Thought provoking meme


Getting worse one day at a time
Mar 22, 2012
Mercia, UK
Spotted a meme doing the rounds on Facebook.

It says...

'Give someone a book, they'll read for a day.

Teach someone to write a book... and they'll spend a lifetime mired in paralysing self doubt.'

Now considering my current state of mind with the latter where I'm considering giving up, my question is does this ever go or lessen?
where I'm considering giving up, my question is does this ever go or lessen?

Don't worry about the journey, there're always bumps in the road, wind falls, sinkholes and headwinds, not to mention pianos and anvils falling from the sky.

I sympathise, it's hard to carry on sometimes, but surely that applies to just one story, not all of them? You're allowed to struggle, and to feel *****y but I'd guess you'd feel a lot *****ier if you gave up.

And... I went through this with my WIP about a year ago but having sorted that problem out (which took a long time) it makes me more bloody-minded when those awful things come up again, and make me force through them.

Would that work for you?

Now considering my current state of mind with the latter where I'm considering giving up, my question is does this ever go or lessen?

Yes when you get tried of feeling that way and decide to ignore it. Try this: make a list of your accomplishments and keep it next to your workspace. Then whenever you feel this way, take a few minutes to remind yourself that you can achieve your goals.

Other things to keep in mind:
  • Strive for excellence, not perfection.
  • Strive for distinctness, not uniqueness.
Both perfection and uniqueness are far too rare to be achievable goals.
Use that feeling as fuel. Show your second-guessing self how you roll. And no, I don't think that feeling ever goes away.

Now, I don't know your circumstances, or if you mean quitting on a project or quitting in your endeavour to be a writer. But I'll say this: if you feel like quitting, just quit. In this case, quitting is not a lifetime commitment. You can always change your mind and go back to your project/writing, at any time. It's not like after making the decision a masked psycho will show up in front of your PC awaiting intrepid dreamers with an axe. See how quitting feels like, and then see how much you miss writing/your project. Sometimes letting yourself dive into extreme states of mind like "This is it for me/This is as far as I go" can clear up your head and help you see the world with a different perspective, uncluttered by expectations (because in that state of mind you'll have none!). And just between you and me, if you mean to quit writing in general, I don't think you'll ever go through with it. Being a writer--nay--a creator, is not a choice. It is not what you do, it is what you are. I know it sounds gooey and lame, but I strongly believe that that's how it is.:cool:
Cheers folks. I get a touch morose when I read others work and compare. I know it shouldn't be done as everyone is different but sometimes it can't be helped.
Cheers folks. I get a touch morose when I read others work and compare. I know it shouldn't be done as everyone is different but sometimes it can't be helped.
I'm working at what must be book 8 (there's a few trunked) and have a day convinced all things are sh*te with it. I know it will past and really all you can do is write through it :)
Homer Simpson says "If it's hard to do it's not worth bothering with"
Bearing this in mind I had a massive permanent delete a few weeks ago. Loads of half finished short stories, three almost completed novels (that I hadn't looked at in months and months) and my massive space opera that I've built up for years - last word count over a quarter million. Plus folder after folder of useful info that I had squirreled.
It all went into cyberspace and I felt total relief 'cos it had stopped being fun.
Now I'm starting to get twitchy to try again but from a new approach, this happens when I'm sitting reading and I shake my head at the content and say "Huh! I could write that better myself"
Some writer guy once said that if you can quite writing, you should. You'll be a lot happier, and think of the time you've saved that you can spend on something else. My feeling is, most of us here couldn't stop if we tried. There would always be that voice urging us to write the story, dang nab it. I know I can't give up, and I've stopped for years because I couldn't focus on my writing. I raised three kids on my own, worked way too hard (and my body is paying me back now, you bet), had too much other crap going on. And yet, I always have the stories, always go back to writing them down.

I think some level of self-doubt is normal. Some times we see people who are forging ahead while we seem stuck, or even moving backwards. I can't promise you'll ever write "as good" as anyone else -- you'll likely write far better than most people -- or that you'll sell your book to a publisher, or even sell it yourself through self-publishing. But I will guarantee you will never succeed if you quit.
I thought I was free of paralysing self-doubt as a writer until my latest redraft at which point I found I wasn't.

The paralysing is the key part. Everyone has crap days with it but as long as you keep moving it sloughs off. When you can no longer move on it becomes a massive issue.

But, for me, gaining more experience and positive feedback has allowed me to move on from the paralysis most of the time. Don't look at what others are doing; look at what others, and more importantly yourself, are saying your work. Set yourself achievable goals and build your justifiable confidence off of doing them - finishing chapters, finishing books, sharpening up skills, doing challenges - and so on.

So yes, it can go. It can lessen. What you are experiencing now doesn't have to be your writing experience and I do not think it will be your experience if you continue.
I like what @tinkerdan said about using it to become excellent, but that's not an easy thing, really. I deal with this every time I sit down to write. Every time I start a chapter, every sentence and every scene, and every time I finish something. It is always there. It just comes with the territory. There is always that feeling of self-doubt sneaking its talons into your mind.

Hell, when I share a story and people like it, I wonder, "but did they actually like it, though?"

I've learned to deal with it by accepting that what I write may not be the best thing since sliced bread. That's okay with me. I use it to express emotions and ideas that I wouldn't otherwise do in another way. I tend to keep things to myself, of course. It is always difficult to think about someone reading what I've written. Then the thought that they will have opinions on it, compare it to others, etc.

Hello, self-doubt. Welcome. The usual?

@The Big Peat is right, too. It can lessen as you press on, but it never really goes away. Like he said, having it countered with a little confidence or accomplishment will help push it back a little. Enough to get some damn breathing room.

I still want to be a success, and I would love to quit my job and be able to churn out books the rest of my life. Will I ever get there? I don't know, but I've learned to accept where I am now so that I can continue to work on my craft to hopefully get better.

Peace and acceptance. Those are the two things that have helped me tolerate the whispers in my ear. I hope you can find both as well.
I spend my days as an international VAT/Import accountant for a Japanese multinational.

I'm not sure how, why, or what I did wrong in a previous life.

But writing doesn't come anywhere to the level of paralyzing self doubt of my day job.

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