Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Write on Wednesday

Are you ever assailed with self doubt about your writing ability, or about the reasons for writing at all? Do you “follow yourself around nagging and suggesting and complaining”? What are some of the negative things your Editor tells you? What could your Editor say to be more encouraging? How do you encourage yourself to keep practicing the craft of writing?

The above is today’s Write on Wednesday prompt. (Visit the site to see what other writers have to say.)

I have a love-hate relationship with my “critic.” Like all critics, sometimes the less-than-glowing praise is well-founded. As a working editor who looks both at my own work and others, I’ve rarely seen something that can’t do with a little judicious cutting or rearranging. And when I am “writing to the word,” I can be rather ruthless, more often than not with excellent results.

I probably shouldn’t admit this in an online forum, but I don’t particularly worry about my “work” writing. In general, it involves little creativity – I’m typically working with little space and some hard facts, often taking basic info and dressing it up a bit. Of course I try to do it well, intelligently and accurately, but it’s not exactly like figuring out a plot or pithy comment.

Sometimes I feel like I’m a factory.

But I do agonize at times over other things I do. Letters. (Yes, I still write letters. With a pen. And a stamp.) More thoughtful personal pieces. My poetry.

I realized a long time ago that I probably lack the time, discipline and ultimately drive to write the wonderful book or compilation that will end up with an appearance on Oprah or a review in the New York Times. That was a tough one to deal with, because those things are often a matter of priority, and it’s hard to admit something isn’t at the top of the list.

My personal writing falls down the heap after family, my art-related things, daily life (which could be the house or garden or hanging out with a good friend.)

But that doesn’t stop me from looking at my personal writing saying, “This isn’t good enough to share.” Or, “Boy, that’s lame.” Or, “I’m glad I’m giving this to someone who’ll still love me, even if it’s not very good.”

Oddly enough, sharing on the blog is helping me deal with that. It’s also helping me write more. Better? Not necessarily. But by reading so many inspiring thoughts and seeing such turn of phrase as I encounter, I become more aware. And to me, that’s a good start.

What does your critic tell you? You may post here or if you want to write a longer post on this topic, leave us a link. And stop by Write on Wednesday and leave a link there, too!


Becca said...

I can definitely relate to your situation regarding work writing. I churn out lots of medical reports and record reviews, and although it must be well written and concise, but simple enough for laymen to understand, it's boilerplate language.

There are many days when I feel like a word factory.

But I think my "creative" writing has helped me be a better writer there, helps me take care to make the words flow more easily, to fashion a logical and interesting narrative when I can.

And I think over time you'll realize all the blog writing is making you a better writer - it can't help but do so :)

Jeanie, thanks so much for taking time to participate in Write on Wednesday today. Take care...

Anonymous said...

"...sharing on the blog is helping me ... write more. Better? Not necessarily. But by reading so many inspiring thoughts and seeing such turn of phrase as I encounter, I become more aware."

I would have to guess that it helps you write better, too. Practice makes perfect, right? And makes you more aware - that can only support your writing process, I think.
I liked your thoughtful post.

beth said...

I just bought a book on writing, in hopes that it will help me overall in what I want to get down on paper...or what needs to get out of my head so that I can see it in front of me.

It's called, "writing down the bones" by Natalie Goldberg and so far it's great !

Beth said...

I wish I could write creatively. I use to could write songs and poems but never good with short stories. I think your an excellent writer! I hope you have a great Fourth of July!

MISTY and CO... said...

I am excited to read posts written by you and the others in this forum because you are obviously a wonderful writer! Thanks for sharing. I still write letters with a pen and have every intention of raising my children to do the same! Happy 4th of July!

Tammy Brierly said...

I enjoyed and related to your post. Blogging does help that inner critic.

Keeping good thoughts for your precious boy. HUGS

anno said...

Your comments about your work writing resonate deep in my bones. In my previous writing jobs, there were always so many different groups micromanaging the process and the final product that I often felt like more like a word robot taking dictation than a writer. Arrgh!

The blogging community does provide a huge support, and I've found that the connection with readers encourages more thoughtful writing. It at least prevents me from being too cryptic or allowing the more egregious self-indulgent whining that always made its way into my journals.

I enjoyed this post. I think it has made me a little more aware, too. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I see exactly our similarity Jeanie ... blogging brings out the the planner, the thinker the writer in me, exactly as it's doing for you ... stick with it, it's worth it ;)

Anonymous said...

Like you, I find the blogging stimulating and keeps me on track, often it provides that bridge between the'work writing' and the 'creative writing' - I also have to write endless reports! I'm glad you enjoy writing with a pen - so do I, even though I love my little laptop too for the serious writing jobs. I fill up endless notebooks with pen...

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