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Forum nameNewcomers' Board
Topic subjectGiving this another shot...
Topic URLhttp://www.fmwriters.com/community/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topic&forum=576&topic_id=158
158, Giving this another shot...
Posted by GrayWolf67, Tue Apr-10-12 06:12 AM
Hello. Former lurker returning from a long absence. I was known as Smoke67 before, but that name carries some unpleasant memories from my teen years, so I made a new account a while back. Not that it matters much; my only contribution here was a single introductory post in this section here.

I'll try to provide some semblance of a brief version of my complicated yet admittedly not very interesting story.

I am a completely self-taught writer who relies mostly on instinct to get by. I've been writing since age 6, but I didn't really get serious about it until about 12 or so. Of course, by "serious" I mean "no longer deliberately ripping off plots and characters from whatever I happen to like at the time." I write mostly fantasy with science-fiction elements mixed in, along with about half a dozen sub-genres which makes categorizing my work a headache in its own right.

Unfortunately, there are a few major problems that pop up when I try to keep a novel going. I suffer from a number of mental issues including social anxiety and depression (probably ADD as well but that is not officially diagnosed as of yet.)"

There's also the little issue of having two separate personalities, one of which has absolutely no self-esteem as a writer and is so easily discouraged by his perceived unoriginality that he loses all motivation to write for long periods of time.
The other one (who is typing this, if you couldn't tell) really doesn't give half a crap about what anyone thinks of him or what he does. This only serves to stir up internal conflict and further hinders our progress as writers as we fight among ourselves about every aspect of our work. As a result, we've been working on the same story for about... oh, 7 years maybe? And we're barely past chapter 1, although we do have the entire course of the story outlined.

So this brings me to my current situation. A long time ago I was posting the first draft of my story elsewhere for feedback, and while I had only a handful of dedicated readers, their support and anticipation kept me motivated to keep working. I still took a month to finish a chapter, but at least I was doing it.

Granted, the story was plagued with cliches and "homages" to popular culture, which ultimately led to my trashing of Draft 1 and starting over (I actually trashed it because I heard that you can't sell a novel as an original publication if it's already available on the internet for free, but it was in dire need of a rewrite anyway, so...)

Anyway. I finally got back to work on Draft 1.5 of this book of mine this year, and what I really need to finish it is some sense of accountability for my work; that is, to feel that if I get lazy or insecure and drop the story again, someone, somewhere, will know I'm slacking off.

Besides, I do like this place. I could just never push myself to post anything because of my aforementioned social anxiety. Lurking for years without actually doing anything here... yeah, my head is a mess.

Well, that's about it. It's 4:00 AM where I am now and I'd really like to wrap this up, so... goodnight, good morning, or whatever applies to you at this hour. I will return when my mind is a bit more focused.
159, RE: Giving this another shot...
Posted by CatrinP, Tue Apr-10-12 07:55 AM
Welcome back, to both of you.

I think, though, you describe most writers - the lack of self-esteem and percieved faults plagues most of of at some point. Those are the low points. But then there are the highs when we see our work as brilliant, and it's everyone else's fault if they can't see that.

Somewhere in between is a decent writer who starts and complete projects to a reasonable level.

There is some truth in the story that publishers won't buy a story that has already been 'published', but then there are always exceptions to the 'rule'.

Accountability. FM has a few places you can achieve that. We have a number of boards under Motivation. Pick a place - Weekly Goals, Annual and Monthly Goals, Where are your Characters - and post your progress. Or use Snippets to post a bit you are particularly happy with,

Or use Roving Crits to recieve comments about your work. Roving isn't designed to crit a novel chapter by chapter, but it is a great starting place. The Critique Connection is another place you might find useful, though mostly they are for finished novels.

If you have a problem you need to talk over with someone we have the Genre Discussion boards. Or Techniques or World Building or Story Structure.

Or we have Chat.

So choose one to try out, if that doesn't suit your needs, try another place. You are bound to find somewhere comfortable.

Oh, and don't worry, we don't bite. Well, not too hard.

162, RE: Giving this another shot...
Posted by GrayWolf67, Wed Apr-11-12 03:43 PM
Yes, we seem to be on opposite ends of the ego spectrum. Hopefully becoming more active here will help us to work toward a balance.

The current plan is to just get this first draft done as soon as we can. Regular goals will help with that. We've learned that it's not a good idea to share a raw, unedited story; too much pressure and all that.

Of course, we don't have any other writers to speak with at the moment, so general advice on the occasional roadblock will help as well.

One of us is rather nervous about chat rooms, but perhaps I can convince him to give it a try sometime.
165, RE: Giving this another shot...
Posted by CatrinP, Wed Apr-11-12 05:24 PM
We have a forum called Techniques.


In there members can ask questions about writing techniques in general, or specific. And then other will answer.

You could ask the question about overcoming Writing blocks, due to Over Zealous and Insecure Internal Editors (we all have one, just that some of us have learnt how to gag the IE for at least short periods of time)
160, Welcome back!
Posted by magic seeker, Tue Apr-10-12 04:59 PM
Welcome back, GrayWolf! :wave:

I have trouble with intermittent writing, too, so I entirely understand. I hope we can help keep you motivated to write.

Keep that carefree personality to the front of your mind, and save the other one for editing. But force him to pretend he's editing someone else's work, and make him keep his insecurities out of the job. (I know, easier said than done.)

Wishing you the best in your writing!
163, RE: Welcome back!
Posted by GrayWolf67, Wed Apr-11-12 03:50 PM
That's what we're trying to do. Step 1: Finish the first draft. Just do it. Worry about the little things during the editing phase.

I think I'm finally managing to convince this OCD perfectionist to give me a bit more freedom. It took a while, though!
161, RE: Giving this another shot...
Posted by KatsInCommand, Tue Apr-10-12 08:36 PM
Welcome back. I hope you find what you're looking for and delurk a bit more. :)
164, RE: Giving this another shot...
Posted by GrayWolf67, Wed Apr-11-12 03:55 PM
Thanks, we will try.
171, RE: Giving this another shot...
Posted by LeeLee, Wed May-02-12 12:30 AM
I just read this whole thread. And I must say, speaking about yourself as "we" and acknowledging the two personalities within you was great! Not just therapeutically, but as a reader, I felt connected to you. I'm kinda thinking you should try a story using that. I think you could come up with a really interesting character!
181, RE: Giving this another shot...
Posted by GrayWolf67, Mon May-07-12 07:28 AM
Thank you. Your reply is actually rather surprising to us; we often worry that our separate identities will only serve to confuse others. Still, we feel it is worth mentioning at least once, for various personal reasons.

And yes, our experience in these matters has already given us some inspiration for our work.