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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Do I really have anything to say? (Insecure Writer's group #2)

Hello, why yes, I am an insecure writer on so many sad, sad levels. This blog hop was created by Alex J Cavanaugh  as a way to provide Insecure Writers Support .  I totally stole those links because I still have been too lazy to learn to do it. Except that it isn't really laziness, technology frustrates me in that things that seem pretty easy to others often elude me. People have offered to help but I'm worried if they try to show me and I can't get it, I'll look stupid. I have spent at least an hour trying to figure it out before, but like some of the higher math classes, some concepts seem to hit a brick wall in my head which leaves me jumping on the other side trying to see over it and all I get is tired and frustrated.

I'm feeling like that about writing too. I finished nano and part of me is excited about getting in there to do some clean up but then another part of me asks if there is any point to it? My pattern seems to be to work at something for a little while and then I just want to be done. That would be fine if, five drafts in, my work was published, critically lauded, and sending me royalties (really, I'd be happy with the first and last or actually just the first).

Most of the time, I send it off, hoping that it is good enough so I can stop revising, and it usually isn't. Which then makes me wonder if it is just that my stories will never be clean enough to communicate my ideas. Or is it something even more horrible?

Could my ideas suck? Maybe nothing I write has any real substance. Other kind writers and friends clap me on the back (metaphorically speaking) and say they love the stories but the rejections keep coming. After paying for an editor to give me suggestions and revising it accordingly, my YA novel (my first nano novel) was rejected by over 30 agents. Not all of them requested the full novel but at least five of them did before rejecting various versions. I made so many "Improvements" in that book, not knowing what wasn't working, that it is a mess now.  I shudder when I think about going back to try to clean it up. Not to mention that the request is not to resubmit to the same agent and I don't think there are any left that do YA that I didn't hit up at one point or another in the revision process.

So I move on to the next project. I've been published a few times on my short stories ( a very small percentage given the amount that I have submitted) so I think that maybe I need to only focus there.  Only, every short story is part of a novel in my head. The question becomes will anyone but me ever care if I don't write the stories? I know it is perseverence, dedication, and hard work that make it happen but I've had a long, dry spell and I'm feeling a bit parched.


  1. Do you belong to a critique group? If you can't find one locally look for one online - it's hard to go it alone. If you're happy with your book look into self publishing. I wasn't impressed with the traditional publishing industry.

  2. Adding to Cozy's question, do you have several critique partners? And have you started sending directly to publishers? There are a lot of them out there that take direct submissions.
    I get tired of working on something after a while as well. It's tough to keep the enthusiasm going.

  3. I agree with Alex. Critique partners will help. It's great you got that response from some agents for your first novel. Usually I just tell people the first novel is practice! I know the tired feeling. I haven't went back to my novel after November, but I know I really need to finish it.

  4. Maybe you should do what I do with quilts. Get 'em finished, then give them as gifts! Just kidding.

    I look forward to the day when you look back on this and say "Wow, things have improved so much, that I can't believe it was ever this bad. I'm so glad I stuck with it." Or gave it up - you choose. (again, kidding

  5. Oh, Nancy, I feel your pain. How to stop those negative voices inside our heads that drive us to distraction and make us think we're not worth doing what we want to do. Try telling them to go away and just keep at it. And thanks so much for your visit and comment on my blog.

  6. I'm right there with Cozy, Alex, and Christine - find some folks to critique your work. Which reminds me, I think I have something in my email I need to look at.

  7. Thanks for the feedback. I do have a critique group although as I moved recently it has been harder to do the traditional get together thing. Plus, we more do short stories than novels.

    Ann, I think I have the exact sweater you are wearing in your picture.

    Alex, I think I did send to a couple of publishers and got some nicely worded form rejections but that is a good suggestion.

    Christine R, thanks for the support and since it is only Dec 7, I think you can cut yourself some slack on the november work but it is always so much easier to cut others slack than ourselves, isn't it?

    Christine T, I do enjoy the quilt and don't think I haven't gifted. I considered only writing for my kids because they would be a captive audience.

    Karen, if only I could get those voices to work for good.

    Rusty, as usual only as you have time. I joined Critters again tonight because it was pretty useful to me a few years ago.

  8. Critiques are huge. Find yourself a great critique partner, one you know and trust, and a few betas, too. Then every time you finish a draft, send it to one of them. Most of the feedback will be helpful. They'll catch what you're missing and you will feel a renewal for your writing.

  9. Nancy, I am sorry to hear this! I do think a writer's group would help.
    I am trying to get into one now, but it seems more a social hour. I think we have to find the right group that fits us. I think you should work on a few short stories, tuck the book away. Keep it, but walk away for a bit. You need a time out and something new to stimulate your senses. Sometimes another art form will do just that!

  10. I wish I had something useful to say that didn't echo everyone else, but all I've got is 'hang in there' :-)

  11. Hope you don't get tired of people asking if you have crit partners.

    Even if you can't meet them in person, online crit partners are worth having. All my CPs except one are virtual and I call them close friends though we've never met in person.

  12. Oh, honey, you aren't alone. My first book scheduled for publication is my 7th that I wrote (and my 6th is on submission)--it just takes time and practice. I recommend 2 things:

    1) get involved in actively critiquing for others. You can learn SO MUCH about what works and doesn't when you look at somebody else's not-quite-done work.

    2) enter that finished YA in the Amazon Breakthrough contest this year. You have time to go back a couple versions and think fresh what is needed, but if you were getting requests for fulls, chances are good it will advance a ways. It is GREAT comaraderie and you get some great feedback.

  13. Thanks ER, I just got some feedback from part of my critique group and I do believe it will make my work so much stronger. The whole group meets on the 15th.

    Ella, it is tempting to socialize in the writing group because those people get me in a way non-writer people do not.

    Thanks Sarah, it's always nice to know someone is listening.

    Lydia, that is good advice. I signed up for an online critique group this week.

    Hart, wow that is both inspiring and a little scary. You have to have such determination to take a novel to submission ready seven times without publication. I hope I can keep pushing like that and that in the end all of yours will be out there to read. Can't wait to read your first pub.