Friday, May 8, 2015

Frustrated? Me Too!

I'm the greatest writer ever, but only half the time!
Writers get frustrated all the time.  We dwell in a world of diametrically opposite emotions.  On the
one hand, we’re the GOD EMPEROR OF THE UNIVERSE, able to build up or tear down entire civilizations.  We give and take life on a cruel, cruel whim.  We throw good, kind, strong characters into a meat grinder and laugh with evil, maniacal glee.

On the other hand, we wallow in self-pity and self-depreciation.  Writing blocks, filler words, telling-not-showing and the deep, dark, depressing knowledge that every line—every single line—is boring, repetitive and could more easily have been constructed by a three year-old on a Thorazine drip.

Into this manic-depressive world as crafted by Two-Face—Enter the critic.  Feedback is integral to the writing process.  No writer works in a vacuum, and having someone tell you, “No, no, I’m sorry, but this doesn’t work!” is of the utmost importance.  Critics can also go too far, especially if they’re friends.  They may not understand that telling you, “Your writing has literally destroyed more hope and joy in the world than all the evil ever imagined,” can be a bit much to bear.

Don't harsh my calm!
Two solutions present, if you're interested:

1 - Stop showing other people your writing. If you're writing for your own enjoyment and anxiety, that's great. Keep doing that. There's no compulsion to show it to others. I showed nothing of my early writing to anyone ever, and I'm quite happy that I did. But, if that's not going to work . . .

2 - Instead of getting upset, ask for direct feedback and start improving your writing. Read books like Stephen King's "On Writing" and Strunk & White's "Elements of Style" (as well as a million others). Find those authors that appeal to you most and study what they've done. Until you can emulate it, simply imitate it.


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