16 July, 2010

You Suck, Your Story Sucks, Why Have You Wasted My Time?!?

The title of this post was the entire critique I received for a story I'd started, oh, about the same time I sold Ghosts, and it's stuck with me ever since. I had it stuck to the top of my computer monitor for a long, long time, and, strange as it may sound, the comment gave me strength and, stranger still, comfort.

I tell myself that I suck often enough, so maybe it was the familiarity that struck such a cord with me. Maybe it was something else. But it has stuck in my head all these years - I received the comment in the fall of 2001, perhaps that following winter.

Yep. Nearly a decade ago. But I still remember. Because it's important.

Nathan Bradford writes on his blog how, often, the untalented believe they're awesome and the talented believe they stink. That's certainly true for me. The pieces I think OMG! This totally rocks! fall flat with readers, and the pieces that I'm unsure about, that seem like steaming doggy doo on a plate to me, others squee over and gobble up. Why is that? Why can't we see our own brilliance, or our own madness?

I haven't written anything of note since Valley of the Soul, its revisions finished in the spring of 2006. More than four years ago. Oh, I've nearly completed Stain of Corruption twice (once stopping about 3 scenes from the end and scrapping the whole thing), and I've started several totally unrelated books (Spore, Morgan's Run, Paul's Story, Katie Rose, and I can't even remember how many more), but nothing is grabbing me. None of it. There isn't one single story that's screaming You must set all else aside and finish me! 

Why? Because they all suck. I suck. Why am I wasting my time?

Why am I wasting your time? Why do I so this?

I must stand in the shower and ponder these things a while.

7 comments:

Monica J King said...

You said it yourself. We do it because we're crazy.

Bonkers.

Mad as ugly bunny rabbits.

At least I know I am.

I'm thinking the key is not to give a flying frick, but that's admittedly hard.

Oh Tam, I have my blog back, BTW...

StumblingThere.com

Tammy Jones said...

Monica!

I'm definitely nuts - I even have paperwork proving it ;) - and I think that being crazy is an important part of the writers' toolkit. Because if we weren't, why would we subject ourselves to this painful, aggravating mess day after day after day? Uppity characters and plots that won't behave and negative reviews and edits and saggy sales and all that freaking MARKETING?!?!

I hate marketing and I often wonder if my 'blockage' is because marketing is so god-awful-nasty-horrible-shuddering-loathsome to endure?

I SAW your new blog (it's where I got the linky to Mr. Bradford) and I've put it on my blogroll, but it's not showing your most recent posts. Wonder what's up with that?

Monica J King said...

I have no idea what's wrong with it. Only the Lord and Google probably know.

I have this idea I want to write. YA. Still working on it. Need prayer.

jeritalleedawso said...

You are aware that you've turned this into your personal mantra?

You don't suck. That writers are a little crazy is par for the course. But you don't suck. The writer of that note sucks for a million reasons, one of them being an inconsiderate dweep and scum of the earth idiot who is obviously incapable of wording his objections in a reasonable, respectful manner. Why would you listen to someone like that?

BUT YOU DON'T SUCK AND YOUR WRITING DOESN'T SUCK, EITHER. It might need work, but really, whose writing doesn't? We can always improve on what we did yesterday.

Wow. As if writing wasn't hard enough as it is. Don't let the scumbags of the world take you down on top of it.

Krista said...

Want to know who sucks? Your inner critic. You need to gag that bitch and stuff her in a closet.

And, while you're at it, can you do the same to mine?

Maripat said...

Ah, hugs, Tammy. You do not suck. I swear. And I do understand fighting the inner demons. I have my own beasties that feel the need to overeact right now. Take care.

bonniers said...

You do not suck. Your writing does not suck. Whoever sent you that comment sucks. How can you trust the judgment of someone who's such a bad writer he can't even phrase a proper form rejection?