Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I Just don't Know

I don’t know. The more I learn about what I don’t know about writing fiction, and the more blogs about writing that I read, the more I find myself staying away from my book. I am almost afraid to touch it. What if I make it worse? I don’t know where to even start making it better. I suppose this is a “block” of some sort, or more like paralyzed by fear? Good people in blogosphere I need advice. My book is a first draft at this point, and I can see that it’s not up to par. It needs a lot of work. Obviously! Maybe I think it needs more work than it does. Maybe I need more confidence. ARGH! I don’t know!

I read a post the other day that sort of broke the editing process down into steps. I’m thinking this is how you’d avoid feeling as overwhelmed as I do right now. Any good books or recent blog posts that might help? Does anyone else ever feel this way or am I an anomaly?

Wow, I feel good for getting all of that out! I think there is a certain freedom in admitting that you just don't know.


DebraLSchubert said...

Yes, there is freedom in not knowing, and you might be an anomaly, but not because of this! Hang in there, take a deep breath, and know this: you are a writer. That's why you're feeling unsure. Questioning yourself and your writing is par for the course. Sometimes we feel jubilant, and sometimes we feel we couldn't write a cohesive sentence if Charles Manson held a gun to our head.

So, relax, go take a nice walk, eat some chocolate, and/or go shopping. Do something to make yourself feel better and trust that you've got what it takes. Because, you know what? You do.;-)

Lady Glamis said...

Traci, remember the LAYERS. That's how I always think of it. I am 20 pages away from finishing your novel, and I have lots of advice and comments, so no worries! You're got a great start! The skeleton is there. Now it's just time to start building and shaping.

I'm just one person, but I'm hear to help in any way I can. :)

Litgirl01 said...

Debra - you are such a love! Thank you so much for taking the time to write such an inspirational message! It means a lot!! :-)

Michelle - how in the world do you find time to do all that you do? Thank you so much for FIRST DRAFT!!! lol I look forward to your comments and suggestions...I am glad that you are sharing your wisdom with me! I am more than ready to grow as a writer!

Martin Willoughby said...

You NEVER know enough about writing...EVER. Partly because you always change, partly because you always learning new words/phrases and ways to do things but mostly because you're

Accept that it will never be perfect, do your best, get it to an acceptable standard and then send it off.

Just like I don't do. ;-)

Stephanie said...

I don't think we'd be writers if we didn't doubt everything we did. I do not know of one completely confident writer out there...okay, maybe just one...I recently met a published author (relative of a friend of mine) and I really learned some great things from her. Basically she helped me realize I need to be a bolder person than I am. I was taking baby steps..but now I need to take giant steps. I need to make my presence known.

Do you have a critique group you can meet with in real life?? When I found mine, I found my writing soul mates. They are amazing and help me find flaws in my story that I didn't realize were there.

Do you ever read you manuscript out loud?? It's amazing how easily you can find flaws that way!

The Screaming Guppy said...

My biggest advice is putting it away before you start editing. I dropped mine for two months, and it's the best thing I think I've ever done for my writng.

It killed me to wait that long - but I just worked on another WIP to keep my mind off Hound.

As for editing...yeah, it sucks. LOL! But Michelle is right - think in layers and things will be easier. When you get there. :)

Kate Karyus Quinn said...

It seems like you are just having a very normal moment of doubt. If your novel is in its first draft then I am sure there are lots of things that still need to be improved, but I am also certain that there is a lot there that is working for your book. Maybe right now, focus on what is working, and then you can move onto to fixing what isn't.

And if this is the book that you have the blurb for in your sidebar - it sounds like you have a really cool story there! Anyway, good luck!

Davin Malasarn said...

Editing is hard. It's really, really hard. It will take you a long time. And, sometimes, you'll probably end up making your story worse.

That's all okay. If you mess up, forgive yourself and try again. If it takes too long, remember that every little change you make, brings the book closer to being great.

scott g.f. bailey said...

My novel has gone through five major revisions. Before beginning each rewrite, I had a moment of terror, certain that I was about to ruin a servicable novel. Once I got going, that feeling went away. Though be warned that it comes back again when you're in the last chapter or so before the end of the book, and you'll be sure you've ruined the whole thing and you'll put off finishing your revisions. Just push forward despite your worries.

My recommended second step for a revision (because you've already done Step One, ignore the novel for a while and congrats on having strength to do that): read it all the way through like a reader, taking notes in a notebook or something. But just read it through once to see how it strikes you, pretending as best as you can that you've never seen this book in your life and it's all new to you.

Windsong said...


This is one of the hardest parts for me. I hate doing revisions. But the good news is that they make the story so much better. For me, it was a matter of breaking it down to doable goals. I decide a certain number of pages that I go through and revise each day. Still not fun, but doable. Right now I write 500 words a day on a new novel, let the novel I finished percolate, and revise 5 pages of a previous novel. Helps keep things fresh and gives me something to shoot for. I often go past the 5 pages, but the hardest part (for me) in doing revisions is actually sitting down and doing it. Kind of like writing the novel in the first place. ;-)

beth said...

Good luck! And I totally sympathize!!!

Litgirl01 said...

Thank you all for your wonderful responses. :-) I have been away from the manny for quite a few weeks now. I think I'm going to start reading the printed version this weekend. I guess I just need to start somewhere.