Fiction, Novel, Short story, Writing

I ain’t no Pollyanna

This is my third attempt to write a new blog post. I produced grumpy posts from the first two topics. So, instead, I’ll talk about my recent decision to change my negative attitudes. I’ve discovered it’s not easy to become more positive. I hear myself saying or thinking negatively and correct it like an echo of Willy Wonka: “Strike that. Reverse it.”

Apparently, I’m naturally a gloomy person. I was born at twilight; I wonder if that’s the reason. I’ve always been attracted to the dark tales. It shouldn’t surprise me that it’s hard for me to maintain a constant sunny outlook. My husband has pointed out for many years that I instantly think of the worst scenario in any situation.

Of course, I always protest his assessment. The fact is, I laugh a lot. And I may have an odd sense of humor, but I do have one—though I don’t have the knack of translating that well into words.

I look over the stories I hope to publish soon and see deaths, divorces, murders, childhood terrors, a rape, the loss of hope. Yet, the first novel I published is a love story?! What’s that about? My light and dark sides fight it out. Thankfully, my dark side is content to be fulfilled through fiction—and occasional blog posts.

I think I’ll go mix up a batch of brownies and then sit in the sun while they bake. Maybe I’ll come up with a sweet, happy story to write. Well … maybe not that sweet. Or happy. *sigh*

Critique, Doubt, Editing, Feedback, Fiction, Novel, Writing

Ooo … ooo … I know this one!

Let’s play a little game, shall we?

Linda: I’ll take felicitous discoveries for a thousand.

Alex: I do have writing talent. Linda?

Linda: What is … What did I discover while editing?

Alex: Correct!

If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you know I suffer from a lack of confidence in my writing ability. It’s largely self-inflicted. My inner critic prides herself in perfectionism. To make matters worse, she’s an expert at rationalizing away any praise that comes my way.

I think most of us lack confidence to some degree. We play that comparison game and believe we’ll never measure up. We get one tiny bit of negative feedback and blow it out of proportion until we see every word we’ve written as garbage. (Or is that just me?)

Today, as I edited my novel, I found myself smiling—grinning, to be honest. Not at any particular “darling” as in, My god, has there ever been a more brilliant metaphor?! No, I was happy because I could honestly say, “This is good writing.”

That may sound like I’m full of myself, but I’m not. What I discovered today is I suffer doubt most when I don’t read my work. When I set aside a work, whatever faults I know it has magnify in my mind until I convince myself I’m hopeless as a writer. I’m discouraged from even starting something new because, well—I can’t write!

When I finally open that file and start to read I see it’s not perfect. I find weak verbs, flabby sentences, bad syntax, but I also find decent writing as a whole. It’s never as bad as I imagined it to be. Yet I’ve allowed my doubt to waste time, fuel jealousy, and even downright depress me.

Why do we writers do this to ourselves?


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