What to do When You Hate Your Writing

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You’ve probably realized that some days writing becomes and intense mental battle that makes you feel like Smeagol/Gollum. Which makes you question your sanity (Don’t call us crazy, precious!). It goes a little something like this:

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Sound familiar? We’ve all been there.–it’s  a struggle all writers face.

Writing is a frustrating process because your story often sounds better in your heads, and the words you use to try to capture it on paper doesn’t quite do it justice. The struggle is real. But don’t despair–it’s normal to hate your work.

Some days you may feel so disgusted with your writing that you will be tempted to give up.  You may feel like you can’t write at all, that you’ll never be any good, and you’re just wasting your time.

“Wait, what?” you say.

I’m going to let you in on a little secret: hating your writing is a good thing!

At this point you’re probably thinking I’m few bolts short of a sonic screwdriver, but hear me out.  Hating your writing shows that you can view your work critically, which is an important skill for a writer. If you are in love with your writing you will never see its flaws and never strive for improvement.  What is it they say about love being blind?

The trick is to force yourself to keep writing through your self-doubt even when you feel like every word is total crap (And chances are it’s not as craptastic as you think). Being able to push through and continue to produce stories will help you build confidence in your abilities.

Never be ashamed of anything you write. It is evidence that you are trying, that you are practicing and learning. Even if it’s awful, it will never be a waste of time because you are gaining experience as an artist. You are figuring out what works and what doesn’t. You are learning a craft, and it will take time to produce a masterpiece.

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Advice from the Quills:

Every writer—even the greats like Tolkien and J.K. Rowling—has hated their writing at some point. Perseverance is what separates writers from published authors.

The fact is, you are going to write a lot of crap. But writing the crap will give you the experience you need to start writing amazing stories—so keep going and never give up!

What makes you keep going when you hate your writing?

Like what you read? Know someone who might enjoy it? Please share it with other writers! Thank you for reading!

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7 Things No One Tells You About Writing a Novel

blogpost1 finDo you have a crazy-awesome idea you want to turn into a novel? Brilliant!

But before you begin, there are some dark secrets about writing you need to know. If you think writing a novel will be an effortless pouring of inspiration onto the page leading to a NYT best-seller and a six-figure publishing deal, you may want to hit pause.

Consider the following before you start joyously tippity-tapping away at the keyboard.

#1: It’s a lot of hard work

Okay I lied, you’ve probably heard this one already. But have you heard it from Ernest Hemingway?

There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed.

Sounds delightful, yes? Not only is the act of writing a labor in and of itself, but it is also mental and emotional work–some days it will drain you.

#2: It’s scary

When you write, you bare your soul. You make your innermost thoughts, beliefs, ideas, and feelings vulnerable to critique by the world. There is an underlying fear of failure and rejection with every word you type. Writing is an act of courage.

#3: You will have to make sacrifices

Writing a novel will suck up your time like a dementor sucks up happiness. Do you ever find you don’t have enough time to write? A serious writer has to make time, and this means making sacrifices. To make time to write I have sometimes sacrificed sleep, outings with friends, and movie nights.

#4: You must overcome the voice that says, “No one will want to read this.”

You know what I’m talking about. That little demon sitting on your shoulder, niggling in your ear. Yeah, that guy. He’ll tell you that your work is worthless and you’re wasting your time, but you have to learn to tell him to shut up. Basically, writing is an intense mental battle that will make you feel like a schizophrenic.

#5: Sometimes you will hate your writing—but that’s normal

Yep, you read that right. Every writer hates their writing. It’s healthy. So go ahead, hate away. It shows you are able to view your work critically, which is an important skill. Just don’t take your hatred to the extreme like the French writer Kafka, who asked his friend to destroy all of his fiction upon his death. Avoid melodramatics.

#6: You can’t wait for inspiration to write

That image of the writer enraptured by inspiration and pouring a brilliant novel onto the page with ease is a myth. Inspiration comes and goes in spurts. Writer’s block is the notorious beast that separates the wanna-be’s from the real writers. You must learn to slay it.

#7: You will spend most of your time editing

Your story isn’t finished once you type “the end.” In fact, that was just the beginning. You will spend more time editing (and re-editing) your novel than you did actually writing it. By the time you’re finished, the very sight of your novel will probably give you the strong urge to vomit. Or slam your head against a wall. Editing is a necessary evil.

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Advice from the Quills:

Writing fiction is an art form that takes time, dedication, and hard work to master–you won’t write a best-seller overnight.

If none of these dirty little secrets deter you, congrats! You have the mettle of a true writer. Ready to start on that novel? Next time, we’ll dig into creating life-like characters.

Like what you read? Know someone who might enjoy it? Please share it with other writers! Thank you for reading!

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