Wednesday, November 9, 2011

crisis of inspiration

I suppose I do one of these little whining posts every few weeks now. Shall I start with something more positive, then? Yes. I'm going to start posting flash fiction every week. I haven't picked a day yet, but I'm going to try to stick to it once a week, 100 words of awesome fiction. So far, all of the ones I've written have been male/male (and HOT!), but that may change. Or not. I guess it depends on reader reaction.

My current crisis involves critique. At the end of the day, I love knowing what people think of my writing. Good or bad. If good, I need to know what I'm getting right so I can repeat it (the ego boost doesn't hurt either). If bad, I need to know why. Reading harsh reviews can hurt like hell, but after I'm done crying, I need to know what didn't work for people.

This is what I tell myself when I'm not upset.

Lately, I've been feeling like everything I write is wrong. I've been second-guessing character development, plot, even if the story makes sense. This isn't helping my overall writing ability. I've been in a kind of holding pattern for most of the year, wondering why some people seem to love my stories and others make me feel like I'm wasting my time and theirs. And there's a few people I think should be supporting me but aren't and I'm stuck wondering if the reason is because they don't believe in my writing.

I've tried putting all of this out of my head. After all, it's depressing. When I'm depressed I can't write. Or what I write sucks. Which makes me more depressed. Circle of bad writing cycle.

It's hard to clear my head of these things. I can't resist reading reviews because I've been posting my stories online since 2000 and I'm kind of addicted to the feedback. But I know I need to write the stories that appeal to me and find the right audience. But how do I find the right audience when I feel like my stories always fall short in some way for a lot of people? What am I doing wrong? What's not funny or sexy or romantic enough? What characters don't hold their interest? If someone says they "loved" or "really liked" the story, why did they only give it three stars? Why don't more people leave reviews when they rate?

Not having these answers bugs me no end, especially when I'm at a low point. Every time I feel like something isn't working, I try a new approach, hoping, wondering if this will be the type of story that'll appeal to more readers. I'm not even sure what I'm doing anymore. I may be losing my writing style in the vain hope of trying to please everyone.

I think what I need is to get away from this notion of writing for as many readers as possible. If the stories are good, they'll come, right? Right?? So, how do I know when they are? I used to know that, or I thought I did. And now, all I know is I'm stuck.

How's that for writing motivation?

2 comments:

harperkingsley said...

I feel exactly the same way. People are buying my stories, but hardly anyone says anything, and I've gotten a couple of responses that have left me reeling.

I've pretty much decided to try and avoid reviews to keep down on the madness. I'm much too sensitive to be able to handle all the criticism without getting depressed.

Anyways, for myself, I've decided just to write in my own voice. People will like it or not like it, but there's billions of people on Earth and there's gotta be at least a couple of hundred that will like something I write :)

Just write a story you would enjoy reading. It's like Field of Dreams: "If you write it, they will read it" or something.

Sara Winters said...

I go through times when I can and do ignore reviews and just sit in my happy place and write...but then I go back to it because I like the feedback. It makes me feel grownup (read: finally) to be able to deal with criticism. It just baffles me that no matter what I do, there's always going to be some reaction that seems to come out of left field.

And I like your voice. That counts for something, right?

Thanks for commenting.