Lately I've been wanting to write something spectacular—the kind of book that blows people away, leaves them in shock not only of how good the story is, but the writing as well. Yes, I want to birth a masterpiece, basically.
And of course because this is the way I'm feeling, absolutely none of my writing can possible live up to it. Some of my ideas might have potential, but then I realize I just don't have the skill yet to write them the way I want. I've grown a lot as a writer, but not enough.
Please don't think I'm depressed. I guess I've just been thinking a lot about the path of an artist in general. It's always this battle—the battle to improve and create that image in your head on paper.
I feel like I'm in yet another growing phase, where I just have to push out a lot of crap in order to learn. Both in writing and drawing. I went through this a few years ago with writing. Thousands of crappy words, just so I could figure out which ones were good. I've gone through this several times as an artist as well—lots of horrible sketches to figure out the right place to put the lines and shadows and light.
Sadly, having gone through it before doesn't make it any easier this time. It's always frustrating to feel like you've gone backwards, to feel like you're a greenie all over again.
But the only way to get through it is to push forward. I know, I'm a broken record, but I'm mostly reminding myself. My natural impulse is to give up, to accept that I'll be at this level forever and that's okay. I've learned, though, that when you push forward you really do get better.
I have thousands of horrible drawings and hundreds of thousands of awful words to prove it.
So maybe someday I will write that masterpiece, but it sure as heck won't be anytime soon. And though that sometimes makes me restless, I'm also okay with it.
I feel so much right now. This is something I've been struggling with for a long time. *hugs*ReplyDelete
*hugs* and as you said, your drawings have improved just within a year's time. there is no Ideal we'll ever reach, we will always be our own worst enemies and critics. but no, giving up (from you!) would be a travesty indeed. recognize that you are improving with every new project you tackle. that's all i ever hope to do as well. if you don't improve, you *learn*.ReplyDelete
Natalie, I love your blog because you are so honest about writing and the realities of trying to make a career out of it and you don't come across as whiny or overly pessimistic. Thanks for sharing what the rest of us experience, too. I'm sure your masterpiece will find it's way out into the world sooner than you think!ReplyDelete
I relate so much. Especially to what you said about fighting the impulse to give up and accept this is just how it is, yet secretly yearning to do something so much better....ReplyDelete
I know just what you mean! And I worry that I should hold off on my better concepts until my writing can do them justice. The only thing that keeps me from getting stalled out is mentally dangling a "one day" ambitious project in front of the one I'm working on now, so that I don't feel so guilty about mangling the current one.ReplyDelete
I'm sure this is why you keep getting better and better!ReplyDelete
I'm expecting that masterpiece from you any day now. (Truly, I wouldn't be surprised.)
Oh, I really understand this. It's so hard to push through, but worth it. Still trying myself!ReplyDelete
Aw, Natalie! You sound like a writer/artist in the low part of your confidence cycle! LOL I'm a writer/artist too, & have felt the same way. I've come to the conclusion that I can and probably will improve, but there will ALWAYS be someone who does it better than me. That kinda sucks, but on the other hand, I have to admit that I probably write or draw better than others; I'm likely in the middle. Nothing wrong with being average, I guess.ReplyDelete
But who knows--maybe you CAN do a masterpiece someday! (Me too!) But NOT if we fuss about it. On Nathan Bransford's blog Forums, they discussed whether competition negatively affects creativity. One person commented (and I could SO relate) that for writers, we often feel uber guilty when we don't write, and we think of a cool idea but then get locked up by the thought of "but who would publish it?" or "how can I make this idea into something publishable?" That's stifling creativity before it can even get a chance!
Anyway, hang in there. You wouldn't be where you are now in your writing OR your art if you didn't have talent! Which you obviously do. :o)
I know what you mean.ReplyDelete
I stuggle a lot with the question of "am I doing the right thing with me life?" I stopped doing artwork a few years ago because I wanted to persue writing, and now here I am drawing everyday and talking to Art Schools. Yet I haven't written anything in a while.
I always feel like I have to choose between the two - like there aren't enough creative juices to go around.
Make you feel like you've been sucked dry doesn't it?
Feel the same way, believe me.ReplyDelete
If only I had a few more lifetimes... but everything I write, sew, or draw leads me forward, as it does you.
No effort is really wasted, for it all contributes to growth. Besides, the process itself is fun!
I feel like this all the time! But I guess it's a good thing that we aren't aspiring just to write an okay novel barely able to get itself on the shelf. It's good to aim high!ReplyDelete
Write the story. The rest will follow. If you try to create a magical masterpiece, you won't get anywhere.ReplyDelete
Listen to the Muse. And write the story.
I know the feeling. When I get like this I stop and read over earlier drafts I've written. The fact I can see the difference and improvement from there to here, keeps me going.ReplyDelete
If it were easy to pound out a masterpiece there would be no masterpieces. All this work eventually tightens our prose into something fluid, turning our words into an art form.
The fact you're making a conscious effort, says a lot dear friend.(Hugs)Indigo
I definitely agree that pushing through those hard times is the best thing you can do as a wrtier. :) Well saidReplyDelete
I feel the same way right now. Ugh. I've been writing a book that completely sucks. The plot is very strong and neither are any of the characters. I'm debating whether I should even continue with it. I want to feel more passionate about what I'm writing and write something that inspires me as well as others. What to do? What to do?ReplyDelete
Yep, we just gotta embrace our turtle side. Slow but steady, we *will* win this race. And the next one. And the next one. And maybe others -- hares -- will win it faster, but does it really matter? So long as we cross that finish line, I don't think so. :)ReplyDelete
It *is* hard to remember that sometimes, believe me, I know too. But hey, that's what this blog is for, and all us writer friends are for. To remind each other. To band together. To turtle on!
J.T., at least you have it narrowed down to two things. Much better than having 30 things on your list and just not doing anything because "it's hopeless!"ReplyDelete
I'm way impressed by your blog. You talk about a lot of the same things I'm struggling with as a writer. I too have a grand idea in my head (I think it is, anyway) but I struggle with doubt that I have the skills to do it justice. This made me feel better, though. And I can't wait to read 'Relax, I'm a Ninja.' Keep it up!ReplyDelete
Yay you for moving forward! One of my probs is I feel like I'm not good enough, so I often don't bother to try!ReplyDelete
Have you ever looked at a beautiful person and suddenly seen their flaws? Maybe the nose slightly crooked? A freckle or two? Split ends?ReplyDelete
Sometimes I feel we look at our work and only see the flaws, but maybe those are the flaws of something beautiful, and we only need to look deeper.
Sometimes I wonder if I'm trying to make my story too perfect, and maybe I just need to tell the story, flaws and all.
I <3 you and your open honesty. :)ReplyDelete
Did you know yours is one of the only blogs I make sure I check every day and actually come back to check your comments? It's true, because you're so approachable and such a nice person and you always have something interesting to say whether you realize it or not. I mean, seriously, it's 12:47am and I'm on your blog instead of getting precious sleep. Because you're made of pure awesome. (That totally just made me think of Kung Fu Panda...)
Okay, enough rambling. :P
I think we all want to write masterpieces, at some level in our deepest hidden desires... but we'll settle for something that's okay as long as even one person reads it and says "that's my favorite book". Plus, what constitutes a "masterpiece", anyway? Maybe that work each of us sees as mediocre is a masterpiece is disguise. We might not know until it happens... so we need to just keep writing, keep pushing, until that day comes.ReplyDelete
A "masterpiece" was what an apprentice made to prove to the master craftsman that he was ready to leave his apprenticeship behind and become a master in his own right.ReplyDelete
Ironically, most of what we call literary masterpieces today were not seen as such by their creators. The artist wrote as best they could, and with skill, time, and luck, magic was made.
In hindsight we talk about the brilliance of the literary giants or the fame of best-selling authors, but they struggled to get the words on the the page, same as we do. They doubted their abilities, thought the writing was crap, pulled out their hair, consumed large quantities of alcohol and/or chocolate, and sunk into the depths of despair.
What they really did was write the best book they could. We can do that, too.
Don't give up! If it's any comfort, I get squirmy when I read the teasers for your stories... they're so awesome... I want to read them :( I'm sure you'll get to where you want to be as a writer. Keep going!ReplyDelete
Don't sell yourself short; your current WIP could be that next "Great American Novel."ReplyDelete