Wednesday, 5 June 2013

The circle of insecurity

I'm taking a break from my blog tour to drop in on this month's IWSG. If you want to take part, click on the logo in the side bar somewhere over there on the right to take you to the linky list to visit other members and to sign up for yourself  --->

So, I'm currently in the middle of edits and rewrites - and this is the little voice in my head:

"This novel's great... this novel's terrible... actually it's not bad... no it really is terrible..."

Sometimes I love it - the voice is compelling, there's tension and conflict. The characters are unique and interesting. And boy, I'm using fantastic vocabulary. I'm a genius!

And then, at other times, I think the story sucks, the characters too bizarre to be identified with, the premise is silly, someone must have told this story better and with more depth than I'm giving it, I'm not making my point clearly enough.

And all of this can happen within a few hours. The morning goes well and the words are flowing - but then I stop for lunch and suddenly I'm writing the worst novel in the whole of human history.

It's okay though, because tomorrow it'll be great again. It's a circle after all...



66 comments:

  1. I think I'm on the list, well I was last month, yes, life seems to be a circle one way or another.

    Yvonne.

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    1. Circles are so neat though - I should really have described it as a wibbly-wobbly mess :-)

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  2. I go through this too. I go round and round in circles so much I feel dizzy. If you figure out how to stop it, let me know.

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    1. The only sure-fire way to stop it is to stop writing. So, I think we're stuck with the circles :-)

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  3. Yeah, this is me when I read my work. Sometimes it seems quite good, others it seems terrible.

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    1. I suppose it's a good thing - it makes us try hard to be better - it just doesn't seem like it at the time!

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  4. I do the exact same thing. I usually spent more time in the 'terrible' half of the cycle.

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    1. No, that's no good - you deserve to have at least 50% of the time on the 'fantastic' side!!

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  5. Welcome to the club, eh?
    A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people. Thomas Mann

    Hang in there! We can only get better! Or at least that's what I tell myself!
    ~Just Jill

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    1. That Thomas Mann quote is just so apt for my post. Thanks for including it here, now I'll always have it to remind me :-)

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  6. Boy, can I relate to this!

    Have a nice Wednesday. ☺

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    1. I'm very glad I'm not unique on this one!

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  7. I hear you! And even though I remind myself that it's a cycle, it's still so hard to see the positive when caught in that negative downswing.

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    1. Perhaps a circle on the wall might help? Colour it with black for most of it, and a small red segment for the negative bit - just to remind you it won't last! (Oooh, I might actually do that myself!!)

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  8. This is sooooo where I'm at, Annalisa. And now that all of my crit partners have become friends, I often doubt their praise. I mean, they're just being nice to me right? It's like a terrible, but kind-hearted conspiracy and they all have me fooled into thinking I can write, when really I am just wasting my time. Yup, I go around in those circles too.

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    1. Aw no, I'm sure they're still critiquing you in exactly the same way - you just get better and better so there's less to critique :-)

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  9. Oh isn't it amazing how in the same writing session the emotions can alter? Blech-- it can be such a roller coaster and all I can figure is write through it anyway.

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    1. Yes! Why is that? It shouldn't be possible to have such swings of emotion - or allowable!

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  10. I can totally relate. I think everyone who writes can relate. ;) Hopefully you'll be back on the upswing in that circle soon. (And maybe stay there for awhile.) :)

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    1. I've already been up and down a couple of times since I wrote this post :-D

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  11. I hear the same voices. Sometimes my voice screams... "who do you think you are? Writers are brilliant! YOU. ARE. NOT."

    I used to give in to those enemy voices but now I just blow them off. I mean really ... who do they think they are?

    Thanks for a great post that speaks to all of us!

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    1. Learning how to lock up those voices and throw away the key is a really good skill to develop.

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  12. It's a vicious circle all right. Like a ying and yang.

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    1. It would be much more pleasant if it was one of those fairground rides designed for pre-schoolers.

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  13. I do the same thing! Though insecurity often wins...it has stronger arms. But- on the bright side...it makes me pay more attention to detail...I hope.

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    1. That's a good side-effect. Well done for seeing a positive!

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  14. This is just what I'm doing right now. Although I'm doing it every few minutes instead of hours. I am a total basket case LOL.

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    1. It's exhausting when it happens that quickly. A break, a cup of tea and chocolate will set it back to a normal rhythm!

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  15. I go through this crazy up and down cycle. When I was first starting out, I only had the up part during the drafting. I'd draft it, love it, edit it, and send it out. The evil villain voice wouldn't kick in until I got my rejection, and then it just went into a feeding frenzy of "this sucks," and "How could you be so stupid that you didn't even see how badly this sucked?"

    Yeah, I hate those little voices.

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    1. The voice that appears during a rejection is the nastiest of them all. That one really needs bashing over the head with a frying pan!

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  16. Hi Annalisa,

    Ah, the trials and tribulations of a writer. It seems to me you have a certain security within your circle of insecurity. A strengthened circle via the encouragement and support shared. Wishing you well.

    Gary aka "I Was Seeking Gary." :)

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    1. That's very true Gary, we do all have that from each other. And of course I was seeking you, but you found me first :-)

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  17. Oh, that darned circle! We all spend plenty of time there, I'm sure! I bet what you're writing is great, because everything else of yours I've read has been!

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    1. Thanks Linda, but that's because I keep my turkeys in a cupboard :-)

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  18. I'm wondering if artists in other creative fields, like painters or dancers, experience the same? Probably not...
    Writer In Transit

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    1. That's an interesting question, I really don't know. I might have to track some down and ask them!

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  19. Self doubt is always going to be with you. You just have to rise above it, put on some earmuffs and drown it out. I think we 'know' when something is right...don't listen to those voices (unless they're saying good things, of course) :)

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    1. Drown them out with cider, you say - or words to that effect :-) - I'm right on it. Great advice, thank you!!

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  20. Like the circle of life! You just have to enjoy the upswing and endure when it's on the downside.

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    1. While singing the theme song from The Lion King, which I'm now doing because of that phrase! :-)

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  21. This all sounds so familiar! We can hate and love our work and our characters today and tomorrow it is all over. We are unpredictable like that. Best of luck to you.

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    1. Well, it's interesting, if nothing else :-/

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  22. yep - we are on the merry-go-round with you, but it's going too fast to jump off. So, stay on and keep editing and ignore the negative voice in your head. Squelch it with chocolate

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    1. Judging by the comments here so far, this merry-go-round is quite full. You're right, though, chocolate does indeed help!

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  23. Ahh, the vicious circle. I like to chain it to a tree in hopes a bear will come and eat it, but nothing ever happens. Oh well. Muzzle that negative voice and give the positive one chocolate. :D

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    1. So far on this post, I've locked my inner voice in a cupboard and hit it with a frying pan. Tying it to a tree and waiting for a bear is a great third option if the other two don't work. And yes, rewarding with chocolate is the only way :-)

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  24. Sometimes I'm in the head of the doting reader and at other times, I'm the critical editor. I actually think we need to be a little bit of both so that we can motivate ourselves as the doting reader, and also see potential areas for growth as the critical editor. But instead of bringing yourself down when you're the "editor," you can just examine what needs more attention in the story. No matter how much you wrestle with your story, remember to give yourself a pat on the back at the end of the day for your efforts.

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    1. I know I should use the critical voice to my advantage, but it's usually all I can do from stopping myself ripping everything up and starting again. The voice comes out as a last resort.

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  25. Reading all these great comments and from my own personal experiences I would say this is all in a days work for a writer! Keep going, think positive thoughts, we are all on your side.

    Suzanne
    IWSG co-host

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    1. Thanks Suzanne. I forgot to say it on your blog, but thanks for co-hosting! I've seen you all over the place the last couple of days, well done :-)

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  26. All writers feel the exact same way -- even published authors. Writing is essentially an art, and it's hard to quantify an art because it's so subjective. Nobody really knows if their book is good or not. You end up taking the word of CPs or reviewers. Just do the best you can -- that's all any of us can do. :-)

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    1. I don't make as much use of CPs as I should. I just write and submit... I guess I'm probably not as insecure as I should be!!

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  27. Sometimes I think a lot of it has to do with, we read our own stories so many times we get sick of them. At least, I do, by the time it's published, I don't want to read it again. In a series, I usually do have to read it again. But after a few months, I can stomach it and then I think its pretty damn good. So maybe that's where you're at.

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    1. That's so true. That reading and rereading really hurts my head sometimes.

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  28. Ah, the ebbs and flows of writing...sometimes that's how we produce our best work...

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    1. I'm not sure the best state for me to be in. I know I wrote quite a lot when I was feeling very depressed, and the writing was good, even if I was drained by it.

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  29. Well at least you've got a good balance going :)

    Allison (Geek Banter)

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    1. Yes I have. I haven't stopped mid-circle yet :-)

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  30. I love your second-to-last sentence.

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  31. We all go through this with anything we're writing. When it's bad, we just need to hang on to the knowledge that it'll be good again at some point.

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    1. Yes, the fact it's a circle is very comforting :-)

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  32. I totally identify with this, Annalisa. Part of the creative process I suppose, although it can drive you crazy! But also encourages high standards. A blessing and a curse!

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Please comment - I love a good chat!