Wednesday, 16 July 2008

just a little drivel

Is it really 3 weeks since I last wrote here? I can't believe how fast the time has flown. I've been working on the final final edits of Cut Short. I should have kept a copy of all the versions... no, on second thoughts, that might have been an environmental disaster. What a difference computers make! I still like to print out and correct on hard copy once in a while, but most of the work takes place on my trusty computer. Today, I stored all my documents on a CD for the first time, so I now have 3 memory sticks (plus 2 more in reserve) and a CD for back up. 21st century, here I come!
In between editing, I've been writing some short stories. It's very different to writing a whole novel. I might try my hand at a play script one day. So far, I've restricted my efforts largely to crime stories, because that's what I do, but I might try a different genre, just for the fun of it. Perhaps the pressure of having to produce for my publisher has made me appreciate writing for myself again. (But I'll let you know if I ever manage to get any of my short stories published...)

I fluctuate between feeling amazingly brilliant, and thinking that my writing is absolute rubbish. Is that a common ambivalence among writers? How do other people feel about their writing? Can you judge your own work?

38 comments:

Debs said...

I know how you feel. Sometimes I feel like my writing is rather good and then I'll read it back the next day and thinks it's a load of bunkum (sp?)

Probably depends on my mood as much as anything though. I think it is hard to judge your own writing though.

BernardL said...

I fluctuate between feeling amazingly brilliant, and thinking that my writing is absolute rubbish. Is that a common ambivalence among writers? Oh yeah!

How do other people feel about their writing? I'm a confident optimist :)

Can you judge your own work? Not objectively, I'm afraid. :)

Trying different genres helps considerably.

Mima said...

Your back ups sound pretty safe, but for total safety you should have another copy off-site (somewhere other than where you are) in case of a fire or flood etc!!!!

Charles Gramlich said...

I feel that way. Sometimes I love my own work, and other times I hate it. I think it's a pretty common thing. Good luck with the short stories. I enjoy writing them.

spyscribbler said...

Definitely! I think it's part of the process, sometimes.

:-)

Mel said...

I also fluctuate but tend to the 'God that's awful' category and wanting to screw it up and throw it in the bin.

Well done on all the backing up. Final edits how exciting! Defintely try lots of different things, I find it keeps the creative juices going and the writing fresh. I fluctuate between short stories, kids stuff and a novel!

Leigh Russell said...

debs - bunkum is a great word.

bernardl - confident optimist that's what I'm going to be from now on. Sounds good. But can I still back up my work at least 3 times, just in case? I'm quite excited at the thought of trying different genres. Not enough hours in the day!!!

mima - I always take a memory stick with me. Have thought of getting a fire & flood proof safe but maybe that's a bit much??

charles gramlich - Thank you and yes, short stories are great. Have an idea, write it and it's done. Just like that.

spyscribbler - :-) exactly.

mel - I have a huge bin!

Elizabeth Platt said...

I'm terrible for judging my own work. I honestly can't tell if something I've written is good or not and it seems my writing is something a lot of people are undecided about. Some people love what I do while others can't stand it.

Leigh Russell said...

elizabeth platt - I think that's much better than finding people are totally indifferent to your work. All responses have to be personal, because all creativity is subjective, isn't it? It's not like a science, where the answer is right or wrong. I wonder if you have the same response to your work - some you love, some you hate?

Anne Lyken-Garner said...

I think that constant refusals make a writer start to feel a bit rubbish about his/her writing.

You just have to pick yourself up and dust these feelings off.

It's great when you get the validation of what you love doing (appreciation of your talent), especially when it comes in the form of an offer to publish!

Best wishes,
Anne

Leigh Russell said...

Anne Lyken-Garner - Every rejection takes you one response closer to an offer... (That's me being a confident optimist, like Bernardl)

The Wisdom of Wislon said...

Hi there- when does the book get printed and published? All the best with it!

Leigh Russell said...

Wisdom asks when? According to the publisher's website, Cut Short's going to be published (finally) at the end of March. Amazon gives a date about a week before that. I've seen the beginning of March on another website... I'll go for the end of March. Thanks for asking. I'll put it on my blog when the book finally comes out - if I can still type after all the champagne... along with a request for positive comments only please...!?
I've been waiting for so long, I don't even feel excited about it any more. It's become a way of life, waiting for publication. But I'm sure I'll be excited nearer the time.

Leigh Russell said...

Only me. I thought I wouldn't leave my post with 13 comments. Not that I'm at all superstitious.

Bill Clark said...

My problem at the moment is that I can't seem to get enough of my own writing. Every time I go to fix a typo or print a copy of my two-week wonder, I wind up spending inordinate amounts of time re-reading the sucker.

Well, I only started it three weeks ago today. And finished it one week ago today. So it's kind of like a neonate, endlessly fascinating at first. I'm sure I'll get tired of it sooner or later.... :)

*Bill goes off to reread his masterpiece for the umpteenth time*

Leigh Russell said...

Bill - I suspect your oeuvre is endlessly fascinating. Tell us more?

Monty said...

Hiya,

Thanks for being the first peep to comment on my blog! I hadn't told anyone it existed yet but just had hubby down for a peek as I was so proud someone else had read it!! I love crime fiction too, just finished 'Road Rage' by Ruth Rendell (not her best though) and I like Val MacDermid too. My Nana gave me lots of novels a while ago and 'Alone' was good (Lisa Gardner).

Writing is a lonely business (I think I mention in the blog I'm stumped just now) and it is so hard to judge your own stuff without your emotions/fears/general screaming self-doubt (if you're anything like me) getting in the way. But hang in there cos you must be doing v well if you're gonna be published!! Art is all about puttering and it can be scary when someone looks over your shoulder and makes comments and generally scrutinizes what your up to. But keep doing it for yourself, we are all behind you. Can't wait to read your book ;)

Leigh Russell said...

Hi Monty - Puttering is a great word! I'm a putterer!!! and I never knew it until now. Thank you.
I don't find writing lonely. I think I must be a natural recluse... I find it totally absorbing. I could happily sit at my keyboard all day and never feel lonely, as long as the ideas keep coming. When they don't it's frustrating - but let's not go there. As Terry Pratchett said, 'Writers' block was invented by people in California who can't write' or words to that effect... I just keep scribbling & typing, churning out my drivel and loving it!

ChrisEldin said...

*sharpens knife and other cooking utensils*

Over at the Book Roast, we're ready when you are......
;-)


I can't wait to see your book on the shelves! (I'm pretty confident it's going to be really, really good.)

Vesper said...

Leigh, thank you for visiting my blog. :-)

I fluctuate between feeling amazingly brilliant, and thinking that my writing is absolute rubbish.

Oh, I feel the same, though without the strong confidence-building influence of a published novel...

Looking forward to reading "Cut Short"!

Leigh Russell said...

Chriseldin - only pretty confident? not very confident? Oh no! (Leigh collapses in crisis of confidence...!) Seriously, thank you for the support. Having seen your lovely photo, I'm struggling to reconcile it with your - er - unusual behind...

Vesper - it has given me a LOT of confidence, having a publisher, confidence that has spilled over into every aspect of my life. But the next wobbly bit looms: once Cut Short is published, will anyone buy it? and will anyone actually like it (apart from my mum who's going to hate it and pretend she loves it)?

Leigh Russell said...

All seems to be about confidence at the moment. I feel another post coming...

Middle Ditch said...

Ha-ha-ha I know what you mean. Brilliance against rubbish. Oh Yeah.

I have written a few short stories Leigh, but I could never write a whole novel. I admire you for what you are doing.

Britta Coleman said...

I'm with you on the rubbish/genius dichotomy. I don't know if that ever goes away.

And totally inspired to Go Backup Work In Progress!

Leigh Russell said...

Middle Ditch - now there's a thing. A prolific writer like you admiring me... That's amazing! Short stories are fun, aren't they?

Britta Coleman - if I was a car, I'd be constantly in reverse gear (backing up - get it? On 2nd thoughts, don't bother. It's not worth thinking about.) I suppose if we didn't have the "I'm rubbish" times, we wouldn't keep striving to improve. If only my writing could be effortlessly perfect, instead of painstakingly imperfect.

fizzycat said...

I think any artist, be they a writer , dancer, or painter or whatever tends to be hardest on themselves when creating something. That's my thing on it. If I want to know if anything is good I ask people who are a bit critical , well honest anyway so I know if I'm ok and they are its probably good. Of course I am not writing books, goodness, that must be a bizarre proccess.

Leigh Russell said...

I think anyone artistic is a bit bizarre... but the antonym for bizarre in my thesaurus is "ordinary"...

Vwriter said...

Hello Leigh!

Have you ever written a story- one of those 5,000 word pieces that you stay up all night or all weekend hammering away on and it finally seems right and you're so relieved that before letting it sit a week so that you can see it with "fresh eyes," you submit it to an editor? And then wait. And wonder.

Did they like it, did they not? Why aren't they calling? Was it that bad?

So you take it to a friend and beg for an objective opinion. And their response is... vague.

Then, when the editor, who you're thinking is only reading your story of course and not the other 3,000 that were submitted, rejects it even with a few positive words it still seems like a stake through the heart.

Hard to judge our stuff unless we let it sit for a while.

Cool topic, by the way.

Leigh Russell said...

vwriter - so much to reply to here! First of all, I have to confess that Cut Short was the first MS I ever submitted to a publisher. My wonderful publisher phoned me after 2 weeks to express interest, so I can't say that was a long wait... Just lucky that the waiting came after the contract, while my equally wonderful editor struggled to guide me to rework my exuberant overabundance of plots into something resembling a coherent narrative.
Recently I've been writing short stories, just for fun. I'm sorry if that sounds frivolous, but if I stop enjoying writing, I'll stop writing. It's something I feel compelled to do because I love doing it. I'm obsessed and excited about each story as I'm writing it. As soon as it's done, I'm on to the next one.
I think it's best to keep writing. That way, by the time a rejection comes in, the MS is all but forgotten in the excitement of the subsequent one/s. Short stories are a great way to move on from rejection, because there's always a new one on the go. But then, I suppose there'll be a lot more rejections... Oh heck!
As for being objective about my own writing - no can do. The narrative and the characters are too present in my head, to distance myself from them. Sad, but true. Must try harder...

tykobrie said...

I am so sorry for this late reply to your comment on my blog. I don't often check it because of time and it was a pleasant surprise to see those visitors.

I can't answer your question because I'm not a writer, I just love cats.

Leigh Russell said...

Cats as in TS Eliot? Saki? Edward Lear? Truman Capote? Maybe I should try and write a story about a cat... hmmm (that's the sound of me thinking - a bit like purring - is that what cats are doing when they're purring?)

Vicki said...

I think all of us do that. One day we think we've written the next NY best seller and then the next we're asking, why did I think I could write.

I used to hate the edit process, didn't want to cut words, but lately I'm finding it easier to do. :)

Leigh Russell said...

That's so true, Vicki. I've been indulging myself writing short stories - a gem every day or so. By the time I realise it's actually not a gem, to put it politely, I'm patting myself on the back for my next creation. And so on. It's a constant source of self congratulation, and I don't even have to show them to anyone else, so no reality check there. I suppose I'll have to stop at some point and get back to the business of writing seriously! In the meantime, if you see someone struggling to get her big head through the door, give me a wink.

Vwriter said...

It's such an odd twist! You write the novel, get it published, and then you write short stories. I can't tell you how many times I was told, "Start on short stories, get some of them published, develope a following, then go for the novel."

I love it when staid advice gets upended. Where were you when I was getting short stories published to work up to the novel?!

Leigh Russell said...

Hi vwriter - It's all been a very odd journey. I found a publisher 2 weeks after submitting my MS around, signed the deal, and then had to rewrite my scribblings into a book. After which, I tried my hand at short stories. It reminds me of my answer to the random question on my blog profile...

The World According To Me said...

I fluctuate between feeling amazingly brilliant, and thinking that my writing is absolute rubbish. Is that a common ambivalence among writers?

I feel like that about my whole life sometimes! There are good days and there are not so good days!

ANNA-LYS said...

Yes, we can judge our own work - at least by looking in the back/rear window

Leigh Russell said...

world according to me - yes, I think that ambivalence is common and like you say, it applies to life as much as to writing. In a way, all artistic endeavour is like life intensified.

anna-lys - tell me more!