Wednesday, 8 June 2011

What to write?

My biggest problem with writing is not the writing itself.  My biggest problem is with WHAT to write.  I seems simple enough, right?  No, not at all.  In the dark recesses of my mind there are many different stories, scenes and possibilities looming, just waiting to pounce.  These ideas are extremely cruel sometimes.  They only show themselves once I am well on the way with a completely unrelated story.

So I have been having some second thoughts about my little brand new Work in Progress.  It occurred to me that many of the ideas I have are not my own at all.  They are snippets from someone else's great idea.  My characters are based on other people, my plots have been done before and my great villain is just another rat.  When I realised that my work seems reduced, reused and recycled, I wanted to lose all hope in writing.  I mean, what is the point of writing, if you are just writing crap?

Luckily the dump I was in lasted for less than a day.  At some point I knew that I could not stop writing.  I did not want to stop writing at all.  Even if what I wrote was crap, I liked it.  I liked the process, the challenge and the jubilation at being able to do what I wanted.

Have you ever felt like you could just stop writing becuase you are writing badly?  That is no reason to stop!  I always write badly.  I am a scientist, so all my writing is focused on getting the point accross with as little hassle as possible.  I am also a technical writer.  There is no room for writing flowery descriptions in technical writing.  This affects my creative writing.  I cannot change who I am.  I cannot change the kind of writer that I am.  And it is nobody's bloody business if I write the way I write.  I am not writing premarliy to publish, I write because I am a writer, for no other reason.

I am going to try getting some exercise in writing for the sake of writing.  No plots, no predefined characters.  Just write whatever comes out of my head.  That is the most fun way to write, anyway.  And tonight, when I get a chance to write for my WiP, I may be able to show, not tell.  Maybe, just maybe, I can write well.  But if I don't, so what?  Who is going to care?

Do you also feel like you are writing badly?  How do you manage the frustration?


  1. Hehehe my friend, you are yet to meet your internal editor.

    IEs make everyone feel like they suck.

    That's why I write by hand at the start. Mostly.

  2. Good luck with your writing; don't be so hard on your wip. ;)
    The feeling that you've read it or seen it before is natural - people have been writing, basically, the same stories since scribbles meant ideas.
    They say it is the treatment and the voice that makes the work unique.

  3. Thanks, Elaine. That really means a lot to me. Misha: you know how bad my IE gets. I try to ignore it most of the time.

  4. If I'm getting too terribly (love that phrase) frustrated, then I stop writing for a bit. Then I come back, reread what I wrote, fix any errors, then rock on.

    That works for my short stories anyways.

  5. I get what your pessimistic half says. I remember when I did my first novel I was sure it was ... very, very bad... And some parts of it truly was!
    I got the worst removed before I let the first person read it. She liked it. I felt a bit better, but she could just be playing nice.
    Two people later I started to trust that I was not that terrible. I wasn't really sure till a stranger - some one I meet via a bookclub - told me she loved my story, she had even made some fanart to go with it.

    Remember that you have to start writing for yourself - worry about other people later.

  6. Thanks for the tip, Brooke.
    Zenne, I haven't yet had the lovely chance to hear someone say my work is really good. Probably because I don't show it to anyone. It is still in an early stage, anyway. But yes, I agree. I need to first write for myself.