Tag Archives: Writing

Lately, Hating Everything I Write

I don’t know if this is a rite of passage for new bloggers or a normal phase that any writer may encounter at any stage in life, but lately I feel so “…MEH…” about what I write.  And it isn’t that I have writer’s block.  If anything, I am overflowing with words. I can sit down and type 1,000 words as easily as any other task. Will the words make sense or be pleasant to read?  That is another question. What seems to be my problem lately is that I HATE what I’m writing. I hate my new posts even after I am satisfied enough to publish them. I hate my old drafts, and they keep building up in my WordPress Dashboard. I probably have two dozen drafts that will never be published because when I read through them, I think they are terrible.  Does anyone else have this problem?

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It wasn’t like this when I started blogging.  I dove in with ample enthusiasm and absolutely no idea what I was doing.  I was so excited that, pardon the expression, I didn’t see the forest for the trees.  I just knew that I was such an awesome writer full of awesome ideas! That is probably the best way to jump into blogging, without really knowing how complicated the process can become.  Flash forward several months and the pain is acute.  I am aware of my shortcomings as a writer and my assorted faults as a person.  This phase of frustration seems to correspond with the growing pains of striving to become a better writer, but also with the heightened stress of putting out  fires set by some invisible arson.  Sometimes when I sit down to read through my drafts my mind wanders to the more important issues at hand, and when I come back to the text I think “Ugh, booooor-ring!”

Going through this painful and rather embarrassing process has taught me valuable lessons about my writing and myself.  For instance, I have yet to find my voice.  When reading the work of fellow bloggers, I tend to nitpick myself, forgetting I am still very new to writing, not as developed as my peers.  I become quite self conscious when reading some awe inspiring post by a veteran blogger, knowing I could NEVER write that well no matter how much work I put into my comparatively pathetic attempts.  It isn’t that I feel jealous of the arguably more talented writers, (because without them how would we set the standard?) but for me, the double edged sword of reading their writing is the inevitable feeling of both admiration and terror.  I want to write as well as them, but my subconscious starts nay-saying and discouraging me, the nasty little bitch.

So what does one do when finding oneself in such a situation? Well, I don’t know what most other writers do, but I developed a plan do deal with my crazy neurotic self.  And, in case anyone wants to market this as a self help scheme, I have put it all in list form!  You’re welcome!

  1. Ask the Tough Questions.  First I pursued the source of my dislike for my own writing.  Did I really hate everything I wrote, or was there something else going on?  I discovered A LOT of bottled up stress from external factors, some of which I could not control, and that was negatively affecting my writing.  It was also decimating my energy, not just for writing, but for other enjoyable projects.  In short, I was getting depressed and needed to confront my feelings in order to move on.
  2. Confront the Problem(s).  Next I approached my “hated” drafts.  Were they really that bad?  Okay, some were.  But instead of scrapping them all, I kept them for future use.  Maybe a snippet from one, a paragraph from another, and so on, could be useful…Most were not terrible, it was just my perception at the time.  This same approach could be used for putting all other problems (not just ill-fated blog drafts) into perspective.
  3. Take an Honest Look at Yourself.  I then looked at my relationship with fellow bloggers.  How did I see myself compared to them?  I have always struggled at putting myself on equal footing with peers.  This goes back to childhood, when I was teased for being shy, ugly, too quiet, too poor, and friendless (which made it difficult to actually make friends).  So I gave myself a pep talk.  Where had all bloggers started out? The same place as me.  So there is no reason to be ashamed of my work, and while I certainly have room to grow, there is no reason to feel inferior.
  4. Ask One Last Hard Question.  Last of all, I asked myself, “Do I still want to do this?”  Over the last couple of weeks I had become so distracted by all the fires I was putting out, I lost interest in doing many things, one of which was writing.  That was part of my response to a high level of stress.  When you are under so much stress, you might feel compelled to let go of anything that seems like an obligation.  But blogging isn’t really an obligation for me, or at least it shouldn’t be.  I started doing this to express myself freely, bypassing annoying obstacles along the way.  Why give up now, when I am still barely getting my feet wet?  There is still so much to experience!

After my self-therapy session, I feel better.  I don’t look better, but that might require more sleep and a trip to the chiropractor.  I can honestly say, though, that now I really LOVE this post. I love it more than when I started writing it.  I am really happy that I wrote about writing, or more to the point, about fighting through the obstacles that can prevent us from writing.  And I hope that all you writers out there are loving what you write.  That is what it’s all about.

— G

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Irons In The Fire

January was a busy month.  I have several irons in the fire and never seem to stay still long enough to gather dust.  Besides adding two new job titles — paraprofessional and literacy tutor — to my responsibilities at the school, I’ve been busy with projects at home.  Watermarking my digital photos as an attempt to protect them has become one priority.  I don’t know that my photos are actually worth stealing, but they are mine, I put work into them, they are special to me.  Anyone thinking of snagging them consider this: they are kinda shitty compared to professional photographs.  Bitch please, I’m an amateur photographer.  If you’re going to commit intellectual property theft, you are on the wrong site.

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I did a round of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writer’s Month).  The first time I encountered this on WordPress I thought another blogger was writing about Japanese anime characters so I disregarded.  In late December I received an e-mail from a blog I subscribe to, challenging me to participate in NaNoWriMo for January and write 500 words every day.  There were no strings attached except that participants make a valiant effort to write.  My progress was nothing to brag about, but I did make an effort.  Part of my problem was that I ended up ill for ten days, and during this time I didn’t have the energy to approach my computer, let alone type 500 words a day.  I managed to put extra effort into what I did type, and January writing projects were quite enjoyable.  So, I am happy to report that while I didn’t write a novel (and don’t intend to at this point) I have developed the habit of wanting to type about 500 words each day.  That is a good habit to develop!

I began a new project and a bit of a crash course.  I have had this fantastic book, Will Write for Food, by Dianne Jacob, for two years now, and just cracked the cover this month.  I am nearly halfway through and am learning invaluable information about…drum roll please…food writing!  Before I even considered starting a blog, my husband was encouraging me to write a cookbook featuring old family recipes and “secret” ingredients.  Unsure how prepared I was for such an endeavor, I ordered Jacob’s guide and it sat in a corner for two years.  Now that I (finally) opened it I can say that Will Write for Food is THE quintessential resource for food writers.  I am gaining nothing by making positive statements about this book, I just really think it is wonderfully comprehensive!

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After I finish reading the book, work on the suggested exercises and research areas of interest, I will (hopefully) be a more experienced writer.  In the meantime I am launching an ambitious little blog called Okra Blossom, focused on anything food related.  I took a nap a few days ago, and when I woke up I HAD to start another blog immediately, and I HAD to call it Okra Blossom, because that is my favorite flower.  As impulsive as I can be, this is not without some deep and careful (apparently subconscious) thought (while I was napping?) but I am enthusiastic about the positive repercussions of having a semi-professional food blog.  I will still have my any topic/any time eclectic chaos occurring at Blogging Pioneer.  But Okra Blossom will be more laser focused and (again hopefully) will help me develop a specific skill set as a writer.  If you are interested in reading my food writing, come visit me soon at:

http://okrablossom.com/

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Facebook Verdict: Like

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After years of avoiding Facebook like the plague, I finally took the plunge! Will this be my undoing?

Well it has been one week since I started my blog and also since I joined Facebook.  I have learned three important things:

  1. Almost everything from the Ellen sitcom of the 1990s is back in style again.  That has nothing to do with my blog or Facebook, but I have been watching that show lately and it interesting that styles from the ’90s are once again so popular.  Who else is loving their soft flannel grunge tops and combat boots?
  2. I am really enjoying writing this blog.  I don’t know if I have found my niche yet, and I still need to figure out how much cursing is the proper amount for this site, but otherwise this is quite thrilling!
  3. Facebook is incredibly addictive.  I had to establish ground rules when I chose to ignore the tornado siren because I was reading a particularly interesting post.  It turned out to just be the monthly test siren, but I decided to impose Facebook rules to insure personal and family safety, cleanliness, and overall wellbeing.  To that end I only check my account after the children are fed and we all pass the minimal hygiene requirements established for our family.  So I am sitting on the couch with no makeup, hair un-brushed, and  a box of crackers at my side – super classy.  But I am fully clothed and my kids are at school so I can be glued to my computer all day.  Rock on!

I really had no expectations about my blog when I started writing posts.  Just the goal of getting something written was daunting enough that pushing the ‘Submit’ button was a triumph in itself.  To see that people are actually reading the blog is very flattering! At this point it is too early to speculate whether it will eventually lead to a new career or end up as just a fun hobby, but it will be a healthy way to express all the energy bottled up inside through hilarious, touching, gut wrenching, and super weird stories that are trying to burst out.  Because without a hobby of some sort, I am basically a disgruntled, overly frazzled, frumpy housewife with just enough spare time to write these super weird stories and release them into the World Wide Web to live on in infamy.  So to those of you who have been reading this past week, thanks for sticking with me.  I promise to try to get better, or worse if that helps.  You, my friends, are my motivation to keep going.

I would like to prattle a bit about Facebook, because it is incredibly fascinating!  I had no idea how much FUN it would be to reconnect with people from my past simply by creating a profile page.  I don’t know why it took so long for me to do this.  Contrary to popular belief, my husband and I are not cave dwellers and we do use technology extensively; we are just super choosy about what and how we use it.  And my husband (who is not on Facebook) is still not completely convinced that Facebook is not the work of the devil.  Actually I am also not completely convinced either, but the fact remains that I have been able to come back into contact with so many amazing people from my childhood in the course of a week.  This feat is beyond comprehension!  Maybe I am a cave dweller…Something that touched me especially was a comment from one friend who wrote in my timeline that she had thought about me frequently over the years and had looked for me on Facebook.  It made me realize that I had been missing out on the chance to maintain friendships through continual conversations on a virtual platform of goodwill and good vibes.

As I continued to find old friends and send requests out (and confirm requests too!) I was delightfully surprised by my reactions.  I found myself smiling back at the photos of old classmates, gasping to see them with new babies, exclaiming my glee over their children’s antics, their fantastic careers, my great looking grown up re-found friends!  Then I encountered a problem.  I found people who I didn’t think I could ‘friend’.  They were people with whom I had parted ways due to some sort of drama, or they were simply people who I believed wouldn’t remember or care to know me after all these years.  Why re-hash any new drama by inviting an old enemy onto my page, or possibly be turned down by someone too cool to remember me from fifteen years ago because even back then they were too cool to be my friend?

In case it hasn’t become obvious, I have always been a tad sensitive and self conscious, and making friends has not been easy for me until recently.  I never really had a clique in high school, although I did have some wonderful friends who took me in and dragged me on many wild and crazy adventures.  Instead of cementing myself into one group of people and assimilating their ways, I sort of floated all over, absorbing a bit from every clique but never really fitting in anywhere.  Perhaps that has lent to my overall balking at getting on Facebook as well as my hesitation this past week when encountering some of the classmates from my past.  As intimidating as they were back then, with their perfect grades,  Olympian athletic graces and impeccable wardrobes, they are even scarier now!  Most have gone on to become exactly what I knew they would: Titans of creativity, ingenuity, and beauty.  I never felt like I measured up to them in high school, and this crippling revelation has resurfaced  with my rediscovery of all these successful classmates and friends from days gone by.  So, I am faced with a new challenge for the next week.  I can either be a wimp and cower in shame from the people who I believe are so much better than I simply because I didn’t know that I was cool enough to hang out with them in high school.  Or I can get over myself, extend a hand of friendship and see what happens.

—G

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