Writing Posts

Well, Shit

Oh, you gotta love the rollercoaster ride that is being a writer who overthinks (which begs the question of if there is any writer who doesn’t struggle with overthinking and questioning their work).

Let me tell you a story.

Peruse through this blog the past, eh, year or so, and you’ll find a plethora of posts discussing my writing rut and my struggle with it. You’ll also find a few posts discuss my revelation and decision to scrap a novel previously titled THE RESISTANCE and start over from square one.

Last week, I started working on a rough outline, writing out the history of the events that happened before the story I wanted to tell and the basic plot, mapping out the beats I wanted to happen in each chapter. This week, I began fleshing out a few plots holes that still remained and did a little more research, even putting a few books on hold at the library that might make me a bit more knowledgeable over some of the topics I wanted to include. Though I struggled last night to start working on a personality sketch of my main character, I was excited. I was sticking to the routine I’d made for myself and this story seemed to be forming in front of my eyes. I was getting excited once more, that feeling I’d missed for so long during that rut.

So, I decided to tell my man about the plot. I didn’t do the best job describing it, but I pushed through.

And then he said, “You know I really like you, but–”

And my heart dropped.

In the famous words of the brilliant writer Varric Tethras: “Well, shit.”

Don’t get me wrong, I wanted his honest opinion. And it means the world to me that he willingly gave it and didn’t beat around the bush about it, yet was also sweet. It could have been worse. Basically, he said he felt like I was cramming too many elements from sci-fi into one novel and I should try and space it out more, so readers don’t feel overwhelmed and I take the proper time to actually flesh out every aspect and detail. That’s not a bad suggestion, not at all. I’m still wracking my brain about how to exactly do that, plot and story wise, but it definitely could have been worse feedback.

Yet it still didn’t stop me from feeling a little…defeated, in a sense. Here I am, finally taking the steps to get back into the writing game, and I’m already stumbling. Not to mention I just sent ARTEMIS out for (hopefully) it’s last round of beta edits before I can go query, so all around, I’m feeling a little nervous and unconfident about my strength as a writer, especially since it feels like I’ve been out of the game for so long. Plus, considering these ideas were meant to be improvements on a story that was already lacking in every respect and yet they are still lacking…

Yeah, I woke up this morning and just felt, disappointed, in myself. As I struggled to get a few more hours of sleep, my brain wouldn’t turn off, thinking about this story. As I ran, I struggled to figure out how to tell the story I wanted to tell and contemplated–just for a moment–giving up on this story entirely. Obviously it was way too out of my league to attempt to even write. Obviously it’s too bleak, too depressing, too intricate, too alien, for be worth trying. Obviously–

Obviously, I just needed to have mini pity party for myself. Now, I need to shove all those doubts into a place I immediately forget about and then get back to work.

Yeah, this story I’m trying to write isn’t the easiest. It’s complicated, it’s out of my usual realm, it’s a tragedy and it isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. And I have some decisions to make. More outlining to do. Plus, I have to write the entire thing. Then rewrite it. Draft after draft after draft, which, personally, I think is when the core part of the story is actually discovered and truly written (during the rewrites), so even if I don’t follow my man’s advice and decide to write it the way it’s outlined now–or if I follow it and break this story into multiple books–I know it’s going to change during the editing process. It’s going to constantly evolve and grow and dare I believe it, improve.

But it’s never going to have that chance if I don’t write it because I’m feeling fragile at the moment and have, in a sense, lost my confidence as a writer.

So, if you don’t mind, I have some more outlining and brainstorming to do.


22 thoughts on “Well, Shit”

    1. It was both difficult and refreshing, because the idea is in such a fragile state right now that almost any feedback makes it feel pointless. Yet at the same time, I value his opinion highly and I appreciate the honesty. And it’s always nice to get feedback in a positive way. 🙂

      1. I’ve definitely gotten better at receiving feedback at all the stages, compared to when I started. But there are still moments when I feel as fragile as eggshells when it comes to writing and they are much more common than when I feel invincible.

  1. This is so on point. Our own self doubt can be crippling! You ARE a good writer! Never give up. Change, morph, mix it up, but DONOT quit! Love your writing and you will get there.

  2. Well, shit. Yep that sums up some of my experiences lately. I feel you on the overthinking. Holy moly do I do that. I know I do that, I still can’t stop myself.

    It suck to get feedback like that. Even if it’s helpful. 😦

    1. Ha, I think all of us writers have that experience at one point or another. And not even just writers, but everyone in just general life experiences! I’m also known as an overthinker and even as a conscious one, doesn’t mean it’s always the easiest thing to stop.

      It does, but I remind myself that I’d rather get that type of feedback now while I can still actively do something about it instead of getting the same comment over and over again in reviews and be able to do nothing, you know?

  3. Keep moving forward Nicole! It sounds like you’re giving your story the focus it needs 😀. Also, I hope your next betas enjoy Artemis’s story! I certainly did in its previous iteration.

    1. I’m hoping so! Plan is to keep outlining it this week and see if I can figure out the real plot of this beast. 😛 Thank you (especially mentioning that you enjoyed Artemis, your feedback was tremendous)! It’s on the family-and-close-friends round, so fingers crossed.

  4. Ouch, that’s tough! 😦 The thing is, I’d figure it all out and write it (that’s what you do best, and you’ll FEEL better for having gotten it all out), and if you need to turn it into 2 books to fit it all in, or trim some stuff out, you’ll do it! The thing is, no one is ever going to be able to realise the vision you have in your head until you can write it all out – and even then, you’ll probably have to draft and redraft a couple of times to get it (close) to where you want it right? (Recognising that perfection is impossible 😛 ) So he’s just going off what you’ve managed to tell him, which realistically won’t be as great as what you write: that’s just simple maths :p You’re going to kill this Nicole. Your story is going to kick ass and it’s all going to come together, just give yourself some time and some patience 🙂

    1. Ana, hot damn, did I need that comment. Like, whoa, I’m definitely going to have to look at that again when I’m feeling down, because you’re right: just because what I said the story was about doesn’t mean that’s how it will read. Not to mention that you’re also right in how much stories change when drafts are written. Even though the first draft of this beast won’t be the final draft, it might be the most important draft, because you’re getting a draft *done* and completed for the first time. And that’s important.

      Thank you so much, Ana. Truly. ❤

  5. I’m not sure if this is going to make you feel better or worse, but my husband has never even read anything I’ve written. 🙈 We have different tastes, and he agrees to support me without knowing what the books are about, and it’s sweet in its own way. I wish he’d read my stuff, sure, but he’s so petrified he won’t like it that he refuses. Anyway, what I’m trying to say is, our men don’t always know what’s best for us, and if you would read what you’re wanting to write, that’s the first step (in my opinion). I can’t wait to read it one day! ❤

    1. That is still sweet, I agree. And I also understand both sides of that (you wanting him to read it and him not wanting to due to differing tastes and fears of not enjoying it). But I bet he shows different ways to support you! And you’re right: I gotta always remember to write for me, first. Because that’s when the most beautiful stories come to life.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to help me out with this, Amanda! (Also, speaking of reading books, I *promise* I haven’t forgotten yours. Tbh, I’ve just been a shit reader, recently. But I am still excited to read it!)

  6. I so admire your commitment to see the stories through!
    BTW, I’m reading Art!!! I will def have the feedback for you – probably the middle of Oct. Which will be perfect timing for another phone chat! Yay us, lol.

    1. Thank you, Beth. Hey, YES. That makes me so excited and makes me want to puke a little bit (gosh, if I’m ever published, I’m just going to want to hurl all the time, knowing anyone out there could be reading my books at any time :P). Yes, that sounds lovely! I can’t wait for our next phone call, I enjoyed our last one immensely!

    1. Oh, thank you, Marie! I’m sorry if you’ve messaged me on FB. I haven’t been on social media yet. But I’ve been working on it tonight and I’m feeling a little more confident about it (been mapping out some characters and such). And excited, which is important.

      1. Right, the excitement was good to hear about. 🙂 I haven’t messaged you, I don’t think. (Not remembering should tell you how crazy things have been for me, lately. 😂) Glad to hear you’re making some headway!

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