P.S. I've also got an award for you on my blog.