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How come I stop?

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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
How come I stop?  Reply with quote  

Ferrit Leggings writes:

Why is it when ever I share what I write with anyone I feel the need to stop writing or change direction? If I get a meh review I stop and do something else, which is sort of self explanatory but when I get a good one, like recently, I stop working. I do this a lot. I am just getting back into the story but it is taking a lot of work to do so. It is as though I donít want anyone knowing what I am up to with what I am writing. Is this normal?

thanks and ta,

Dear FL:

Make no mistake, writing, like any art form, is like performance. When you get your reaction from the audience, you've gotten your satisfaction. (Even if it's a lackluster review.) A bad review can stop you in your tracks because it drains you of your confidence, and a good review drains you of your momentum, because that ego/artist part of you is saying "mission accomplished". I have a similar reaction, although I tend to go back to the page with a good review, taking advantage of the momentum, but staying away if I get a bad review. (Again, the confidence thing.)

So you've already diagnosed the problem. (I have a whole rant about people who point out the problem without providing a solution. Contrary to popular belief, identifying the problem is not half of solving it.) Anyway, the solution is, don't show anyone your stuff until you're finished. If you must have the feedback, then you have to live with the fact that you always stop, but I'd suggest getting a full first draft before you show anyone anything. (Wow, do I say that a lot or what?)

Also, if you must show your work in progress to people, you can ask them to react in only a limited way. Like, "All I want to know is do I lose you anywhere?". Or make sure you're well past the point in the work that you gave them. For instance, show them chapter 4 when you're finishing up chapter 8. That way you don't have to start the next day with their comments in your head dictating where you will (or will not) go.

Finally, it is damn hard work in a vacuum. Remember Paul R. stomping off a few weeks ago because no one commented on his humorous posts. That's not unusual to have that feeling that you'd like to tap the mike and scream, "Is this thing on?" I'm not sure how to get past that feeling, except perhaps to say, "I will not stop writing because of a review." Be resolved.

If it were easy, everyone would do it.

Post Wed Jun 08, 2005 10:43 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Ferrit Leggings

Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 2658
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i thought a bit about this and I was the same with painting and photography. I would never show people what I was doing and I finished things a lot quicker.

thank you again

I feel the same way about disco as I do about herpes. -HST

Post Thu Jun 09, 2005 2:43 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website

Joined: 10 Aug 2004
Posts: 6381
Location: Michigan
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I have the same problem with my music. I wrote a song called Inside, Outside. It's a great song. I know because everyone who has heard it loves it. However, it only has one verse and it needs at least 2 more...but I have absolutely no will to write the lyrics.

There are other situations in my songwriting and recording where this happens, which is why my next CD has taken so long (and will be some time yet).
Twitter: jefftunes

Post Thu Jun 09, 2005 11:16 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail

Joined: 02 Mar 2005
Posts: 952
Location: Northeast U.S
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When I started writing i had a bit of paranoia about that... I definitely agree about waiting at least until you have a full draft with short stories, and a chunk of a draft with a novel... AG is dead on about the other peoples comments getting stuck in your head a changing the direction of the piece unless you already have a firm idea about where its going.

I have to admit though that once I get excited about an idea its like, the only thing i can talk about, much to the irritation of my non-writer pals Smile (yet another reason why critique groups are uber important...)

Speaking of premature writing discussion.... (this probably belongs in news and noise, but what the hell) I was recently asked to do a poetry book in collaboration with Kathy Morrow for - Its grass roots press, and this will be the first book of poetry, so we are uber-excited... plus so far we've been having a blast with the writing...

We don't have a pub date yet as we are still in the draft process... but I mention it because lately I've been doing a lot of collaborating and it has been keeping me writing, including on my solo work- which totally kicks ass... I think in another thread someone mentioned that collaboration works that way for them as well...

Okay- so I am babbling... and slightly off topic... So um, I'll stop now Wink

Sleep Deprivation is Fun!

Post Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:17 am   View user's profile Send private message
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