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1000 Views! And Self Esteem

May 13, 2012

Apparently, my blog hit 1000 views this week. Hurrah! Surprising, since I missed posting last week. But a nice surprise. It’s starting to feel like a real blog.

To celebrate, I’m going to cook up a nice, juicy post this week. Something that’s going to require research. It will be world-changing. This post is not that post.

Also, I have a very good excuse for not posting last week. I was playing Fable 3 and not writing or doing anything productive. Trust me, I needed it.

Right now, I’m in a major funk. Not in general. This was a pretty good weekend, despite the fact that this past week seemed to be a real winner in terms of bad news for loved ones.

I’m in a writing funk. A gross, self esteem destroying, dear-god-who-the-hell-do-I-think-I-am funk.

I made lots of fancy plans. I put up a whiteboard and bought Super Sticky Post-It notes for outlining my novel, Mettle, and have been working to clear a final living space for my computer desk, somewhere that I can actually be creative. I had a great chat with an author (Greg Stolze) about the writing process and life in general. I’ve created a folder on my computer that I call “Settings” where I’ve started a collection of beautiful landscape photographs that I find inspiring, as a writing resource. I’ve downloaded mp3 collections and put together playlists themed to certain writing projects. I had my “short story party” night on Friday.

And Friday was really what did it. Our theme this week was “fantasy.” We blasted some wonderful, whimsical music, made “magic wands” out of star-shaped watermelon pieces and bamboo skewers, made a lovely summer tea such that faeries might drink (we used raspberry hibiscus because we couldn’t find regular). And my friend worked on outlining two different short stories, both vaguely in theme, and I tried to start the fantasy short story I’d had kicking around in my head for a few weeks.

Note the word “tried” in that sentence.

As I’ve already mentioned, I don’t know how to write short stories, but I’m trying. It’s a real challenge for me, but everything takes practice. I get that.

But the stuff I was churning out on Friday evening was nothing better than crap.

Usually, with a first draft, I start with something that will definitely need editing, but I can live with it. The five—yes, five—separate story openings were worse than almost anything I’d written as a twelve-year-old. It was like “Baby’s First Fantasy Story.” What the hell? Have I lost my touch?

The problem for me is that when I start something and hate the first few paragraphs, I can’t continue until I fix it. The opening doesn’t have to be world class, but I can’t hate it. This was my stumbling point for draft two of The Gray Regions.

But right now, my self esteem is dragging in the dirt, and the bloody corpse of my muse is chained to it.

I technically have another short story in the works that I’ve been writing on my Kindle Fire (which I really enjoy writing on! Surprise!), but I’m stuck on it. I’m trying to build a bridge between the opening of the short story and all of the actual plot and action. I’m worried that I started the tale too early in the story, but I actually like this opening, so I’m going to try to keep it relevant, but I’m not sure how yet.

I’m not going to even look at it again, though, until I can stop hating myself for the fantasy story.

I guess when you’re learning to ride a bike, you’re going to fall a few times before you start to pick up the skill, and intellectually I know that’s what’s going on here, but it’s still really disheartening. So far, I haven’t gotten any usable material out of these short story nights. I was hoping by now I’d have something to work with. Instead, I’ve just got two abandoned short story ideas that I’m worried I won’t ever go back to because I’m angry with them. Really, I’m angry with myself. But you get what I mean.

Does anyone else run into this sort of thing? Any suggestions on how to pull yourself out of it?

 

Anyways, enough angst. I’m sorry to whine at you all, but hey, I’m a writer. We’re good at that. At least I’m not posting depressing poetry.

On another note, I have something else to try. I’ve noticed that when I listen to certain audio books as I write, or I’ve been reading certain authors, my voice is stronger. I’m not imitating the author’s voice (at least, I hope I’m not), but it’s certainly influencing me. I’m going to see if I can actively use this, especially with my short stories, as they’re mostly practice.

 

Ah, well. We pick ourselves up after we fall, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again, blah blah blah, etc. I’m going to keep plugging away at this short story thing. I’m not giving up, by any means. I’m just ready to not feel miserable about my writing.

 

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11 Comments
  1. I wish I could give you advice or help you along that route….but it’s SO difficult. When you don’t like something and aren’t quite sure why, or something isn’t right but you don’t know how to make it right. Perhaps have someone else read it, and get their perspective on it. Find out why you don’t like, and go from there. My main story I’ve restarted…. at least 6 times now? Each time I change something different, I like it, and then I get stuck with something else. Sometimes asking helps, sometimes mulling on it helps, sometimes doing character builds and such helps. It seems like its always different though, doesn’t it?

    One thing I can tell you: you’re a great writer. Your descriptions are vivid, your characters are real and lively, and your plots are interesting. Don’t give up or get down on yourself just because you finally found something that you’re not fantastic at. That’s just giving you the chance to become a strong writer. And although it may seem bleak at the moment, I know you’ll get there.
    (Wow. I’m long winded.)

    • Thanks, I do appreciate that. I know all about restarting the same story multiple times, so I really shouldn’t let this get to me. I am challenging myself with something somewhat new, and I should’ve guessed I wouldn’t be good at it right away.

      I know that it’s probably a good idea to get other people to read my false starts and offer advice, but to be perfectly honest, I’d be embarrassed. When I hate my writing, I don’t want anyone else to see it. I just want to keep throwing myself at it until I whip up something that I feel could be improved with criticism, rather than needing to be scrapped and rewritten. I know, that’s not the smartest way to go about things, but this is where my ego steps in and makes things difficult.

      I’ll just keep messing with it. I do appreciate your comment, and I certainly appreciate your praise. I miss our online writing group thing.

      (And if you haven’t noticed, I’m long winded, too, so it’s no problem!)

      • I miss our online writing group thing too. It’s amazing how life can simply get in the way of what you really want to do, isn’t it?
        Good luck on your short stories. I know you’ll get it. 🙂

  2. I’ve had quite a few ideas that didn’t exactly take off. It sucks but it’s just part of the process. I’m a perfectionist too so I refuse to show anybody something I’m not very pleased with and I do tend to hammer away at it until I get it there. But I’ve also learned that there may be a reason that I can’t pull it together. Some stories just aren’t mine to tell. I can appreciate them but maybe I don’t have the life experience to bring to a certain character or maybe my heart just isn’t in it. Sometimes, I’m drawn to a theme in that particular story but the other elements just aren’t working so I’ll take that theme and put it in a different story … just a thought. Hope that helps 🙂

    • It is helpful! Usually when I find a story isn’t working for me, I first look for a different way to tell it. Sometimes, though, I guess it’s just not meant to be.

  3. I can’t tell you how many stories I’ve started and then just abandoned because I couldn’t see any way to fix it…I guess we just keep plugging on until we get it right…and we will!

    • That’s true! I have to keep telling myself to not give up. Eventually I’ll get there. Thanks for commenting!

  4. been there, mate! many a time!!!

    • I suspect many people have, but it does make me feel better to hear it. Thanks for commenting!

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