1 (edited by QWLauren35 2022-03-23 15:31:02)

Topic: Requesting Encouragement for an Old-Timer

I first started posting my short stories here in 2010. I am bipolar, and I write when I have manic episodes. I am on some REALLY good drugs now and no longer have manic episodes... so I don't write. A painful compromise. I have not written a short story since 2019.

In my facebook feed, an old note came up from 8 years ago about publishing my stories. And I thought: Hey! Why Not! And I am starting the process. And so of course, the first step is to get them edited and critiqued. Well! There is ***nothing on this planet*** that I hate more than being critiqued. Of course, you're saying. Why be on TNBW if you can't handle critique? Good point. I have submitted every one of my stories here, and "dealt" with the feedback. I always hated it. But it was a way to get my stories read, and that made it worthwhile.

At any rate, I am coming to you for encouragement. I need to go find my stories, read them and fix some of the things I was told to do on TNBW umpteen years ago, so that I can submit them.

I'm sure this makes no sense. I do not like reading my stories. Certainly not with a critical eye. Not with the attitude of "lets see what's wrong with it". And maybe its partly because I have no Muse (I'm not in manic phase), so I don't have any creative juice to bring to the table. When I say "I can't write without my Muse", that's an understatement. I've tried it. What came out was pure crap. At any rate, I'm scared shitless, and really, really, really don't want to work on my stories. Is there anyone else out there who has felt this way? And if so, how did you break through?

Re: Requesting Encouragement for an Old-Timer

I'm not one who believes that creativity and great art/literature/science, etc. comes from madness. I think it comes from a blend of deep intuition and rationality. In other words, now that you are on your medication, you not only should still have your creativity, but it is also potentially much, much better. But writing needs feedback, just like life does. My suggestion is to take it as part of the writing process. And ask yourself, with the older stories, "Now that I can see them clearly, what would I change?" Be your own positive critic. Don't look for flaws but for ways to improve. I don't think I've read your stories, but if you repost them, I will give them a look. Good luck!

Re: Requesting Encouragement for an Old-Timer

I don't think I've felt this way, but what I do feel is exceptionally guilty whenever I give a critique that has negative points in it (which is almost every review I do), even just suggestions and preferences. Part of me always wants to just say that I loved it, give someone that boost, and be done. But as valuable as a compliment is emotionally, I want people to grow as writers in the same way I've been enabled by reviewers to grow, and for that, I think that my honest suggestions and opinions are more valuable than a sugar coating. As much as I feel guilty criticizing, I feel guiltier when I don't have any suggestions/criticisms, because that means I have no way to help this person grow.

I suppose I came to TNBW having already looked at my book with a critical eye. I really didn't have anything good to say about it and as harsh as reviewers have been at times, they never criticized it as harshly as I did. I knew it was bad, I hated it, it had so many problems and I had no idea how to fix them.

I suppose why I never get upset about criticism is that I look at it more like a mechanic report. I really love cars (books) so I decided to build my own, but it's leaking and smoking and squealing. No one's going to buy my car design like this. Even if it did have promise, all people will see is the problems. I take it to some experts and they all give it a good onceover and tell me what I did wrong and I get to work fixing the issues, happy that at least now I know where I went wrong, and maybe my next attempt will go a little smoother. But even if next time the car doesn't have any problems, I'm still going to want to get opinions on it, because maybe other people can see things that I didn't see, or see areas where it could be improved. How the story makes people feel and what they get from it matters to me a lot.

While compliments on my book have felt really good at times, they feel better when I've labored to get to that point. Every chapter has been revised a dozen or more times, and when someone says they enjoyed a chapter now or compliments a specific line/paragraph that's been a nuisance, I'm imagining a little group high five between me and all the reviewers who helped with that chapter. Sure, it would feel good if I could produce Tolkien-level prose all on my own on the first try, but honestly, I enjoy hanging out with my team of mechanics and getting their feedback. Writing was just lonely and frustrating before I got to TNBW. Maybe it would help if you thought of reviewers more as your teammates than as critics.

Re: Requesting Encouragement for an Old-Timer

Hi, Lauren... I wondered what happened to you.  It's so good to hear from you and to read how you feel about writing.  All I can say is you're very good at it, and I distinctly remember the one you wrote about your dad.  It was great!  I would encourage you to jump back in the pot and give it another stir!  I'll be looking for something from you soon!

Happy trails,

Re: Requesting Encouragement for an Old-Timer

Thank you Marilyn. I have not had the urge to write in 4 years. It's been so long, I don't even miss it.

I have found someone to help me publish an e-book, and it should be out in about a month. I'll post a link. If you're one of the people who got upset about my story about domestic violence, I killed the character, which should satisfy the anger that the piece generated.

Four years ago, I had the stories professionally critiqued, and five of them still need major edits. I will try to address the issues and repost them over the weekend. I am quite nervous about this. Attempting to change the stories without a Muse to guide me - I am so scared that I will ruin the story. But I figure that if I do, someone here will help me repair it.

This is a very good place.

Re: Requesting Encouragement for an Old-Timer

Rachel, Apricot, thank you for responding. I am working on my courage.

Re: Requesting Encouragement for an Old-Timer

I'd be happy to help you, Lauren. Until I found out how easy it is to self-publish, I had concerns myself. You will indeed get great assistance from the writers here on Booksie. I haven't published anything in a couple of years either. This, I hope, is about to change as I'd really like to get at least one or two more out the door. Things tend to slow down when you approach eighty, but I'm still game enough to try.

Hang in there.


Re: Requesting Encouragement for an Old-Timer

Hi Lauren,

I'll be glad to help out in any way I can. Keep writing!

Regards, Randall

Re: Requesting Encouragement for an Old-Timer

Hi all, I posted an old one with a new ending. Hopefully, people will like it better.