What to do when your writing sucks?

I am a little down on myself.  I always question why the hell I try so hard to write when I obviously suck at it, but today it is particularly bad.

A complete stranger read the fourth draft of my first novel and the prognosis was not good.

I’ll spare you the details and give you the highlights:

I found it to be somewhat dry in parts…

Okay…I can handle that…maybe I need to spice it up a bit, add more drama or something.

…your climactic scene at the end needs the most work, it is hard to understand at parts, and I found myself zoning throughout bits of it as well.

Yikes!  During the big fight scene?  Yeah, well, I kind of expected that.  My first beta readers said the same thing and I thought I beefed it up a bit, but obviously – not enough.

I found Andreas to be a very boring character…

That’s the main character.  A blow to my heart.  I should just quit now while I’m ahead, right?  (What, you say?  Ahead?  Yeah, it gets worse.)

There are lots of books out there to help with writing…

Egads.  I thought I was getting close to a final draft.  Apparently – not.  I don’t want you to think it was all bad, but I think this near to last line kind of says it all.

…I know this seems like a very long critique, but don’t cry…

Oh, dear.

I’ve gotten crits before on my work, so I’m not complaining about them.  I mean, that’s the point, right?  It’s just that I thought this version wasn’t that bad.  The other crit I got for this version of the novel was from someone who knew me so, I’m guessing, that colored how they delivered their blows.  They landed them gently, and because I was wearing rose-tinted glasses, too, I think I got a false impression that the novel was getting close to something that did indeed resemble a novel.

This latest reviewer, however, was a complete stranger and just laid it out as they saw it.

Though it hurt, thank goodness.  I am disappointed that I am not improving as much as I had hoped, but I’m glad that the reviewer took the time to read and offer their comments.  I have to hand it to ’em, they made it all the way through.  Thank you.

So, now, I’m re-thinking my whole idea of self-publishing Devil’s Blood/Blood Moon/or whatever I decide to call it.  I want to self-publish it, but not if it’s a bad book.

What does one do when they are thinking of chucking the thing and calling quits?

Well, this one writer started looking for a writing coach.

Actually, that’s inaccurate. I first took a look at the Clarion West schedule.  I hadn’t realized it is a six-week course.   Unless I lose my job, I don’t think I can take that much time off from work.  (Another thing to put on the To-Do-List-After-I-Win-The-Lottery.)

After I realized that wasn’t going to happen, I started looking into writing coaches. What is a writing coach?  Will they cheer me on to complete projects?  Or will they be more like a personal trainer, telling me to improve my vocabulary and quit leaving sentence fragments all over the kitchen floor?  I’m not sure if this is the right approach for me, but I’m looking into it.

Until later, keep writing.

10 thoughts on “What to do when your writing sucks?

  1. I’ve always maintained that writing bad fiction–and then learning what makes it bad fiction–is the best road to writing good fiction. Hang in there!

  2. I didn’t know that writing coaches were a thing, but good luck finding one! Something that always helps me when I’m frustrated that what I’m writing isn’t quite going my way is to take a long break and do something completely different. I find that sometimes if I spend too much time with something, I’m too attached to change it in the way it needs to be changed, or I’m not as excited about it as I should be (just because I’m so used to it). Taking a break and working on something else can help you see your old work with new eyes.

    Good luck!

    1. Great advice. But one I’ve already taken. 😦

      I have found a writing coach (sort of) and I have my assignments. Slowly (painfully slow), I’m hoping to learn and improve.

      Thanks for stopping by, your advice, and encouragement! 🙂

  3. The life of a writer can be painful, but just as a good story needs conflict, so does our journey for the end to be great. My favorite part was your very last line, “Until later, keep writing.” Do that and someday you will look back on this and smile.

    1. This isn’t the first time for me. I mean, getting negarive feedback. And believe it or not, I have improved! I just have a long way to go. Thanks for stopping by and for your advice. 🙂

  4. I wish I knew something that takes off the burn of stuff like that, but alas, I do not. I’ve gotten plenty of it in the past, and ouch. Just…ouch.

    It’s disheartening and painful, and it can kind of murder your motivation a little.

    Or a lot.

    However…It’s like Donald Trump the Ego Monster from my post the other day. Monsters can be fought, and it looks like you’re working up your arsenal to be better every day. You could also always print out a picture of the Trump Monster and tape it to a punching bag. That might help too.

    You are definitely NOT a poor writer — so do what you gotta do to beat the monsters. 🙂

  5. Those “shred-it” critiques, be they about writing or life, are the most useful 🙂 Yes, sure they hurt, because they take us out of our comfort zone, show us a different perspective. Instead of blocking them with (spoken or silent) no’s and but’s I’ve found it helps most to accept the pain, that is to give in to feeling it and to let it pass through me. Now I do have a choice (as opposed to being stuck in my own heard or emotions or author’s ego) and take another look at the points addressed – then I’m really free to choose what to change and what to keep.

    1. I agree. And that is why it was so horrible. The critiquer is/was right. Now, to try to do something about it.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

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