Strange self-doubts about writing

Valtharius

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Consider the following scenario:
You wake up and start reviewing all the stuff you wrote yesterday. It seemed great then but it reads like garbage now. You read it a second time and it seems better. Now you aren't sure of anything and wonder if you have any writing judgment at all.
It's been happening to me a lot. It seems to be worse on days when my general mood isn't very good.
Does stuff like this happen to anyone else?
 

Droflet

I don't teach chickens how to dance.
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Everyone has doubts about their first book. I had no sounding board for mine and that breeds doubt. Is it good? Is it rubbish? What about, what about, what about? First order of business, write a complete novel. Then ask yourself this question. Do YOU like it? If the answer is no, then back to the planning board. If the answer is yes, then believe in it. Hey, if you like it then the chances are others will, too.
I wrote two and a half novels before I realized that I didn't know what I was doing. There are three things that every successful novel has.
Story, story, story. If you can write a story you like then the rest comes with rewrites and edits.
Once you have completed your novel post exerts here and await feedback. Good luck on the journey.
 

Mon0Zer0

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Yes, absolutely. All the time.

A good few years ago, I was exhibiting at NICE comic con, the year Alan Moore was a guest speaker, and I happened to be tabled next to an artist called Aly Fell. Aly is a lovely guy, not a famous artist, but someone whose work you would have likely seen as it gets passed around virally.. In the 80's he worked for Cosgrove Hall on Dangermouse and Count Duckula.

Through the course of the con a stream of artists were coming up to him and bestowing a bevvy of compliments on him, and you could tell he was quite embarrassed by the praise. Some of the people praising him were big artists too - Chris Weston, Dave Gibbons. BIG names.

At one point I leaned over to him and asked him how it feels to have Dave Gibbons say he's a fan.

Aly mumbled an embarrassed response and said "I can never really believe it. Whenever I look at my own work, all I see are the faults."
 

Astro Pen

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Each awakening is a new day. Your night of dreams will give you a different emotional balance to that you had when you put the manuscript away and went to bed.
This can make it difficult to think yourself back into the mindset you had the night before.
Sometimes it is just impossible to get back to where you were until you have 'cleared' that, and you may need to write something short and profound to clear the head before you can re engage with your WIP on its own terms.
 

The Big Peat

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Oh yes, quite familiar with this.

I think it'd take longer to count all the creatives who have this regularly than those who don't. It's part of why many writers recommend a lengthy period between writing something and reviewing it (although others do go over what they wrote yesterday).
 

Toby Frost

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I generally don't get this, but I do know what you mean. I've been editing an older manuscript recently, and I often find that while I know what I meant to say, the words don't quite feel right. A sort of clunky awkwardness creeps in. In that situation, I usually rewrite them.

I think we're often encouraged to think of writing as some kind of magical experience - conjuring worlds of fiction and all that. That's fine, but it does miss the point that a lot of writing is just saying what happened next in an interesting way, and that can be a rather non-magical job, especially when dealing with first drafts.
 

tinkerdan

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I usually look back at my work while looking to see how it works--if it works--the mechanics: grammar; spelling; punctuation, whether it need tightening and or how I could write it better. The bottom line is that I might often think that 90 percent of what I write is crap and some of it does end up in the trash bin: a lot less than there was years ago.

Doubt is a good thing that might be telling you that you need to have alpha or beta readers lined up to look at things and give you a reality check. If you do this enough you will get a better feel for when you are obsessing over nothing and when you are spot on. At some point you will begin reading back and begin to wonder, "Wow. I wrote that?"
 

alexvss

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I've seen this very question being posted on facebook groups more than once. It's pretty common. But that's the rule for first drafts: they suck. They suck harder the more of a pantser you are. If you're more of a plotter, well, it won't suck that much.

My advice to you is to finish the story (or the chapter, if it's a novel) and only then look back. You know that what you wrote is bad, so you just save yourself from the stress. :LOL:
 

JS Wiig

“Hello, muse?” “Please hold…” *elevator music*
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I see any work of mine as 10% brilliance, 10% rubbish, and the rest somewhere in between.

…now determining which is which can sometimes be a bit tricky…
 
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DLCroix

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The goal of writing is to narrate. Everything else is editing. It's like when we meet at a bar and I tell you a story. I am not thinking about art. I'm telling you something, that's my only enthusiasm. My advice is that you fall in love with writing. When you stop caring if it is good or bad, you will also start to be happier. Oh, my little boy, life is so short ... And time is running out.
 

JunkMonkey

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Consider the following scenario:
You wake up and start reviewing all the stuff you wrote yesterday. It seemed great then but it reads like garbage now. You read it a second time and it seems better. Now you aren't sure of anything and wonder if you have any writing judgment at all.
It's been happening to me a lot. It seems to be worse on days when my general mood isn't very good.
Does stuff like this happen to anyone else?

Every time. I usually think my stuff is awful by the time I've finished drawing it and don't want to look at it ever again. Six months later and I find myself being impressed by my own art and wondering where I lost 'it' and why everything I do now is crap. Repeat in six months.
 

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