Sunday 7 October 2018

Nerd Church - The Writer Diaries: The More You Learn About Writing, The Less You Seem To Know

It’s weird. It’s really weird.

The more you write, the less confidence you have in what you’re writing.

You notice every goddamn flaw like it’s screeching at you.

(If you’re writing horror, maybe it is. But I guess that would be the point, right? 😆)

Quill, ink pot, and hand-writing

The more you write, the more convinced you are that you’ll never be a ‘good’ writer – whatever the hell that is.

And then, with this weirdly inflated sense of imposter syndrome filling you, you try to seek out the wisdom of the all-powerful interwebs.

And that goes about as well as you can expect…

It pretty much confirms to you that you should give up on being a writer, drop out of the entire capitalist system, and live on beans you grow yourself on land you’re squatting on.

(I know that sounds surprisingly appealing, but don’t do that. Try to at least rent the land. 😉)

You Google ‘how to write stuff,’ ‘how to be a writer,’ ‘make my writing better,’ and ‘top writing tips.’

And after an eternity’s worth of search results written by people who have their lives in order and seem to understand this whole writer thing faaaar better than you ever will, you Google ‘how to grow beans,’ and hope for the best.

(Except there are dramatically more types of beans than you thought there were… and come to think of it, do you even like beans?!)

Lisa Simpson: 'Writing is the hardest thing ever' gif
Via Giphy

You read that there are no shortcuts (in the writing, not the beans… I have no clue about bean-related shortcuts, there may be several or none,) and you just have to ‘do the work.’

Which would be great, if other people didn’t seem to have found these supposedly non-existent shortcuts.

...And if anybody had a clue as to what exactly ‘the work’ entailed.

And yes, yes, I freaking know, ‘the work’ is writing, writing, writing, and writing some more.

But that doesn’t help my whole ‘why do I think my work sucks more NOW than I did when I started?’ dilemma.

It’s also frustratingly vague.

In a state of disappointment, you imagine two futures, neither of which you want.

One is the previously mentioned beans; which, y’know, you do you and all that! If that's your thing, than f**king go for it!

...The other one is one where you write and write and write and write and somehow get nowhere.

You’re stuck on a treadmill, with absolutely no clue how to get off.

It’s not like you think you’ll automatically get the fame and fortune of Stephen King or J K Rowling (though that would be nice! If anyone’s offering, I’m not turning it down!) but some goddamn progress would be nice.

Some chink of light in the dark.

Some sight of land on the horizon…

Some other metaphor for a little bit of hope up ahead…

A guide would be helpful, right?

Someone, anyone, who actually seems to know what the hell they’re doing?

Because does anyone... really?

(Apologies for once again probably provoking several existential crises. I don't do it on purpose!)

What do you think?
Do any writers actually know how they got there, or how they plan to get there, or where 'there' even is?
Does anyone have a definition for 'the work'?
Talk to me! 😅💬

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Last updated: 13th Oct 2018


  1. I completely agree Cee! It’s seems with each passing day I become more and more self conscious of my writing. Being in a creative writing program, you’d think I’d know where “there” is, but to be honest, I have no idea where I’m going to end up. Whether or not I ever publish, I’m happy I’m learning about what I love :)

    1. Awesomeness Em! Never stop... cos one day we'll hopefully have an idea of where tf we're going! Lol.

  2. Very true! And I'm glad you understood that I was including bloggers in this too! Lol

  3. Oh, I definitely get this. Every time I think I'm taking steps in the right direction, I learn something new that makes me feel like I've taken ten steps backward again. Sometimes I think being blissfully unaware was better!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  4. I can relate to this. When I was a teenager, I loved writing so much that I could give up sleep and write something book-length in a few days. After 11 years of college and a lot of rejection, I’ve learned that writing is hard and I’m terrible at it. Now it takes me several days to write and edit a 1000-word blog post. I was happier when I had no idea what I was doing. :)

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Ha, clearly we all need to go back to being ignorant af ;) jk, ofc - we probably *are* better now, it just doesn't feel like it!

  5. I came here for bean-related shortcuts. I'm disappointed! ;-)

    I think sometimes it reaches a point where you have to stop searching for and reading tips and advice and all that or it does get overwhelming. You just have to trust what you're doing, try things, and change or fix things later if necessary. Will that get you fame or publication or whatever? Idk, but sometimes that works better, for me at least!

    1. Remember to at least lease the land dammit! ;)

      Argh, but you have to figure out how to fix the thing, or write the thing, or whatever! And there seems to be no direct path here and my machete arm is tired from hacking back the undergrowth! (I have no idea where that analogy came from, but I'm sticking with it.)


Comments? I love comments! Talk to me nerdlets!