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01 January 2004 @ 02:24 am
[writing] Writing Question  
I think everyone who creates with words (and, probably, everyone who creates, period, but I'm not familiar with other creative processes, and can't speak for them--words I know, words I can understand) feels this way, sometimes only late in a story, when everything is falling apart, sometimes always, through every line and thought. It's impossible to tell you that your words are appreciated, by me, by others, because no matter how much feedback a writer gets, it's never enough. It's salt water when you're thirsty--each drop just makes it that much worse. But that's all I can do, and I don't expect it to convince you that you are talented, because you are, or that people do appreciate your words, because they do, but I hope, maybe, it will help just a little, right at this moment. And sometimes that's all a writer can do, grab each iota of feedback, and feel better, for the moment.

I wrote this in response to a friend's entry about writing, but now I want to know what you all think. How do you deal with the lack of feedback? How do you deal with feeling as if you're inadequate, and will never write anything worth reading? How do you deal with the emotional aspect of writing? Do you think there is an emotional aspect to writing? Please, discuss. I look forward to seeing what you have to say.
Current Mood: curiouscurious
ex_prima237 on December 31st, 2003 10:02 pm (UTC)
Feedback, especially the online type, can be saltwater. Its very easy
to get caught up in some of the literary online games, the text based
mucks and all. DON'T DO IT! Writing is a solitary pursuit. It takes
far more work then a visual art. Look at it like this, you get your ass
out of bed for the job don't you? I mean you don't forget about it and
go watch something on cable or chat online when you have to be AT WORK
at eight hmmmm? I always thought that it took far more discipline to
write then to be a soldier. After all, if your a grunt and don't do the
job there will be someone there to kick you in the rump to /make/ you
do it. When its down to you...and a hot wp...theres only you to kick
your own ass. Use the net in moderation for validation. Never forget
the hard work though. As Stephen King put it, "you have to get behind
a godamighty steam shovel sometime!"

Thats my story, and I'm sticking to it. =D
J e n n a - - - W a yjettabug on December 31st, 2003 11:59 pm (UTC)

This is a very interesting topic.

I have to say that yes, definitely, there is an emotional aspect to writing. If you write something and put it out for the world to read and experience, it's like bearing your soul. Like posting your life story on a message board.

Even though the story or your written work has nothing to do with you, just the fact that the idea or inspiration came from inside you means that you're sharing a part of your soul with people. If that's not emotional, I don't know what is.

As for lack of feedback, there's not much we can do as writers to make people read our work. Well, nothing short of tying them to their computer chairs and having their browsers locked permanently to fan fiction.net. But, that's not all there is. Writing shouldn't be about getting praise. Writing to me is about expressing myself, and if someone wants to comment or give me feedback, I won't complain.

I know I feel a little disappointed when I connect in the morning or whatever and I have no emails. And I know I get a happy little charge when I see that 'bot@fanfiction.net' in my inbox. Feedback, to me, can occasionally drive your story. You could be having heinous writer's block, but you'll read a particulary touching review or message and feel instantly inspired. But people who write to get acknowledged aren't writing because they can't live without putting something down. Yes, feedback is good. But the feeling of finishing something, and reading and re-reading it is a much more wholesome feeling of satisfaction.

I don't know if this sort of answer is what you wanted, Carla, but that's what I think.
Tory T: stitch 1conattackragingpixie on January 1st, 2004 04:32 am (UTC)
Oh my GOD, Carlita, there is totally an emotional aspect to writing! The feeling I get when I read something beautiful is immediately "I want to do that." I get very bereft when I write a line that I consider emotional and it gets passed over by readers in favor of other lines that didn't have an impact on me when I wrote them.

That feeling happens with whole stories, too. I got very good feedback on a small smutty QaF piece that I didn't feel deserved shit. Seriously, it was short and messy and the POV jumps around, but people loved it. Then, one of my favorite fics that I felt had lots of emotion and meaning, goddamn it, didn't get half the reaction. A lot of times I can tell if people will like something because it's in direct contrast to how much I hate it. The last thing I did started doing very weird things in the middle and I ended up almost crying with frustration at the direction it took, and then it was so well received by my flist that I had to reread it to see what they saw.

Very strange, this business of writing. I will say that feedback is important - not essential, maybe, but certainly important. I know that I would continue to write without it, because it's the only creative way I have to express myself, but it certainly adds good feeling to the end product.

You don't really make my head hurt, but I used the Stitch icon anyway in honor of you.
Metaforgirl: Deathmetaforgirl on January 1st, 2004 07:19 am (UTC)
There are many emotions involved with writing. Its probably one of the reasons people speak of a muse , the sensations can seem so separate from other experiences, one almost feels they come from something external. As if some wind blew through the room, caught you up, and when you drop there are words on the page.

But that is the joy of the creative process. Who knows where the art of human beings comes from, or why we make it? But the rush is definitely there.

As for feedback. Consider your feedback sources, please . As another pointed out above, online feedback often (not always) plays into some sophmoric popularity games that have nothing whatsoever to do with the creation of anything valid. You submit to publishers, yes? They can often provide much more useful feedback.

Even fellow writers can skew things, if unintentionally. I have been verbally attacked by other writing students, sometimes because my style scraped at old wounds, sometimes out of jealousy! (not often, I'm not that good). Just watch yourself when it comes to feedback. Consider the motivation and qualifications of the source.

My motivation to write is almost 100% the rush of the process. I have a purpose, a point to make, some old moldy issues to unearth and turn over, and the pleasure of stringing that all together is almost enough. Then I have someone go over it (whom I trust, like a beta or an editor). Everything else is just gravy (or curds as the case may be.)
Samanthasammyfrog on January 1st, 2004 09:33 am (UTC)
I think it's bloody rude not to tell a writer you liked their story if you read it, because if you don't, the writer has no way of knowing that someone actually read it, let alone how the reader felt about it. At least for published authors they know people are reading their work because they're getting royalties, but we fanfic authors are a different case--if no one comments on our stories, we just don't know if they're being read. We aren't clairvoyant, we need to be told. I've heard of people besides myself who became terribly discouraged with writing fanfic because it didn't seem as if anyone was reading their work, which is an awful shame and an injustice, really, when the writer is talented and is a great person.

The purpose of fan fiction, I believe, is the sharing of it with others. When all fanfic writers get is mean-spirited criticism, and no one who likes the writer's stories steps forward to say so, it's crushing and discouraging.

We writers may write because we like it, because it's what we do, or for whatever reason, but it really isn't the same if you feel like no one even reads your work, you have no one to share it with, or if you feel like there's no one who appreciates the time and effort and heart you put into any of your stories.

To summarize, shamey shamey on us when we don't tell writers we like their stories, but writers shouldn't really let the lack of feedback stop them if they truly enjoy writing. :^)
Lavender Joneslavenderjones on January 1st, 2004 11:53 am (UTC)
I mostly create to please me. I have learned that my creativity (whether it's making bears or writing or painting or claying or any of the things I do) is NOT going to please everyone. I DO like feedback, but I think some people may:
1) Feel they are not worthy to give it.
2)Don't know how to express it.
3) Don't understand how much creative people need stroking to go on and create more.
When I'm writing, I tend to ask people specifically to read. I need someone to laugh at my words or get touched somehow, so I go to the people I know will encourage when I need that, and to the ones who will critique when I need that. If I get kudos from someone at random.. THAT's a bonus. It's easier in clay because I can do a variety of things and I figure SOMEONE has to like something. Writing doesn't very well lend itself to a variety of styles within a story.
I agree with you. Take hold of each little bit of feedback and hang onto it. The more we create, the more people will appreciate.

you all know me: fandom sucks by saavaladyoneill on January 1st, 2004 07:29 pm (UTC)
When I started posting fic I glommed onto every bit of feedback and reveled in it to the point that I became a bit obnoxious. People called me a goddess, gave me onlist feedback, pumped up my ego. It all felt good at the time, but then I got flamed, I got publically mocked and torn apart as a bad writer and everything nearly fell apart.

My friends in Buffy fandom and in another kept me going, kept me writing, but I never let my ego take over again. I learned to accept feedback as a neat thing but not a necessary thing. I learned to write only for myself. If I'm happy with my stories it's enough for me. Any feedback from others is just a plus.

It's a hard lesson to learn and I hope no one has to learn it the way I did, but in many ways (especially when it's given publically) feedback is a popularity thing and that's not really a true measure.

And if you don't get feedback on a fic it doesn't mean no one is reading and enjoying. Maybe they don't have time to read it for several weeks. Maybe they don't have time to send feedback. Maybe they feel weird about doing so. Or maybe they didn't read it because they didn't have time or they missed it when it was posted or, like me, it's sitting in an overflowing fanfic email folder. *sigh*
She who refuses to be named: Pretty words I don't understandthestalkycop on January 1st, 2004 11:41 pm (UTC)
I do love feedback, but sometimes my fics or chapters don't seem validated until certain people have read and approved of my fic. Here's where I sound like a snob who doesn't deserve to have readers, but I tend to disregard the "omg! taht rawks d00d!" type reviews, because, yes, the reader may have enjoyed my story, but I will then see the same reviewer saying the same thing to a piece of Mary Sue crap with huge gaping plot holes, bad spelling mistakes and frequent gramatical errors.

I'm in a position some might envy, I now have a reputation in my fandom as one of the best. This is actually weird for me, at times, I'd rather be no-one because I have this fear that nobody dares say that they don't like my stuff or wants to point out glaring errors because I'm Star, and the fandom might revolt if I got constructive criticism.

I generally find, if I can please my beta, I feel better. My beta isn't there to fangirl over my work, she's there hunting for errors, so when I see little comments in brackets like "That was a great line" and such like, I feel like it's appreciated.

Yes, I'm a snob. I like reviews from smart non-fangirl people, yes, I'd love a load more of reviews like that, but I have one or two, so that's good enough. And the "omg! this storie is da kewlist!" reviews do tend to boost my ego a little!

(God, I'm so behind on reading LJ)
Miketheinvader on January 2nd, 2004 12:03 am (UTC)
It depends
Poetry...I put no effort into, the things I write, effortless. THis is not a good thing but it does not bother me if I don't get good feedback.

Fiction, I try too much. It's like overkill. And when I really need the help and don't get it, I think to myself that that is ok, poetry is my thing anyway.
Nuala: Oh dear!  Created by thestalkycopnuala on January 2nd, 2004 01:13 pm (UTC)
Writing is an emotional process for me. I put so much of myself into what I write. But I write for me. If my 'audience' (much smaller than you'd think) gives me feedback, it's generally good and I totally dig that. But mostly I'm doing it to put it out there. I'm writing for me in the hopes that someone else gets it. If they don't? Ah well, it sucks, but that won't stop me writing.

Never once has my husband offered to read anything I've written. I think if I were the type to let the critics bring me down, then I would have stopped ages ago.