Your relationship with your writing

  1. Phyrebrat

    Phyrebrat ba-Ba-ba-brat

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    I have been reading some surprising posts lately on another writing site, and also recently here about how we view our own writing.

    This has me wondering how the writers of Chrons feel. I think I have a good idea of whose writing here I like and what our voices are, simply because of our challenge entries and posts.

    We are often witnesses to wrist-slapping in response to overt-modesty (I hesistate to use the word 'disingenous' because I feel we proabably are generally a cautious lot about our own writing skills), and I've had some really lovely PMs myself when I have been bemoaning a lack of votes in the challenges or a trouncing in Crits.

    It's very encouraging to hear someone on here compliment you, and make specific reference to your style and the things they like, and I don't know about you, but I always feel a great sense of surprise when it happens to me.

    That's got me thinking; how do you view your own skills? Your writing? Your voice? I know we've all written a passage and later read it and thought 'That's <insert offensive superlative term>.' but why is that the exception?

    @Mouse and I have discussions by email and regularly smash each other for being down about our skills; she has things I envy, and vice versa. I've said to @HareBrain how clean and clear his writing is. After I read the first few chapters of The Goddess Project's sequel I was struck by the transparency in his writing. When @Hex writes horror, I feel like a hopeless imposter, her storytelling is so accomplished, and I regularly consider not entering the challenges because of what @Culhwch , @TheDustyZebra , @The Judge or @mosaix will come up with.

    Is it easier to see ourselves as poor cousins? Is it just part of being human? What is your relationship with the polls, when they open? Do you check them desperately hoping for a mention or a vote even though you're so pessimistic?

    I'm really intrigued by this and find it strange that I've only just noticed it in past weeks.

    pH
     
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  2. Jo Zebedee

    Jo Zebedee writes books about people.

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    I'm up and down, of course, but think it is important to believe. I try to pay as much attention to good reviews than bad (because our inner critic wants to do the opposite).

    I think I know my strengths - dialogue, characters, torture :D - and my weaknesses - description, a tendency towards passive.

    But mostly I hang on to the knowledge someone will always be doing better than me on any one given day and try not to compare myself against them :)
     
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  3. Hoverdasher

    Hoverdasher Well-Known Member

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    For some reason, I suppose my temperament, the really (obviously needed) negative mentions in critiques seem to stick in my mind, literally drawing me back from my own relationship with the craft.

    I'll admit, I just never took very much English, certainly no Creative Writing, Grammar, etc. classes. Thus, I feel I've been driving in figure eights in a parking lot for ten years. I adore writing--literally swimming in the peppermint cool of imaginative waters--yet, I'm so underdeveloped, professionally, that it is frightening for me to ask, "Will I ever develop enough to be able to tell this story?"

    Still, even after facing truthful feedback, it does not take me long to get back to my drawing board, because I am so darn attracted to 'the story' aspect of writing.

    I never knew my writing was kind of unremarkable, till I came here and had writing to compare (I know we shouldn't, yet I did it)--writing that really works, if that makes sense. Sometimes I'll write something and polish it, yet when compared with others' work, it seems dull or unoriginal, kinda. (Maybe that's just me being my own worst critic)? I need to cut that out.

    I'm very thankful to you, pH, for posting this. As, I have really been having ups and downs... I am not giving up, yet it is good of me to be reminded of what you are saying. I mean, if I do not learn to believe positively about myself, then it is no good. I have to fight for this relationship. It is an intimate one I do not wish to divorce, so to speak.

    By the way--I learn a lot from both you and Jo. Jo's writing was my first experience with sensing my own writing's lack of remarkableness, which can be worked on as I read work like hers (and yours) that stands out.

    Oh--and the whole nuts-n-bolts: things like Point of View, Showing not Telling, Grammar, so forth--these are like Greek to me. It is as though I'm learning a novel language.

    I'm so grateful I found you all. My quantum tale is a quantum mess, and I needed to find this out, so I can begin to amend it.

    Hoverdasher.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  4. DelActivisto

    DelActivisto Purple Prose award winner

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    I love writing and I'll probably always do it, but I have no qualms about admitting how I write. It's probably not that great. Or maybe it is - I haven't had a whole lot of feedback as of yet, either from people who a. are family and don't want to offend me or b. rude people who tell me everything is terrible.

    As for my relationship with my writing, this is how it currently stands:

    [​IMG]
     
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  5. R.T James

    R.T James Furry Steampunk Street Urchin

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    My relationship with my writing can be described as a highly abusive relationship, like everything is horrible. You fear for your life, however the sex is really good. So you stick around... cowering in fear, but when fun times come! Wheee! You can ignore the black eye and the knife wounds..

    Anybody else have this relationship with their writing? No. Only me?

    I really do not know my strengths in writing, but I do know my weaknesses and it stems directly from what I enjoy and consume. Which doesn't help that most of it you can download for free as the copyrights expired sometime during the 1950's. Yeah that old.

    I tend to focus on flourish and flow. I write picaresque adventures..... which doesn't help as if you look up the definition that's why my things tend to meander and take place in chronological order.

    So yeah a Picaresque steampunk fantasy story heavily inspired by french literature of the 1800's is something that's a bit hard to explain.

    I enjoy the texts of old because there's a certain je ne sais quoi to them. Theres a bit of a journey and a slower pace that I truthfully enjoy... while nobody else in the universe seems too.

    I know I have a few vices that ALL My stories end up having.

    Two characters falling in love/ having a relationship.

    Grey morality.

    and usually in the world of the lore I have created.
     
  6. Hoverdasher

    Hoverdasher Well-Known Member

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    Ok. I do have the kind of relationship R. T James describes--as well as picture posted by DelActivisto, which paints a thousand words (about where I am in my writing).

    There is a certain strangeness in it...it is so alluring, I can't stay away from the craft for long...yet, it is such a long, long, long, long, long, long marathon. I wonder, am I in shape for this? on certain days. Then there comes the allure...and I'm right back at it:)
     
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  7. DelActivisto

    DelActivisto Purple Prose award winner

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    I wouldn't be surprised if most artists suffer, honestly. And artistic people usually seem more prone to depression. I think it stems from pondering the meaning of the universe too often. Anyone else feel like that? :unsure:
     
  8. Ihe

    Ihe Forum Revolutionary

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    I'm on the desperate side of the polls.o_O With the challenges, for example, I do get jittery with every scarce mention. Since I've never been published, I guess these challenges are the only way I have to get multi-peer validation at the moment.

    In my routinary writing (golly, I blush at the word. Routinary? Who am I kidding?), I "enjoy" the lovely expectations I dump on myself, with the ensuing paralysis. My relationship with writing happens by seasons, big chunks of nothing with sudden bursts of creative fever, to once again hybernate. Not the most productive method, but writing is like that crazy ex you used to date, mirroring what @R.T James described. Every now and then, when you're alone, you call her, no matter the time or the convenience.
     
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  9. tinkerdan

    tinkerdan candycane shrimp

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    I think that it does boil down to the simplicity of Peer validation. It's not difficult to conclude this as such, since from childhood up we are taught to seek that peer validation. We go through all the trouble to make sure our i's are dotted and t's are crossed, our ducks are in a row and the grammar and spelling are impeccable. All that work and we want that praise.

    For me though it just adds a kink in the whole process because when I find something that I really enjoy in someone else writing it's almost nothing to do with peer validation because for me it has to be something that resonates with me within the writing. I'm less concerned about the sweat that went into getting all the rules correctly aligned and grammar correct or even the elegance of a truly unique plot, plot device, or idea. What gets me to want to write like someone else is when they touch me with the style of their prose and the depth of character to the point that I feel something; and that's what I'd love my writing to do.

    So often when I start a book and find I can't put it down you can be sure that all through the process I'm telling myself; 'God I wish I could write like this.'

    I don't want to write exactly as they do(as in style); however I want the final result to be near the same as what's happening when I read their work.

    It's always good to have something such as that to strive for.
     
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  10. zmunkz

    zmunkz Well-Known Member

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    My relationship with my writing is abusive. Mutually.
     
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  11. Tim Murray

    Tim Murray Through space, time and dimension

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    I think I know my strengths - dialogue, characters, torture :D

    You are the grand master of torture, Jo, turns the hair white!
     
  12. Mouse

    Mouse ejtett.weebly.com

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    You write like a writer and I write like a twat.

    I've said it before, but I hate writing. I mean the actual act of it - I'd rather plug my brain into the laptop and imagine the scene and have the words appear. It takes me too long, and I'm unable to manage a decent length. I get that I must be good at it, because I'm published, but I'm not as good as I want to be, and that's frustrating as hell.
     
  13. HareBrain

    HareBrain Bunny of Wonder Staff Member

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    That's partly the thing with voice, though. No one recognises their own voice, I'm pretty sure. Quite a few people have called my prose transparent or crystal-clear, and I'm very grateful for that, but I'm not really sure what it means -- especially since, every time I open my book, my eyes magnetically home in on what seems one of the most clunky bits of phrasing ever.

    Anyway, probably thanks to all that positive feedback, I don't really worry about prose any more. But there are plenty of other things to worry about, not least that I've irrevocably committed myself early in the series to something that might later prove a big mistake. Or that I'll repeat myself, or that certain character arcs will lose their way, etc etc.

    So it's still a relationship built on doubt and anxiety.
     
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  14. Luiglin

    Luiglin by day Stuart Orford by night Dark Lord's scribe

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    Hmmm... sometimes I think my writing reads fine, other times naff but rarely good.

    I'm over critical and lacking in any sort of confidence with any output.

    This has led to a state where I don't even bother these days trying to find beta writers and/or sending stuff out to agents.

    I've not even really attempted to promote my finished piece on Amazon. That's not to say I'm not proud about finishing it. Just that I'm wary about trying to push it.

    I've had one success and one near miss. So I'll carry on. Sometimes it's bloody hard though.
     
  15. Toby Frost

    Toby Frost Well-Known Member

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    Some very interesting responses here.

    First up, writing is the thing I do best by a fair way. In some ways, writing about made-up people is much easier than dealing with real ones. I've come to realise that one of the reasons I like writing is that I can move the pieces around the board any way I like. Perhaps this is why I don't like the idea of characters "surprising" me: the whole point is that they're not meant to do that!

    I don't think I am a very "artistic" writer, in that my main aim is to say what happened next as clearly as possible rather than to strive for a particular technique. That does have its strengths, though: for one thing, I don't have to do much to get into the mood to write. Also, it probably makes it easier to get to the end of a piece of work. That said, comedy does require quite a disciplined use of words. I've never felt that I am wrestling with the muse, baring my soul or striving to express the inexpressable. To be brutally honest, the questions I ask myself the most are "What happens next?" and "What's the best way of describing it?"

    Am I happy with what I write? Yes, in terms of how I write. I think I am noticeably better than I was 10 years ago. Like Jo, I try not to compare myself with others, as there is a lot of luck in this game and people work in different ways. However, I do find it irritating when something weak or downright bad gets praise that I don't think it deserves. I'm still not happy with plotting, though. That's hard.
     
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  16. Vaz

    Vaz We're in the pipe, five by five.

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    Writing is my biggest passion. Well, writing and cooking - but I'm actually good in the kitchen!

    I love and hate writing. When I don't write, I'm an angry grumpkin; but when I do write I'm still not happy with what I produce, especially in the challenges.

    I suppose it's fair to say I'm perpetually frustrated. I'm frustrated because I can see where I want to be and I can't quite get there. A writers reach does exceed their grasp.

    As for the challenges, they're purely fun for me. No need to worry about votes or mentions. If I get them great! They can make my day. But there's too many big hitters here who are far above my level and yet, they are still improving themselves.

    Good topic, Ph.

    v
     
  17. AnyaKimlin

    AnyaKimlin Confuddled

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    Umm... my view of my writing tends to get me into trouble on writing forums so I tend not to share it.

    I love my own work. I try to stuff all my favourite things into my books. I love writing them and I love reading them. There's a huge part of me that is competitive with myself and I like to make them better, but I still enjoy reading some of the versions of Mayhem (my first book) that I wrote seven years ago. My dialogue is particularly good (good enough that I write reasonable scripts), I create decent characters, have reasonable imagination and my description is good. Thanks to time spent learning to write from erotic fiction writers I'm not bad at fruity scenes and my fight scenes were helped by a writer who'd worked in a young offenders institution. Where I often get asked to change is that I don't put enough emotion into the work but I'm not good at bleeding all over the page and don't like stating the bleeding obvious.

    When I started to get too over analytical with my work that was when I got writer's block and stopped wanting to write. It took me about six months to get back into loving it. At that point I decided, I'd rather enjoy writing crap than try to change my methods by any other way than writing loads and listening to crits.
     
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  18. Tim Murray

    Tim Murray Through space, time and dimension

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    Mouse, have you tried dragon, you speak, it types. It may not be your brain plugged in, but it is closer than typing. I like my writing most of the time, I don't when it feels like I'm just pushing words out for the sake of daily word count.
     
  19. Mouse

    Mouse ejtett.weebly.com

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    Ta, I don't think it'd help much. It's not that I'm slow at typing (I'm not), that's not why it takes me so long. It's more that I'm easily distracted.
     
  20. DelActivisto

    DelActivisto Purple Prose award winner

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    I'm actually very capitalistic in my mindset. That's seems to be an unusual case here. It means I am devoted to my writing, and in this case unjustifiably so with my first book that I've been working on since I was 13. Ideas for the story have percolated since I was born, perhaps. I was raised in an incredibly poor household, economically speaking, but very intellectually gifted. That's not trying to brag, but it is true, and is probably the main reason I'm not still stuck in a rut.

    But insofar as the books are concerned, I will try to become a marketable person, and I have sought out as many articles, books, and advise as I can set my paws on. But if it doesn't pan out, I shall have no problems setting the projects aside and moving on to something more profitable. It is a cold, cruel world still, and I have not the time nor the inclination to be a romantic about my work.

    In fact I'm not very romantic at all. I'm not even very emotional. I'm like a German - I accept criticism readily, like water off a duck. I worry this translates to my writing - will I garner enough emotions within the depths of my writ to elicit emotions within others?
     
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