Tuesday, February 9, 2010

My Friend Jack

My friend Jack has reared his ugly head once again gentle readers...as in, I don't know Jack. Some of you may be unfamiliar with this phrase, it means... I don't know ANYTHING.

Questions from the past posts on being smaht and what makes us, me in particular, smaht, don't seem to cut the mustard anymore. (I'm full of cliches today, sorry.) I've been blogging around and have read some absolutely phenomenol stories, clips, snippets of work by other people and I am just so wholly down-hearted. It's not that I don't like my work, my stories anymore, it's just that they're just not smaht enough. Perhaps it's my genre -- historical romance -- some consider that FLUFF. Perhaps it's the way I can't tell one POV from another. I don't know. Maybe it's because I was so hyped up on the partial request that now I'm in the bewilderment stage, wondering if and when they're going to get around to reading it. Maybe I'm heading for PMS again. Who knows. (This whole menopause thing is killing me. Sorry all you men out there.) I mean, for God's sake, I spelled segue wrong yesterday, although I do blame it on the fact it was 6am when I wrote that and only had one cup of caffeine in me and so didn't bother to look it up, but...c'mon, that's just dumb. I know how to spell it. What is wrong with me?

I'm just feeling stupid these days. I'm feeling like I should go back to the restaurant and hang up my pen. I'm feeling like being a quitter. However my stubborn Taurean self won't let me until I have completely wrung this bad boy out for everything it's worth. Do you feel like this? Is it just me? I know it's not, I've read enough blogs that we writers go through this crazy "I'm not good enough" phase. When does it end?

It also could be that I got into a blog where the woman said it took her seven years to be published. SEVEN FREAKING YEARS. I can't wait that long. I just can't. I have patience, I'm a Taurus, but my patience wears thin after awhile. I know I'm supposed to be writing my second book and I am (blissfully this morning Small One was back at school and I wrote almost 2000 words) but I'm having trouble with it because I have to do research...and I hate research in the middle of writing, it slows me down. I want to write it and be done with it. But I can't.

I apologize for being such a bummer today but I can't be all shiny happy all the time. It's not in me. I was born a pessimist. And Jack has come knocking once again.

My question to you gentle readers is...what the heck do you do when you feel like this? And does chocolate really help?


Erin Kuhns said...

Oh, do I HEAR ya!I find that I'm struggling with those feelings all the time! I get these little bursts of confidence; thoughts of "Yes! I'm just as good as anyone else. I can do this!" but then inevitably (and always sooner than later) it all tumbles down into a pile of muddy "I suck."

Early February I decided to make myself a goal for the month--just for the month of February: to fake it til I make it. (You can go read it on my blog: Musings of a Writer Chick Living in Paradise: Fake it til you make it...I tried to make it a link, but I don't think I can link it on a comment). Anyway, it's my post on Feb. 1.

I find that reading all of these blogs is 85% inspiring and 15% deflating. I read all of the good stuff out there and I start to compare myself and my writing to all of these fantastic bloggers (like yourself). And in my own warped perception, I question my own abilities ALL. the. time.

But one thing I find the most -- crap. At this moment, I just spilled my breakfast all over the floor. Gotta go. This is not starting off as a great day...

Erin Kuhns said...

(God, I'm glad I have dogs who are so happy to clean spilled bacon and eggs up off the floor!)

So to finish my thought...The one thing I find the most inspiring of all is how all of these writers support one another. Each person is at a different point in their own journey; some are oozing with confidence--some are struggling through each day; some are questioning and some are forging straight ahead and not looking back. But wherever they're at, they're all supporting one another. And that is what I keep holding onto.

Having others who share their own struggles really helps keep things in perspective sometimes. You're not alone; keep plugging away. I know you have offered some real inspiration to me and I'm sure I'm not the only one.

Piedmont Writer said...

Thank you Erin. I used to call this the "mid-winter blues" and perhaps this is what it is, but it's just about killing me. And I did read your blog. Trouble is I've been doing that for awhile now and I think time's run out.

I know this is just a phase I'm going through, and everybody does, I just hate, hate, hate it. I'm trying to stay positive, focused, sure of where my next step is supposed to be...It's just hard. And not being an optimistic person by nature, it's easy for me to fall into the "I suck" emotional vacuum.

As for being an inspiration...I don't know about that. I don't think I've ever considered myself to be that awesome that I could inspire someone else to their goals. However, thank you for the very kind compliment.

Tara said...

First: If there's anything I follow religiously, it's my cycle. *Sigh* I always know if I will be writing crap or wow depending on what week it is ;-/ So, it very well be that for you right now.

2nd-I'm going to link my favorite blog post ever. (Well, sort of, can't link in comments, so you'll have to c/p it .
That post turned a very bright bulb on inside my head: It's not just me! Aha!

And finally, I get down sometimes when I read others snips as well. But, you have to take into consideration some things. Is it the same genre as yours? Is it the technical writing, or style that's different? (That's huge!) Also, look at the published books out there: So many published bestselling authors are toted as terrible writers. But, who's saying this? Uptight, grammar/techie folks, mostly, I would guess. A good strong story, concrete plot and solid writing are what sells a book for consumers. If you're writing was crappy, you would not have a request for a partial. Agents aren't beta readers--they do this for a living. They know what sells.
You can also take heart in your genre, it's a huge seller. And, the writing style is very different from all others; a lot of "normal" writing rules can be broken in that category (at least in my reading experience of the genre they are).
The best advice I have received is to just go through and look at every single ing verb an see if you can restructure the sentence and make it a stronger verb--do the same with every adverb. My Aries-ness (yeah, whatever, lol) fought hard against that one, but I did it, and boy what a difference it made!
The best thing I've done, is to push my Aries-ness (no, I refuse to say stubborness. I am not stubborn. And nothing will convince me otherwise ;p ) down and really listen to all the advice i've been given, really read through the critiques of my works and take everything into consideration. Sure, some of it is just personal nits that eventually I throw aside, but a lot of it is solid advice that I needed.

Good grief. I can go on and on and on...
Point being: Writing is one of those things, sure you need some naturally abilit for, but it can e learned and molded, and made better with practice. Don't ever quit.

And, I refuse to reread this to check for mistakes and see if my babbling makes any sense...so there. Take that grammar freaks.

Tara said...

Wow. One of those weird things just happened. Right after here, I went to Rachelle Gardner's blog. Not sure if you've read it, or follow it, but she has posted precisely what I just tried to tell you--only coherently. Here you go:

Davin Malasarn said...

I hope you feel better, Anne. I get into these moods all the time, perhaps even more often now than I did when I started writing. But, I've also learned that it passes. I just accept these lapses in confidence now, knowing that in a day or two I will be fine. You will be too!

Nicole Ducleroir said...

I feel the same way as you, a LOT of the time. I doubt my talent, I doubt my creativity, and it's usually after reading spectacular writing by another person. It's natural to make comparisons, but it isn't fair. I love pineapple and I love pistachios. How unfair would it be to say I don't love pineapple as much because it isn't salty? Or how about holding it against the pistachio because it isn't juicy?

No one, NO ONE, can write like you. And if hearing that doesn't help today, eat some chocolate. Hell, eat some chocolate anyways. Mmmm, chocolate...I wonder if I have any in the house...

((hugs)) Nicole

Piedmont Writer said...

Thanks Tara -- I know it's only a phase, I know I'm just being crazy and you're probably right, it's PMS. I also know I'll be over this in a few days, I just need to get my head screwed on right. And thanks for the links, they were great. Just what I needed.

Thanks Davin -- hey, do you think Mr. Bailey ever goes through this?

Nicole -- I try not to make comparisons but I can't help it. Some days it's just harder than others. Some days I don't read my favorite blogs because the writing is so FANTASTIC I jsut get overwhelmed. (Have you seen the stuff Sarah Jayne has been doing lately, it's enough to make me cry.) But I do have chocolate, a whole half gallon of ice cream, and caramels for sauce, and some Oreo's and some M&M's so I think I might make it through. Of course I may be in a diabetic coma after it but hey, whatever works you know.

And by the way Tara, I don't care about typo's unless they're in a manuscript.

Shelley Sly said...

Hey, I've seen you around the blog world quite a bit, but this is my first time stopping by.

I'm yet another writer who feels the same way you do, and very frequently. I was in a little bubble for a while, writing and editing away, and then I started a blog. Now I've been reading about other writers' successes, and I'm thinking, "Am I good enough? Is there room for me to join them on that victory train, or is this a wake up call?"

I'm going to echo Nicole in that we all write differently, and one writer may not necessarily be better than another, but just different.

You have a nice blog here, and I can tell that you do write well. Hope to see you around!

Falen said...

ugh. for me, i just wait it out. If that means not doing any writing, then it means not doing any writing. It'll pass. Sometimes it takes longer, but it'll go away, or you'll read something that will get you excited again and you'll be back at it.

Lady Glamis said...

Davin's right - this is just part of being a writer. When this happens to me I STOP READING BLOGS. That always makes everything worse to be comparing yourself to everyone else. I do this way too much. Chocolate helps, yes. So do fries and anything else that's not good for me, usually.


Hang in there, sweetie. Publishing is slow. I hate to say that to you, but right now it's just not a fast market. You're way ahead of the game in a lot of instances, though. No worries. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

Shelley -- Thanks for stopping by, I'm always into new people and sharing experiences. I didn't start blogging until I finished my MS last summer so I know what a bubble is. Some days it's about success and some days it's about failure, they go hand in hand in this business...unfortunately today happens to be about freaking out failure. Sorry about that.

Hey Sarah -- I wish I had your level headedness. But as you know I'm over the top and certainly a drama queen -- hate it but kind of can't help it. Although I must say, I am working on this kind of article thingy that might be something when it's finished. You'll be able to read it here first. (I think, unless I get to publish it where I want to first, then you can read it here second.)

Piedmont Writer said...

Dearest Glam -- thanks for the hugs. But like I told Sarah, and on the blog tomorrow, I'm working on something kind of cool I think everyone may enjoy. I've got this idea, I've just got to write it the right way, you know.

And I'm learning how to speak more computer. I can post for tomorrow without getting up at 6am anymore. yay me.

Dominique said...

Well, I don't know about chocolate, but in positions like this, I find myself sucking down teas like they're liquid oxygen (if that comparison even makes a lick of sense). I prefer decaf teas, but some folks seem to love the coffee juice (it comes from a cherry, ergo I get to call it a juice) and who am I to judge.

sarahjayne smythe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sarahjayne smythe said...

Sorry for the delete. Mea culpa, my bad.

Let's try this again. :)

Please don’t apologize for being down and venting about it. You’re entitled. And you were a cheerleader for me when I was whining about my own shortcomings and fears. I question myself and my worth as a writer all the time. I live in the ‘I suck’ vacuum.

Nicole is right. It’s not fair to you to compare yourself to anyone else because your voice is unique, no one writes like you.

And please don’t stop coming to my place. I noticed you weren’t around the last couple of days and I wondered where you were. I’d feel terrible thinking I made you feel bad.

If it’s any consolation, now that the first two of the nine challenges are finished, I can’t get the third one written to save my life. It won’t listen and do what I want it to do, so I’ll probably be an epic fail at the challenge.

We can both have some chocolate. :)

Piedmont Writer said...

Dominique -- I've got this vanilla black tea from Twinings that I've been overdosing on. With the right amount of sugar and milk it tastes like a candy my grandmother used to have stashed in her cupboard when I was a kid. Pure nirvana.

Sarah Jayne -- I think a lot of it has to do with my genre...Regency Romance. You know how they say, every story has been written, well, it pretty much has. I know (I think) I have a pretty good voice, I know I've written a pretty good story, I don't think it's been done before, but still, I'm going through the depression after the query. Especially since the agent asked for a partial. I don't know why I thought they would read it as soon as they got it, I mean, you know, I sent it as soon as they asked for it. What's up with the waiting game? I'm frustrated that's all.

And as for not going to your blog -- Yeah, I wanted to apologize for that. It's not you, it's me. I know how fantastically gorgeous your writing is and I didn't want to fall deeper into the pit of despair. I'm not comparing myself to you, God knows I can't, I just didn't want to read you. I was afraid you would make me cry again, and I've been trying not to for the last couple of days. I also thought I should read all the entries at one time, in case they were connected. I like to see things as a whole. (When I critique I have to have several chapters or the whole ms, I can't do chapter by chapter.) Don't worry, I'll be over. I can't stay away. Reading you is liking reading heroin, I need a fix every day.

Kristi Faith said...

Yes those days/weeks/months where I feel like a complete idiot. Watch a few episodes of The Girls Next Door and you'll feel brilliant again. :)