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richbaldwin

I want it fun again

I want it fun again

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Here's something I can't figure out, and it's really getting to me. I could use some advice.

Why is it that I love writing, until I start to take it seriously? I mean, when I'm just thinking it will be fun to write something then it's fun. When I think that I'll be showing it to someone, who may or may not like it, and that I might want to do something with it . . .. I'm seriously contemplating the Emily Dickinson Route to Success here, people. Recommendations?
  • My guess is that you're having trouble putting distance between yourself and your work. It's something I struggle with -- the idea that "people don't like my story"= "people don't like me." It's easy to do, when we put so much of ourselves into our writing.

    I've actually found that our critique group is helping with that a lot. I mean, it's nice to have my group of Eager Alpha Readers (which include two of my very best friends and my husband), who will all eagerly read what I write, but I know they like me anyway. Sharing my work with people I've never met face to face was pretty scary at first, but I'm starting to feel more confident now that I know you all a little.

    The other thing that I could recommend is (when possible) to let your work sit for a while before you let people read it. That helps put a little more distance between you and what you've written, too.

    Does any of that help?
    • I understand that sentiment, and have felt it from time to time, but that's not it here. Yeah, that can be tough too, but it's not the big issue I'm dealing with right now.

      I think it's more that I have all these ambitions; I want to be a great writer, at least as much as I want to write well. This, I am told, is not how a writer 'should' be, because it is a recipe for misery. Unfortunately I can't seem to change that. If I were a more egomaniacal writer this might still work out; at least I'd think I was great, and maybe that would fuel me until I'd work up to becoming great. Unfortunately (or not?) I don't like ego, and I tend to be afraid of my ambition in general. So I pressure myself to do well, but I don't handle pressure so prettily. And I haven't yet found a reliable way to turn off the pressure.

      I'd *much* rather have fun writing than be ambitious about it - but I'm starting to think maybe in my case I just better embrace the ambition? It's not gone away since I got serious about the subject, and I just can't not be serious about the subject . . ..

      By way: it's great that you're feeling more confident sending your stuff out to us. You should! It's a tough thing, sending out your writing to people you don't know, you're right about that. One of the great things about sf community, I think, is how easy it is to connect to others, and therefore find ways to feel more comfortable showing around your stuff. You can meet editors at parties, for instance, and have conversations with them - in what other genre is that going to happen so often?

      One thing that really helped me lately was having met some of the pro authors, who I looked up to like gods, and finding out how human they are. If they're real people, struggling along to make a dime telling the best stories they can, then maybe I can manage the same. Maybe that's, in the end, going to be the cure for this problem of ambition. That or I'll decide being a writer's no longer so cool, and I should just skip to godhood instead . . ..
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