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Thread: Doubt

  1. #1
    WriterBLAlley
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    Doubt

    Does everyone feel like they blew it at some point, or did I really do so and deservedly feel as if I did?

    The longer I wait for someone to try my book the more I nitpick my publishing decisions. (no subtitle to clarify the work, better descriptions and synopsis, more editing, etc)

    Thanks

  2. #2
    KMTolan kmtolan's Avatar
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    There is no worse critic than the author. That's why it is great to have a reading group of peers rather than friends or family (at the very least). An editor on board is another safeguard. Never trust yourself.

    One of the pitfalls of going out on your own rather than through a publisher (all my opinion, of course) is that you run the risk of not knowing just how good your work is. The very worst way to measure yourself is to put the work out on the market and getting your answer that way. The damage is done.

    Kerry

  3. #3
    WriterBLAlley
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    Low Blood Sugar Rant. Apologies.
    Last edited by WriterBLAlley; May 21st, 2014 at 07:00 PM.

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    I totally understand. At a certain point I force myself to stop looking at my work because I'll edit it forever.

  5. #5
    Was: "Virangelus" A. Lynn's Avatar
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    I'm told all author's do that. Stephen King still looks back on even his best-seller works and try to edit them. In some cases, he's succeeded in "re-publishing" works.

  6. #6
    WriterBLAlley
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    Ugh. Just have to let go and finish the next one.

  7. #7
    Registered User PanGalacticBlog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WriterBLAlley View Post
    Does everyone feel like they blew it at some point, or did I really do so and deservedly feel as if I did?

    The longer I wait for someone to try my book the more I nitpick my publishing decisions. (no subtitle to clarify the work, better descriptions and synopsis, more editing, etc)

    Thanks
    I have for more then 2 years had a "grand" idea for a sci-fi novel, and I have been trying to write and struggled it was never good enough I kept trashing the little I was able to put in Scrivener. I remember reading on Ryk Brown's blog that his wife told him to just go and write the first one and something like not to worry what people think etc... So I just put my first one, I don't like it, but will redo it soon, however I'm happy it's out there as imperfect as it is. Which is why I put version 1.0, there will be 1.1 soon.

    However if you are talking about sending to publishers and trying to perfect the manuscript then I'm not sure.

    All I can say is that nothing will ever be perfect we can just improve as we go. Not sure if that helps.

  8. #8
    KMTolan kmtolan's Avatar
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    Oh Lord, what am I doing standing on this stupid square wooden crate again?

    For me, the idea of putting something out in the wild for others to see that isn't as good as you could possibly make it (including getting an editor and/or several readings) is a Really Bad Thing.

    Why? Because it's guilt by association. Per example:

    "Hey, there's a new short piece out by Whaka Mole. Any good?"

    "Don't bother. The first thing I read from him was a bunch of crap."

    Just something to think about. As far as the doubt, sure, as I said earlier, but one way to deal with that is yes, do drafts. Just don't show the first one with ideas of "making it better later". The damage is done.

    Kerry (jumping off now)

    And yes, just my opinion.

  9. #9
    Registered User CharlotteAshley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WriterBLAlley View Post
    Ugh. Just have to let go and finish the next one.
    This. The good news is, nobody ever got worse at writing with more experience.

  10. #10
    Registered User PanGalacticBlog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmtolan View Post
    For me, the idea of putting something out in the wild for others to see that isn't as good as you could possibly make it (including getting an editor and/or several readings) is a Really Bad Thing.

    Why? Because it's guilt by association. Per example:

    "Hey, there's a new short piece out by Whaka Mole. Any good?"

    "Don't bother. The first thing I read from him was a bunch of crap."

    Just something to think about. As far as the doubt, sure, as I said earlier, but one way to deal with that is yes, do drafts. Just don't show the first one with ideas of "making it better later". The damage is done.

    Kerry (jumping off now)

    And yes, just my opinion.
    I think it's a good point and that is why for 2 years I couldn't publish a single word. But then I realized it's better no good or low good then nothing, it's my thought and yes I'm a third world no degree sci-fi wanna be, but I like that more then nothing. And also, once I get a dozen or so written, I'm hopping I get better by then, and can go back and put out version 2, then version 3 etc... and make it better. At least that's my approach. I'm just sick and tired of waiting for perfection, and could die the next day and nothing I was thinking and dreaming about came out. So what if it's not perfect, neather is Arthur Clark, but he got his stuff out. That's my thinking. I feel better taking the criticism then doing nothing.

    And this is just what I'm going to do. I totally 100% understand if others want to wait to get it better first.

    Just my 2 dinars.

    Slobodan (Dan)

  11. #11
    Registered User PanGalacticBlog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlotteAshley View Post
    This. The good news is, nobody ever got worse at writing with more experience.
    I love what you wrote, I'll have to frame that on my mirror and look at it every day !

  12. #12
    Registered User CharlotteAshley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PanGalacticBlog View Post
    I think it's a good point and that is why for 2 years I couldn't publish a single word. But then I realized it's better no good or low good then nothing, it's my thought and yes I'm a third world no degree sci-fi wanna be, but I like that more then nothing. And also, once I get a dozen or so written, I'm hopping I get better by then, and can go back and put out version 2, then version 3 etc... and make it better. At least that's my approach. I'm just sick and tired of waiting for perfection, and could die the next day and nothing I was thinking and dreaming about came out. So what if it's not perfect, neather is Arthur Clark, but he got his stuff out. That's my thinking. I feel better taking the criticism then doing nothing.

    And this is just what I'm going to do. I totally 100% understand if others want to wait to get it better first.
    For sure! But remember, Clark didn't self-publish, right? He had a wall to get over first - he had to get past the editors, he had to get published. He didn't make his first pro sale until 1946 - like ten years after he started writing & submitting stories. How many stories do you think he wrote in that time? A dozen? A hundred? Writing takes practice, like anything. I totally agree that self-doubt and second guessing yourself will stunt your career (you'll never get published if you never submit!), but at the same time, that doesn't mean everyone should jump right out the gate and self-pub the first, or even the tenth, thing they write.

    People do all the time anyway. The bulk of my clients are people who wrote one novel and are determined to publish it, no matter what. That's the brave new world. But if you're inclined to pause and think a moment, I think it's worth thinking seriously about what Kerry said. This is the internet. Whatever you put out there is out there FOREVER now. You WILL get better as you write more. So do you want your early work - which passed nobody's muster - out there, or can you wait a few years in exchange for the better product?

  13. #13
    Registered User PanGalacticBlog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CharlotteAshley View Post
    For sure! But remember, Clark didn't self-publish, right? He had a wall to get over first - he had to get past the editors, he had to get published. He didn't make his first pro sale until 1946 - like ten years after he started writing & submitting stories. How many stories do you think he wrote in that time? A dozen? A hundred? Writing takes practice, like anything. I totally agree that self-doubt and second guessing yourself will stunt your career (you'll never get published if you never submit!), but at the same time, that doesn't mean everyone should jump right out the gate and self-pub the first, or even the tenth, thing they write.

    People do all the time anyway. The bulk of my clients are people who wrote one novel and are determined to publish it, no matter what. That's the brave new world. But if you're inclined to pause and think a moment, I think it's worth thinking seriously about what Kerry said. This is the internet. Whatever you put out there is out there FOREVER now. You WILL get better as you write more. So do you want your early work - which passed nobody's muster - out there, or can you wait a few years in exchange for the better product?
    I have to admit you made some good points. I'm finishing my second non fiction Kindle ebook this week and on Monday I'm going to redo my first sci-fi ebook to make sure it's better (you got me a bit scared)

    I think I'm ok and no matter how good Clark and his editors are some people probably think it's junk and some people like me love to read it. I remember reading Songs from the distant earth it was amazing, but I'm sure if you google it some people leave bad reviews.

    The reason that we are free is so we can put junk out there and say the most awful things that upset people and while we can do that we are free. I'm sure one day that will no longer be permitted in the name of the grater good. One more thing there are sites where no body's with no editors and no skill publish books instantly, no website or Word or Scrivener needed. Well some of them signed movie deals even that they haven't sold a single ebook anywhere, it's just at a million + people read it on these instant "book" sites. What I think is bad others think it's amazing. I love freedom and the fact that I can put my stuff on Amazon, but that being said I will on Monday redo it to make sure it's better. I only sold 4 at 99cents so I'm not to worried right now. And chances are I'm not going to "take off" with my writing skills this or next year, by then I can get better.

  14. #14
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    IMPoster Syndrome: everybody doubts

    Everybody doubts. While the advice to just keep writing is right...it's also impossible to follow at times. Writers crave validation. They crave it when they're writing their very first stories, and they still crave it when they're old and have just been diagnosed with a recurrence of cancer. Is it worth the struggle? Am I just wasting time here? Should I have become a dental assistant? There's a lot of negative pressure from society...Aren't you published YET? How long are you going to keep doing this? Why don't you get a REAL job? And if you're a mother, there's always the guilt-laying about how you're neglecting your children spending any time at all doing anything creative. The validation we all want so badly is not easy to come by, even if you find a congenial writing group.

    But one of the things about successful writers is that they will write on without that validation--both before they get any, and at times in their career when there's a gap in it. When the new book tanks, when they're dropped by an agent or a publisher, when because of illness or other LifeStuff they didn't have anything new in the market for a year. Early on, they're willing to endure the doubts they have--to keep trying, without a lot of reassurance and encouragement--and they are able to delay the gratification of outside validation until they're better at the craft. This is where reading helps. It's easy to find some clunker in print and say "I write better than that." And you may. But read the best in the field and the best outside the field as well. Are you better than that?

    Writers are so constructed that even though we all have doubts, we also all have (and need!) Ego--and a blind spot that allows us to see a golden glow on a brilliantly executed statue of a story....where others see a vaguely shaped lump of mud. We have to have that--it's what sees the possibilities in people, situations, etc. so that we can make stories at all. But that means when you think you're as good as--better than--the best, you may have a statue with gold leaf on it, that people can tell is a winged horse or a hero with a sword or a graceful spaceship--and it may be quite a good one--but you're not yet as good as you think you are in your most hopeful moments, or as good as you will be. And for this reason, in general, and admitting exceptions, when you think you're better than those who consider really good...you're only then at the point where the public (as opposed to a few friends) should see your work. Even then, send it to editors. The internet is indeed forever. I have read one of my very bad early stories at a convention, to show people that it's possible to start that bad and end up a well-published writer, but I am very glad I didn't have an internet to put it up on when I wrote it.

    In the meantime, enjoy the validation you get from other writers like yourself, but don't kid yourself that the cozy little circle that meets on Thursday in the library or church basement or wherever is the same as the outside world. Use your time in that nurturing environment to grow the shell you will need later, when experienced critics with perfectly sharpened instruments dissect your work (and you) in agonizing detail. (And you can't answer back, remember? Everyone will say you're spoiled, arrogant, hysterical if you do.) "Exposure" isn't just a means of getting validation--it's also a means of getting smacked down hard.

    Ultimately, you have to have the ability to write anyway--despite almost anything--and keep doing it, where you're being showered with adulation or insults or simply ignored. And for most of us that ability is developed over years--years of doubt, years of quitting writing and coming back to it, years of exultation because this time we're sure we've written one that will succeed, years of bleak misery when it turns out we didn't and families and friends are pressuring us to quit...and over time, and a lot of work, gradually the writing gets better and there's one publication, then another. And boyoboy is it worth it when the magic works and the validation finally arrives.

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