Lacking a cheerio

Discussion in 'General Writing Discussion' started by fate_catcher, Aug 29, 2011.

  1.  
    fate_catcher

    fate_catcher Mistress of Tarot

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    Hi all.

    I have been writing for many years, but unless I have someone around me pestering to read my stuff, I lose heart in my project. I always feel that if no one is asking to see it again, what I showed them must not have been good enough. If I'm not writing for an audience, what's the point?

    Does anyone else get this feeling?

    I completed a novel four years ago, and since then everything new I have written has just died on the page. How can I inspire myself without a cheerleader?
  2.  
    chopper

    chopper still alive

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    ey up there. you could try a writers group: best known way of a) growing a thick skin, and 2) keeping yourself inspired and motivated by being around like-minded people.
  3.  
    Jake Reynolds

    Jake Reynolds Wordslinger

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    Hey Fate Catcher, this is something that afflicts everyone. Lack of motivation is worse than writer's block, worse than trying to encourage boring characters to transcend, worse than realising that your major plot point is in fact majorly flawed.

    As Chopper said, writing groups are great, but if you've no access to such groups we'd be happy to have a look at anything you might like to put up in critiques (once you meet the pre-requisite, of course!)

    But you should also remember that a large part of why we do what we do is because we're writing for ourselves. Sure, audiences are great in a marketing sense, but that's what agents and publishers are for. Write for yourself and what you love, and let the rest follow. If you try and cater to a specific demographic or a specific audience then the love for what you're writing may not come through on the page.

    Now, I'm not speaking of the broad genres, of course your story will fall into one of those (for example, no chainsaws in the kid's books), and there are audience elements that must be considered in that respect. I'm just saying that an audience shouldn't validate what you do, nor should a lack of one mean that all your work is pointless.

    You are your most important audience, and it should be the hardest one to please.
  4.  
    J Riff

    J Riff The Ants are my friends..

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    don't be discouraged, it gets worse. ) Once you are published, you would think people would be all interested... but they usually aren't. Tell them you are a writer, published here and there, SS or whatever, and a a nice smile is all you will usually get. Until your name is household, it's pretty much unknown. Who can explain such behaviour? Dunno. Write a story about anonymity and see if anyone will read it. ....* )
  5.  
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    Just because no one is clamouring to read your work doesn't mean it's no good, simply that those who have read pieces might not appreciate it, which is a different matter altogether. I think it's somewhat unrealistic to expect friends and family to be as eager to read what you've written as you are for them to read it. More to the point, even if they are keen to shower you with praise, that actually doesn't mean your work is any good either, so you can't use their enthusiasm as any kind of yardstick.

    Get yourself into a writing group as chopper suggests and take things from there. In addition, hang around here, contribute to discussions and workshops and our Writing Challenges, and above all start reading work in our Critiques section to get an idea of standards. Once you've settled in and become established, put a piece of your own in Critiques and listen to the feedback you receive.

    I don't think you should either want or expect a cheerleader. You're a writer because you need to write, because your stories are bursting out of you. Get them written whether or not anyone else ever sees them, and make them the best you can because, as Dubrech says, you should be your sternest critic.
  6.  
    fate_catcher

    fate_catcher Mistress of Tarot

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    Thank you so much guys for your comments. I definitely do need to get into a writing group, and the one here should be perfect. :)
  7.  
    Glen

    Glen Who are you people?

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    My view is that it is perfectly fine to either want or expect a cheerleader. This thread put me in mind of the different types of networks you can establish, say in a work environment. If you break down your 'network' of relationships you will often find that the people in the network are there for different reasons. Three common reasons are information (these contacts provide you the facts you need ), influence (these contacts help you to effect change), and support. Your support network can provide you with objectivity, help you keep things in perspective, and even provide you with emotional support when the going gets tough.

    This also reminded my of some of the ratings for helping people understand how they prefer to operate, e.g. Myers-Briggs. It turns out that not everyone operates the same way. Some people like to work alone, are introspective, work things out for themselves. Some other folk like to work things out with the help of others, by having conversations, and sharing ideas.

    I don't think writers need to sit alone in their rooms, typing away because there is a piece of work in them that needs to be put on paper. If you feel it would help to get some support to cheer you on, go try and get it.

    btw - who's this Dubrech fellow/lass?
  8.  
    The Judge

    The Judge Truth. Order. Moderation. Staff Member

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    Perhaps a semantic issue, Glen. I certainly do think one should have support, for encouragement as much as giving help in overcoming problems and sharing the joys of writing. But that's not how I interpreted the word "cheerleader" as used in fate's opening post. I read it -- possibly wrongly, of course -- that she was looking for validation of her work, that she couldn't see the point of writing if no one was there hanging on her every syllable.
  9.  
    fleamailman

    fleamailman Science fiction fantasy

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    ("...stop writing then, just see if you can stop I mean..." replied the goblin who for one couldn't stop even if everyone paid him not to another word now, adding "...look, only the vain and cheap write for fame and fortune anyway, for isn't it enough to follow the adventure in one's head with one's pen, rather than all that compromising to the trappings of social-life and for the trinkets of the moneygod...", but perhaps that was why the goblin remained anonymous, simply he had nothing to prove nor defend here where his writing became a journey to self instead, saying "...so why do I keep feeling that fame and fortune are just medusa's tricks to set those compromised author's under dated stone, so stop writing awhile, something rather like holding your breath then, me, I write everyday, and could probably go three or four days without writing now, after which, you don't want to know...")
  10.  
    fate_catcher

    fate_catcher Mistress of Tarot

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    The other posts here have resigned me to the fact that there just is no damn cheerleader, whether required or not.

    I love writing to a reader, hearing their guesses, taking suggestions, but the truth is everyone I know has too much going on to spend hours going over my writing.

    I suppose the thing that bothers me is the idea of writing for no one. I don't enjoy writing just for myself. I want to entertain people, and waiting for something to be published seems to far away. In fact, I can almost guarantee it is not going to happen.

    Since I cannot in fact give it up, and words just come out anyway, I'll just have to find a way to get over it, and write into the void.
  11.  
    Flugel Meister

    Flugel Meister Universe Builder

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    Writing for the pure enjoyment of others is perfectly normal. We writers often stereotype ourselves into submission by following the perception of what a writer does – that they lock themselves away and don’t come out until they’ve finished. And it’s simply not true, though that may apply to a full time author.

    I find it difficult to write in complete silence and isolation and with nothing going on. So I’ll spend a lot of time writing in a café or a coffee shop, but in one that sells food as well. I get myself comfortable, in a spot where the sun isn’t going to blind me half way through the day, put on iTunes and play some specifically chosen music that I feel matches or compliments the current pace of the novel. And I’ll just sit there all day writing with my headphones on with the music on low. All while the staff and customers in the café go about their business. I like a bit of background noise but not distraction.

    You may need to change the way that you write or plan a novel. You may even need to change where you write. But do what makes you more comfortable and gives you the incentive to write.

    Imagine sitting on a plane or train and the person in front opens your book and doesn’t put it down until the journey is finished. And even then they find it hard to do anything else. That’s what I want to see. I want to see a happy, content reader. If you don’t write, that scenario will never happen.

    I have a mountain of reasons why I write. The aforementioned scenario is just one of them.
  12.  
    fate_catcher

    fate_catcher Mistress of Tarot

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    I love this idea!
  13.  
    Flugel Meister

    Flugel Meister Universe Builder

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    Hope it helps.

    Use whatever there is to motivate yourself into writing. Another example could be:

    Imagine going to Comicon in San Diego as a guest speaker to tell your fans about the next instalment in the series. You break the good news, they cheer, everyone's happy.
  14.  
    Boneman

    Boneman Active Member

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    The best Cheerios are found here on the chrons...:)
  15.  
    fleamailman

    fleamailman Science fiction fantasy

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    ("...well, if you'll forgive your audience being other posters here, and if you can find it in yourself to write for them too, then I can promise you a new attentive audience by them then..." went the goblin once more, adding "...no, the trouble with most writertypes is that they are generally clinging to that set publishing book writing method of theirs where increasingly their readers are on-line here instead, simply meaning that their reading pool in drying up and that I get shot for reminding them that it is just so...", yes, it seemed so odd that in spite of seeing all these newly turned up readers on forumland here that none of the writers had taken any interest in writing in their posts, simply their posts were about writing, yes, but those writings were published elsewhere of course, so the goblin just laughed, saying "...no doubt, this is not what you want, nor what you want to hear if you are only interested in making money out of writing, but if you are more of a more generous nature, then I can promise you a wonderful adventure though writing directly for others here on forumland itself, and why do I know this, care to find out for yourself like I did...)
  16.  
    Peter Graham

    Peter Graham New Member

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    ("...this is fair enough as far as it goes, but unfortunately it doesn't go far enough..." went the will-o-wyke, before adding thoughtfully ..."the problem is that the increasingly reviled standard publishing deal remains the single best way for a reader to ensure that there is a decent measure of quality control in the book they may be about to buy. The standard deal does not live in the literary equivalent of the Dark Ages and there is no reason to think that professional agents and publishers are not fully aware of...and perfectly able to exploit...the opportunities presented by the online or digital market. These people are not latter day Luddites...." the will-o-wyke puffed on his meerschaum for a second or two before adding..."there is much to be said for the self publishing route and some writers such as our very own Mark Robson have shown how it can be done. But alas, Mark is the exception rather than the rule. Most aspiring writers do not have the marketing flair, the sales abilities or, quite frankly, a work of sufficient quality to make sales off their own bat which will do much more than pay for a nice cup of tea and perhaps a Chelsea bun...)
  17.  
    fate_catcher

    fate_catcher Mistress of Tarot

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    You don't get me at all.
  18.  
    fleamailman

    fleamailman Science fiction fantasy

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    (and with that the goblin thanked the will-o-wyke, admiring his newfound superb writing style, guessing too that an on-line presence was very important to one's marketing then, moreover, that what with more and more readers coming onto forumland in search of something to read here, that there was hardly any better place than forumland to promote one's works and introduce oneself too, "...posts that get the reader interested in your books and books that get the reader interested in your posts..." exclaimed the goblin, not that goblin himself had any books to promote now, saying "...no, I do a post and it gets a hundred hits, I duplicate it over many forums, and I get thousands of hits then, where my readership in its total probably excells most minor authors for all their marketing, not that that mattters to me because I remain anonymous throughout, just that the reward of doing a good post is that someone might do a good reply, we live in hope then...")
  19.  
    AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Active Member

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    I do love getting feedback, but for me writing is fun it is about spending time with characters.

    Maybe work on knowing your characters and creating some you would miss if you didn't write about them ?
  20.  
    fleamailman

    fleamailman Science fiction fantasy

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    ("...well then, come clean to yourself saying "get behind me satan" to their fame and fortune, just write directly on this forumland here, me, I'm anonymous, meaning that my first post will be the same as my last, but while I'm here I have all the anonymous recognition that any goblin could possibly crave for..." lying because the goblin could never quite get enough anonymous recognition now, no his goal of being that known unknown ate him up from within at times, continuing "...so you want a cheerleader, easy, think of it as forum/venue thread/stage and you/act and take it away from there then, slowly build a name for yourself on forumland, might as well write for the growing readership here, but you'll have to think out though, as it's not the same game, it's livewriting, you write amongst your readers now...")
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011

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