Linda Maye Adams

Respecting the Writing, Respecting Yourself


Man screams as UFO beams up another person

It’s hard to believe that about 2010, I was thinking I was never going to be able to write a novel.  My process of writing because a source of great frustration.

The more I revised something, the more broken it got.  It went from a two car accident to a spaceship crashes and destroys an entire city.

I remember one writer offering to look at what I’d written to see if she could see what was wrong and I was embarrassed to let her see it.  I knew I was a better writer than what I was producing.

So I attended a lot of classes, searching for answers.  One was with Bob Meyer, one of the earlier indie successes.  I was so frustrated that I described my writing as a “screwy way of writing.”

He said “Never put down your writing.  There will be someone else who will be happy to do that for you.”

A lot of the starts with respecting the writing, not treating it like a weird thing from outer space.

Men in spacesuits approach computer keyboard

There’s a hella out there that does the opposite. (That’s California slang, by the way).

The writing community, craft books, and even writing magazines are rife with put downs.  Some of it is quite subtle.  Some of it is blatant.  Some of it you may be saying yourself.

  • “My writing is crap.”
  • “My first drafts are shitty.”
  • “All first drafts are terrible.”

So you’ve just said you can’t write.  What the heck does that do to the little kid in you who is doing the writing?!!

What does that do in how you write that story?!!

Some people think their first draft is so crappy that they race through it so they can get to the revision.  Contrary to popular believe, revision isn’t where the real writing happens–it’s the first draft.

And that first draft is being labeled as crap.  That’s a lonely place for the muse to be.

Silhouette of lonely man, the universe above him

We’re constantly bombarded by advice that we’re not “good enough.” The writing magazines have what amounts to diet advice, that there’s something we’re not doing right, something that we should be checking the box on that is keeping from getting us published (rather than another skill level of writing).

I used to be on a message board where anyone experimenting was told, “Most writers screw it up anyway, so don’t even bother.”

This stuff is TOXIC.

Bottle of green goo with a skull and crossbones.

 

Our words have power.  Just read a book that makes you want to re-read it all over again once you’ve finished it.

If we say put downs to ourselves and repeat them, how can they NOT have that power?

 

 

 

 

8 Comments

  1. It’s nice to read this, thanks. When writing my first novel, all I saw everywhere I looked was “go ahead and write it, then put it in a drawer and forget about it, because nobody’s first novel gets published. Ever. All first novels are crap.” I’ve pretty much stopped reading a lot of the writing blogs because they’re so demoralizing. It’s hard enough to fight the inner doubt-demons without reading negative advice. I am not a crap writer. That’s what I tell myself. So thank you for your encouraging words. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had to stop reading all those blogs too and dropped off the writing message boards. Even without self-doubt, the negativity is a constant poison that is really destructive.

      Like

  2. Love your illos!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. LivRancourt

    I love how you turn conventional wisdom on its ear. Nice post!

    Like

  4. Reblogged this on Pearl's Pearls and commented:
    Wow! This is powerful stuff. A must read for all of us who are struggling with anything we’re endeavoring to do – not just the writers amongst us.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wonderful!
    It’s about time someone said it all, and you said it well.
    I read very few blogs, articles, forums or groups that are writing advice places because so much of it makes me feel incredibly discouraged.

    Thank you so much, Linda, for this wonderful blog post. I’ve reblogged it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The only critic you need to listen to is yourself.

    If you like what you’ve written, keep writing it. Read it out loud, where no one can hear you.

    I love first drafts, they give me so much room to improve, to change, to experiment, and sometimes a better idea, or a better way of saying something shows up. A first draft, by the way, is just that. it’s not the final draft. It’s what you start with, and you build on that. Sometimes it takes you in a direction you never planned, and that can be magical.

    I do agree, at some point put it in a drawer for a few days or even a week, to let it cook. Then come back to it, with fresh eyes.

    So much for critics.

    Like

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