My Greatest Writing Fear. What's Yours?

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moderntimes
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Re: My Greatest Writing Fear. What's Yours?

Post by moderntimes » 17 Jul 2015, 16:22

Agreed. Saying "I want to write a book" is a dead end. Instead always say "I'm writing a book" and that is the correct frame of mind.

Nobody is ever "good enough" at the start. We all learn to write but how? By writing! This, and reading a lot of books of the same genre in which you're writing is the way to help learn the tricks of the trade. Otherwise, there are no secrets to this. Just write and write a lot, and don't ever be afraid of not being good enough -- you'll get better, always.

And remember this -- the only way you can know if you're good enough is to try to get published and keep trying and eventually it will hit. It will be a while but that's how it works.
"Ineluctable modality of the visible..."

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Post by KM1023 » 19 Jul 2015, 13:40

My greatest writing fear is that I won't be able to finish. It's so frustrating to have a grasp on the feeling you want to convey and then not be able to get it down on paper. If it happens enough, I start getting lazy and stop trying to develop an idea any further, letting it just sit in my head and be forgotton. I also fear those times when I do get a complete piece, but then I read it back and I hate it. I suppose then that my biggest fears are insecurities.

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Post by Cee-Jay Aurinko » 19 Jul 2015, 14:04

@KM1023

I'm with you. Sticking to finishing an entire book is a year long commitment! Like studying for a 12-month course. When you start a novel, those first few chapters comes so easily, so vivid, so full of promise. But as soon as you reach a roadblock, as soon as those ideas of yours stop coming like they did just a day ago, you start thinking Oh, I can't do this. I can't continue. I'm not a good writer. But all this means, sometimes, is that you need to take a breather. You need to refresh. Take a day or two off from writing, and when you get back to it, I promise you, you'll blast that novel of yours with another batch of awesome chapters. Don't be afraid to take a break every now and then. You're human. It's okay. Laziness has nothing to do with it!
"Might as well drink the ocean with a spoon as argue with a lover." -- The Dark Tower 2, Stephen King
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Post by moderntimes » 19 Jul 2015, 15:55

KM, your feelings are understandable. I've written 3 novels and I'm working on the 4th in the series, plus a different novel in a supernatural genre. It's a long commitment and not easy. But what you have to do is keep plugging away.

You talk about not getting your feelings into a mode to remember -- I highly recommend that you promise yourself to work at keeping a notebook, whether manually written or on the computer. I've got a "random stuff" file that I stuff with stupid ideas but a few of them are good and are keepers. All well known writers keep a sort of chapbook or notebook and it's a good habit to develop.

It's also common to write something and read it and not be happy about the writing. It's something that all writers do. What I recommend here is that you learn from mistakes and excerpt those few sentences or paragraphs in the "bad" writing that are good, save them for later. And also, NEVER throw anything away! You may change your mind and wish that you had that "bad" stuff back, because you then recognize that the writing was indeed just fine.

Frustration is common among writers and it's not unusual, so don't feel alone in this. Either take a day off, as Leon recommends, or work on another sort of writing to get out of the temporary slump. If you're working on a novel and are stuck in the "action" scene or maybe the "romantic" scene, just switch gears and write a totally different section of the book, and later come back to the stuck-scene, and you'll find that it's okay now.

Correct that it takes about a year to write a novel. Maybe 7 months for the actual writing, and 2 months or more for the revision.

But keep at it. There's a great feeling at writing those 2 magic words "The End" and knowing that you've accomplished a real task that few people ever complete.
"Ineluctable modality of the visible..."

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Post by RedDragon42 » 19 Jul 2015, 18:40

Never finishing anything.
I have a very tenuous relationship with inspiration and invariably lose interest in what I'm writing long before I finish it. I have numerous half-finished manuscripts that collect metaphorical dust in the bowels of my laptop. I rarely visit them and have no inclination to finish them.
When I write fan fiction I have to limit myself to one-shots because it feels too cruel to my readers to start a chaptered story I know I'll never complete.
It's a real curse!

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Post by Tracy B » 19 Jul 2015, 19:25

My greatest fear writing fear is the thought of spending a lot of time to write a good long novel...but when its finished it sounded much better in my head than on paper. Oh and spelling errors, don't forget the spelling errors.

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 19 Jul 2015, 19:34

Amen to the spelling errors! Welcome to the forum!

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Post by moderntimes » 19 Jul 2015, 19:42

Red, inspiration is overrated. Finishing something fairly long, like a novel, takes rawhide determination and requires that you beat yourself regularly with the literary whip to keep going. I've let a novel or screenplay, article or short story, any of this, sit gathering electronic dust. But I eventually pushed myself and got myself in gear. Don't expect inspiration to last that long -- indentured servant is the correct attitude, ha ha.

Spelling errors and tpyos are just part of the game, Tracy. Take your time and massage your manuscript until you've fixed the problems. It takes time and it requires grunt work, no glamour at all. But it's necessary.

Going over the text of my 1st novel prior to submitting it for publication (I just got an offer last week), I found yet one more typo and yet one more punctuation error, where I thought I'd fixed them all. It happens. Sigh.
"Ineluctable modality of the visible..."

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Post by partygirl4202010 » 19 Jul 2015, 19:58

My greatest fear about writing is that no one likes or understands what I write about. When I was in fourth grade, our school had a contest to write a children's book. I enjoyed writing it and won 2nd place. Then when I was in 8th grade I entered a contest to write a speech and I worked on it for weeks only to have my teacher accuse me of copying it. My real fear is basically about failure to write something that people would like to read.

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Post by moderntimes » 19 Jul 2015, 21:19

I wish I could alleviate your concern, party, but all writers have this trepidation. There are however ways to work on this: First, be very well read in the particular genre in which you're working. If you want to create a new romance novel, read a lot of them and work within the boundaries of the more popular and best regarded books extant. Of course, to make your book unique and interesting to the publisher or agent to whom you're submitting, you'll likely wish to tweak the genre a bit and make your story slightly different so that it catches attention. And of course, not TOO different.

This is tricky but doable, if you read a lot of your selected genre. Example: I'm writing a series of modern American private detective novels. But rather than make my protagonist a rough-tough Mike Hammer guy, he's educated and highly intelligent, erudite. This creates a slightly different tweak to the conventional private eye.

That sort of thing.

And then, work hard to create the very best book that you can, re-read and edit over and over so that it's the best possible, then start submitting it to agencies and publishers and keep trying!

Example: I finished the 3rd novel in the series early this spring, and have spent the past months submitting to publishers. Lots and lots of "TBNTs" (thanks but no thanks) but then I scored! A publisher has just accepted not just the new book, but all 3 novels for publication.

Believe in yourself! This sounds trite but it's very very true. Keep plugging away and keep perfecting your craft. I'm not anything like a "famous" artist as seen on TV, ha ha. I'm a regular guy who's had a few things published and has spent several years perfecting my craft and honing my talent. There's really no short cut to this -- you have to work diligently and learn and grow. And eventually you will find acceptance of your manuscripts.

Remember, ALL of us have insecurities. I do all the time and spent lots of time agonizing on these constant submissions to publishers, until I got the hit that I needed. There's no magic formula and the shoemaker's elves are on strike, ha ha. You've got to do it yourself.

So FORGET what happened in school, for pete's sake! Go forward and you will succeed, if you're a good enough writer. How can you know that you're good enough? Again, there's no secret formula to that either, other than reading and reading and reading good books within your genre (and bad books too, to learn what NOT to do) and you'll be just fine.
"Ineluctable modality of the visible..."

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Post by MegaReader » 19 Jul 2015, 21:42

I think this is a very good question and interesting post! Nothing that I have written has been published, and hardly anyone has ever read a piece of mine. Writing is a window to one's soul, and the vulnerability of allowing someone to see what I have written is what I am most afraid of. In a sense, it is also a fear of rejection or the potential that someone would not take me seriously. It is always hard to become vulnerable, even though it can make me stronger.

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Post by chilled_chaos » 20 Jul 2015, 02:12

My greatest fear when it comes to writing is when I start adding parts of some other book I read and I start plagiarizing it, then I would have to start the assignment all over again. Then I would have writers block and couldn't anything other than something I already read

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Post by arunshankar » 20 Jul 2015, 02:24

my only fear is about my content..!! when i ask my friends regarding my content they tell me it is interesting..!!!but my doubt is do audience accept with my view..!!

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Post by robert eggleton » 20 Jul 2015, 02:26

Wow! As a retired mental health therapist, I give myself an A+ for asking a question that received such a vivid response from group members.

Personally, I'm doing okay with getting reviews of my novel: all very positive, except for two obviously fake ones.

The two fake ones kind of pis*** me off at first, but I let it go. One gave my novel a two star rating and the guy said that he was tired of apocalyptic novels, which, of course, mine doesn't come close. The other fake review called my novel a war story when the only thing shot or blown up in the story was a fake Barbie doll in a cow pasture. Go figure! I don't know why some people decide to post reviews about stories that they've obviously not read. Maybe they are trying to sell their own stories by putting down those of others. Who knows?

Anyway, every time that I've sent a query to a potential reviewer, I've asked myself if I should tell the reviewer about my Big Secret, or just be quiet and hope for the best? Depending on how queasy my stomach was as I typed the query, I've played it both ways.

I was afraid that the imperfect formatting of my novel would be be noticed and affect the review findings. On the other hand, I was afraid that if I called it to the reviewer's attention, he or she may decline to review my novel, or write a more negative review than if he or she had not noticed the Error.

During the final stage of printing, the italics that indicated head thoughts following dialogue in my story had been dropped. These usually brief statements showed up in the final version without attribution. They didn't have quotation marks enclosing them (because they were thoughts) and were clearly the thoughts of the immediately preceding speaker in the dialogue, but the italics which had made it all the way through the editing and printing process until the final, were missing in action. Something went wrong in the file conversion.

Frankly, I didn't notice the missing italics at fist. I'd gone over the story so many times that I didn't bother to read the paperback when it came out. Almost two months ago, a well-respected blogger noticed the missing italics, and my stomach has gotten upset every time that I've written a review request since. This blogger was so impressed with the story that she gave me a free promo anyway, but she refused to write a review.

Yesterday, I got an email which informed me that the imperfect condition of my story was noticed by a Big Time Pro. It was a relief. My biggest writing fear for the moment was out in the open. I hope that each of you felt the same way by expressing your fears on this thread.

My novel still got a four out of five star rating and the review will be in The Tales of the Talisman when the magazine is available to the public, due any day. But, the review did note the problem with the missing italics. I don't know if it would have helped if I would have explained the problem to the editor before he reviewed the story or not. When I did later, after reading an advance copy of the review (already at the printer) he replied that the review was written for potential readers regardless.

I've been living with this secret for a couple of months. Just like in group therapy, and hopefully on this thread, it feels good and frees the soul to disclose. Plus, a super cool thing happened because of this dilemma that I've been struggling with each time that I asked for a review. The owner of the press that published my novel formally told the owner of the magazine that my novel will be reprinted later this summer, in part, to restore the missing italics.

Until the reprint, however, I will just have to live with the dilemma and my biggest fear of if I do or if I do not inform potential reviewers abut the missing italics.

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Post by zeldas_lullaby » 20 Jul 2015, 15:49

Wow. I feel your pain. I really do. I'm glad the book's going to be republished!!

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