I don’t know why I blog

I don’t know why I blog.

I haven’t worked on the novel since 5th September.

Other than a short story I wrote for a competition which took about four days, I haven’t written since 5th September.

Now I don’t know why I wrote that short story or why I entered that competition. It all seems rather pointless. Obviously if I win, that would be amazing, but it’s not going to happen. The story’s OK. That’s pretty good for me – to say it’s OK – but in reality it probably isn’t. I mean, right now I think it is but I bet if I read it in a year’s time I’ll hate it. Which is good, it means I’ve improved. But it also means the story’s crap.

I also don’t know how I managed it. How I made myself write that story and enter it. Doing something like that now seems impossible.

If everything I write today I’ll hate in a year’s time, what’s the point? But if I write something and still think it’s good in a year’s time, that’ll mean I haven’t improved in a year.

I don’t know which is worse.

Some people say they love writing. I just don’t get that. I used to – when I was in school. I don’t know when I stopped.

I like to think it makes me a better writer – to not like writing – but I probably just tell myself that to feel better about it.

I feel superior to people who say they love writing. Like they’re amateurs and I’m a real writer because I hate it. But who’s the real writer – the person who does it everyday and loves it or the person who avoids it for months? Maybe I’m just jealous.

I don’t know who I am or what I’m doing or where I’m going.

And I don’t know why I blog.

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4 thoughts on “I don’t know why I blog

  1. Wow, and I thought I was rather down on myself about, well, everything.

    I usually hate it when people give me “advice,” because, how could they know where I am and what I’m feeling? But it’s usually when I’m feeling the most lost that someone’s advice makes the most sense, specifically because it’s coming from a fresh perspective and not my own jaded one.

    Maybe you’ve set yourself up in an impossible-to-win scenario? I mean, c’mon, if you feel good about something you’ve written then that’s proof that it’s crap?? What a way to kill your spirit before it even has a chance to get out of the starting gate!!

    The idea that you’ve only improved if you hate the last thing that you wrote is really self-defeating. You’re not climbing a mountain, Louise, you’re just writing. 🙂

    I know I may have already crossed a line here, so I may as well go all the way. Think of it less like a matter of having to constantly improve and more like a path your walking through the woods. What you’ve written before isn’t a reflection of your worth as a writer. It’s only a stamp you’ve made in the ground at that one specific point in your life. It’s neither good nor bad. It just is. Be proud that you made that stamp, learn from the experience, then move on to the next one.

    If you take that self-defeating fear of “un-worthiness” out of the experience, you might just fall in love with the process again.

    And, honestly, it sounds like the lack of structure has you floundering, too. But you have to choose to fix that for yourself.

    Wow, didn’t mean for this to turn into a sermon. 😉 I hate to see you struggling like this. To put it another, much less serious (which is always better) way;

    “Quit yer bitchin’ and git back on the horse, young missy!”

    Peace.

    • Ah man, I am WHINY!

      Thanks for the sermon. I need all the help I can get. Doesn’t everyone?

      Thing is, though, while I appreciate there’s a lot of sense to what you’re saying, I can’t seem to help how I feel about it. I think you’re right, though – I am floundering due to lack of structure. And I should give myself a break. Don’t know how, though.

      Today, I am trying to get back on the horse but it keeps wandering off when I have one foot in the stirrup, leaving me to hop after it.

      Stupid horse.

      • Hey, everybody needs a good whine once in a while. Me, I prefer a good wine, but that’s another story…

        So could NaNo be the structure you need? You don’t have to follow the rules exactly, you could just use it as your “trigger” to get you to write. I know folk who are continuing existing projects, and others who will edit as they write ’cause that’s what works for them.

        Here’s hopin’ that damn horse holds still just long enough to get on… and stay on…

  2. Everyone has different methods and motivations for writing but here is what I would say (feeling pretty familiar with a lot of what you’ve said).

    Maybe what you need is momentum (that and giving yourself a break, which I have no advice for). Smashing your head against your first draft doesn’t seem to be working, so maybe try keeping a commitment to when you write, but not what you write.

    I found myself changing from a person that rarely writes into writing everyday. Yesterday, for the first time in over a month, I didn’t get anything down. Today it was so much harder than it had been to make my word count because I had fallen out of the groove. It wasn’t fun. Usually it is (when in serious novel completion, story winning, oh fuck Thomas Wolfe had 2,000 published pages by the time he was 26, and I can’t write a lick mode)

    Unless I’m pushing to finish something I’m free to work on whatever I want – every few weeks I start(in the loosest sense) 10 new stories. I write the first sentence of all 10, then let them sit. After a while I take my(or someone else’s) favourite 5 and write sentence 2, then 3 get a full paragraph and the winner gets finished, except usually this all breaks down and 2 or 3 see completion, or get weaved together.

    Whatever magic your stories have, the best you can do is recognise it (or at very least not stifle it). You can’t enjoy it as you would someone else’s fiction; you know where the wires and seems are and you hate them because the real story is in y(our) head(s) and y(our) stupid hands and dumb brain can’t get it on the page without mutilating it. There are roughly a bajillion examples of writers going mental when reading their old stuff, it seems to induce the exact opposite effect of that inner-twinkle you get looking at old photographs; Thomas Pynchon comes to mind, even though all evidence would suggest he has been killing it since day one.

    Would you feel better about yourself as a writer if you had finished something recently? Someone asked me that and it felt like a slap in the face, and I wanted to say that they didn’t get it and that I wasn’t that kind of writer, and that being prolific is for writers whose book covers have photographs on them, people whose names show up in risen metallic font on airport-only editions, and maybe this marks my crossing into hackdom, but it has done wonders for the self hatred aspect.

    This is a quote I like from a Haruki Murakami novel(which I wouldn’t include if it literally wasn’t the first thing I thought of when I read your post, seeing as the idea of including quotes in a wordpress reply makes me feel gross). It makes an good case for carrying on, even if the progress you’ve made isn’t evident. Every sentence, good or terrible is an investment in you as a writer.

    “People believed the city’s soul resided in the gates. . . . People would take carts out to old battlefields and gather the bleached bones that were buried there or that lay scattered about. . . . [T]hey’d construct a huge gate and seal the bones inside. . . . When the gate was finished they’d bring several dogs over to it, slit their throats, and sprinkle their blood on the gate. Only by mixing fresh blood with the dried-out bones would the ancient souls of the dead magically revive. . . .
    Writing novels is much the same. You gather up bones and make your gate, but no matter how wonderful the gate might be, that alone doesn’t make it a living, breathing novel. A story is not something of this world. A real story requires a kind of magical baptism to link the world on this side with the world on the other side.”

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