Monday, November 27, 2006

Comparing, or her's is better than mine.

I've become quite unhappy with my writing lately. I know I shouldn't be but I am.

I think it all started about a week ago when I read Deborah LeBlanc's first book Family Inheritance. It isn't often I sit and read until I'm finished with a book. In fact, I have two started that I haven't picked up in weeks. They just don't do "it" for me...whatever "it" is. Then Thursday I read Deborah's second book, Grave Intent and became quite unhappy with my writing.

When I finished the book, I had several questions. For example, how did she weave plot, setting, narrative, dialogue and all the other bits and pieces together so well? How did she make me forget about the real world and join her characters in theirs? I'm a very quick reader...yet at times I couldn't read the pages fast enough. Most importantly, I wanted to know how to do those things in my writing. There must be some secret I don't know about right?

In chat last night, Mary happened to mention that comparing your writing to another's was asking for writer's block. And that is exactly what I've done. I've looked so much at the negative in my writing this past week or so that the joy is gone. So now what do I do?

First, I look back and see how far I've come and how much I've improved. I'm going to read the last couple rejection letters I've gotten with personal comments and invitations to send more to them. Then, I'm going to plant myself in front of the puter and write.

I think the last is most important. Writing is what makes us better writers. Just as my son gets better the more he practices the piano, I get better by writing.

I'm also going to get Deborah's third book. And I'm going to read and enjoy her mastery of the craft. Then I'm going to go write some more and one of these days my readers will lose themselves in my character's world too.



Sadie said...

Thanks, Speck. I needed that more then you will know. I hit a brick wall of hating my writing last night...after being thrilled with what I'd written recently, I couldn't manage a new word I was now disgusted with it all. I'll take your advice to heart and have another go at it today!!


Jean said...

I haven't really written anything new for two weeks. I did the conference report for Mary but that isn't really creating.

I tend to put too much pressure on myself to write well. And that pressure causes a block also. But sometimes it is just so hard to relax and write. Especially when I can see flaws.

But...since I can't quit writing, I'll just keep pecking away and getting better with each word.

Mary tells me all the time, "It isn't for a grade." So...relax, it isn't for a grade, write and enjoy it.


Oh, I'm back at it this morning...things are going well again:--)

Anonymous said...

Awww Speck...hit the nail on the head again!
Somewhere in the Bible we are warned against comparing ourselves against ourselves. It's a dangerous thing to do...but we all do it don't we?
But, there was something right in what you did too kiddo. You found a writer that you not only enjoyed reading, but you learned from as well. You wondered how and why she did things. Study her, read her again, and again until you learn how she does it. Then close her book and write your own.
God bless you girl. You are a true inspiration.

Cheryl said...

Great post Speck. You're right, comparing yourself to another writer is destined to cause problems. I find sometimes even as I critique the stories of others, I say to myself, "Why can't I write like that?"

But I am not them, and they are not me. Our styles and interests are different. It is usually at that time that I write a bit of a fan fic, which I can almost always do. So last night, I wrote a bit of the next chapter in my Doctor Quinn fan fic, and I should be able to get back to my NaNo project today - assuming life behaves itself.

Thanks for the inspiration Speck. I know I can always count on you to get me moving.


madhatter said...

Self-loathing seems to be a thing writers are so-o-o-o-o good at. I am no exception. Comparing my writing to someone else's is about as helpful as wishing I looked like a model.
Sometimes, the need to draw comparisons makes it impossible to enjoy reading. How sad!