Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Discouraged With Writing?

The Insecure Writer's Support Group posts the first Wednesday of the month and hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh. You can visit its group members HERE.

Recently I was discouraged by an article in a newsletter I read about taking your writing too serious and how if your characters and plot were lacking originality, perhaps you need to revamp. The article's viewpoint was that if you are not careful, these four things can happen. 

1. Your characters end up spouting proverbs and glaring moodily into space.

2. Does your story harp on some great payoff in the end, only to let it fizzle out.

3. Your characters spend more time talking about great things, rather than doing them.

4. You plot and characters bring nothing new to the table and don't offer a wink at their own unoriginality.

These four things are good points as a guideline. I agree that you need a balance in your story and your plot needs to give its promised rewards, but I believe that it's necessary to take a serious look at your story as a whole and see if it tells the story your intended to tell. Too many new writers (and me included) start out with an idea in mind and perhaps because of not having a cohesive ending in sight, write a meandering story that loses sight of the original goal. I've solved my problem of doing this by outlining my story ahead of time.

I hope if you are feeling discouraged by your writing that you will take time to step back and remember why you started writing in the first place. It usually will bring you back to that burning desire to let a story out that's been whirling around inside you. It's a precious gift to be able to explore the world with others, no matter what genre you write in.

"Perhaps it is just as well to be rash and foolish for a while. If writers were too wise, perhaps no books would get written at all. It might be better to ask yourself 'Why?' afterward than before. Anyway, the force of somewhere in space which commands you to write in the first place, gives you no choice. You take up the pen when you are told, and write what is commanded. There is no agony like bearing and untold story inside you."

~Zora Neale Hurston from Dust Tracks On A Road~ 


  1. Excellent point! I have a quote by Tommy Smothers taped to my computer desk about knowing how important it is to know what you're talking about, so you know when to stop talking.

    My first book attempts were meandering messes, then I went back to high school lit lessons and asked myself, "What is the theme?" Every good story needed a mission and that's what mine was lacking.

    1. I've found that the more we write, the more we learn. Developing theme is just like that too, I believe. I'm still learning to make mine unique.

  2. What a good post! So useful, not only to writers, but to other arts. I was JUST finalizing the thumbnails for my newest painting, and it's taken 5 times as long... I kept hesitating, changing it, revamping. All because I lost sight of my original concept. I listened to the opinion of someone else, and tried to steer that direction, and lost the purity of my vision!

    "I hope if you are feeling discouraged by your writing that you will take time to step back and remember why you started writing in the first place." (...remember why I started this painting in the first place...)

    I've gone back to my original inspiration now, and if I am the only one pleased with it, at least I know I am being authentic, and not straying from the concept. I liked Elizabeth's description: a meandering mess!

    Thanks for another very helpful message!

    1. So many things in the arts are interchangeable. I'm glad my thoughts were helpful to you. They were to me, also! I went back and revamped an entire story because of these thoughts.

  3. Believe me, I've worried about these things for sure! I usually have an ending in mind, and I always plot. Even if draft one is ugly, which it usually is, I at least have a finished pieced to hack away at. Love that quote at the end!