How do you really feel about your writing?

I’m halfway through rereading my book.  I’m moving slowly because life has taken back over. Teaching, family, friends, my smelly dog.  While the pace is frustrating, I’m trying to relax and just accept that it will all happen with time.  This is my first book.  The hurry is self-created.

R-E-L-A-X.

A couple questions keep resurfacing, that I am very curious to know how others feel.  The first, do you ever really love your writing?  I want honest answers.  It won’t sound arrogant to me to hear yes, or self-depricating to hear no, I’m just curious because I bounce all over the place, even within the same piece.  While I love to write, I’m not sure I love what I write.

Some days I think it’s good, others I recognize I still have room to grow.  Probably, it is some mixture of both good and need for growth, I get that.  I just wonder whether writers commonly like their own work or continue to be critical of it even after they finish.  Other than reading for flow and mistakes, I’m done with this book.  I want to move on, I feel like I will do better with a fresh story.

To be clear, I’m by no means saying my story is bad or that I’m giving up on it, I just don’t know if it’s unusual to feel so mixed about my writing.  I’m proud I did it, I think it’s readable, I like the plot, I just know I’ll also get better as I go.  I’ve decided that if I can’t get an agent/publisher, which I know is highly possible, I want to e-publish just to share it, to put it out there, to help me grow.

So, here are my questions for writers:

How have you felt about your writing when you’ve finished?  Confident, unsure, both?

What e-publishing communities have you enjoyed the most?  I spent some time on smashwords and amazon today.  Not sure what’s the best option, although as usual, I’m a couple steps ahead of myself because I still need to finish and at least submit it to some agents for the ritualistic rite of passage.

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9 thoughts on “How do you really feel about your writing?

  1. jeffo says:

    Hmm. I love parts of my writing. There are sections that I’ll look at and think, “That’s really good.” Other sections, not so much. I’m considering going back and re-reading the novel I’m currently querying while I’m letting the one I just finished stew a bit; I’m curious how I’ll feel, because I haven’t read it through now since…late winter, early spring?

    I can’t be much help on the self-pubbing front, sorry, as I haven’t seriously considered that option yet. If I end up going to it, I’ll have to find an editor to seriously edit, as the last thing I want is to be one of ‘those’ authors who puts half-baked work out for the world, and I’m not ready to do that yet. I’m still clinging to the dream of the ‘traditional’ route.

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Thanks for sharing! I really enjoy hearing other authors’ experiences. I’m with you on preferring the traditional route. I wasn’t even considering self-publishing until this final read, when I thought it would be nice to have it out there, at least as my back-up plan. I’ve read quite a few success stories of authors gaining readers through e-publishing and then finding agents/traditional publishers. If nothing else, I expect it would be a learning experience for my future works. We’ll see. Good luck to all of us, I suppose! 🙂

  2. kingmidget says:

    There are stories I’ve written that when I go back and read them I think “I absolutely nailed it.” There are others… not so much. I still look at One Night in Bridgeport and wish I had the time to completely re-write it. People have read it and loved it and I think “ah, there’s so much more I could have done if I gave myself the time.” The fundamental reality is that your internal editor is different, more judgmental, more of a lot of things, than the average reader. This is why you need to share with others to see what they think so you can recognize your internal editor may not know what the hell it’s talking about. 🙂
    Just went back and re-read your post … I think to be anything other than mixed up about your work would be unnatural.

  3. kingmidget says:

    One more thing … I’ll need to figure out what I’ve learned from my e-publishing experience and share it. I’m having my doubts about the efficacy of the whole thing.

    • oliviaobryon says:

      I look forward to hearing your experiences! And, I agree about the sharing part. I was fortunate to have seven encouraging and helpful readers, but I still find myself very critical of my work. That’s why I want to push myself to share it with a wider audience even if it doesn’t get traditionally published. I think it will help me grow as a writer for whatever comes next, (or I hope it will…). Thanks for the input, it helps.

  4. Seb says:

    I’m highly ambivalent about it as soon as it is done. it is an interesting exercise to do (if it isn’t, I just stop) but once it is done I form little attachment to it.

    • oliviaobryon says:

      That’s really interesting! Maybe I’m the same… I just feel like I’ve read it so much that I’m losing track of how I actually feel about it. Thanks for the input!

  5. bwtaylor75 says:

    I love the fact that you judge your writing so harshly, you should. I am my biggest critic too. How do I feel about my writing? It has changed as my skill level improved. The better my skills became, the more confident I became. I’m in a place now where little bothers me, but I realize there is still room to improve.

    The doubts you are feeling are natural. We all learn at our own pace and in our own time. You’ll know when your writing is where you want it to be. Most established writers call it the “A-ha moment”. Something just clicks. My a-ha moment came when I started giving critiques. Going through someone else’s manuscript with editorial eyes helped me see my work differently. Not only could I spot potential flaws, but I understood why they were potential flaws. I also finally understood why a literary agent who was “very, very interested but reluctantly had to pass” on my manuscript and her meaning of stilted voice. It’s taken me nearly a year after I thought I was ready to be actually ready to query…again. But I had to figure those things out for myself first.

    Sometimes you have to take your toe out of the water and dive in to get the whole experience. Querying, rejections, and every other stage of the writing process must be experienced in order for writers to learn. The only way you’ll know how good or bad your manuscript is, is to get it out there. The bottom line is to do what feels right for you. Listen to your heart and believe in yourself. If you don’t, why should anyone else?

    In my opinion, the only time your manuscript is “finished”, is after it’s published. I’m looking forward to see where your journey leads you. Good luck!

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