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I feel too self-conscious to write
15

Whusky · 05/12/2019 12:01

Looking for some advice guys.

I've always been a writer, since I learnt how to write. I stopped in my late teens for whatever reason.

For the last ten years, I've felt twitchy, restless, and desperate to write something, anything, but I suffer from crippling self-doubt in my ability and feel embarrassed of my 'crap' work. I can't stomach writing for even my own benefit - I hate the thought of reading it.
In a moment of bravery, I let dh and some close friends and family read a short writing-prompt, and they all agreed that it was really good and I should pursue it. Can't help think that they just said it to spare my feelings.

How do I get over this?

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Zilla1 · 05/12/2019 14:30

Hi,

I've nothing to say that you couldn't imagine yourself. Just write, get words onto paper, try not to get caught up in editing. Tell the stories you want to tell and would want to read then once you've told your story, get feedback on here or with non-family and friends if you won't believe their feedback.

Good luck.

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Cmagic7 · 05/12/2019 14:34

Hmmmm.... I have the same with music. If you figure it out - let me know!

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schmalex · 06/12/2019 09:08

Perhaps try doing morning pages (see The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron). Start churning it out daily and don't reread it for several weeks.
Also, take heart because everybody's first drafts are crap!

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FlamedToACrisp · 11/12/2019 02:39

Join a writers' group, take a writing course or post some work on an online forum where you can get feedback. Of course family will tell you it's good - but that doesn't mean it isn't! Where strangers can help is by telling you HOW and WHY it's good, as well as offering suggestions for improvement.

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septembersunshine · 13/12/2019 19:42

I keep my writing very quiet op. I just get on with it. I think part of the fear of writing is fear that other people will judge your ability and find it lacking. Sometimes its best just to take some time out for yourself. You don't need to present anything to family or friends. Your writing is your writing. Write for yourself because you must. Walk the road alone, you don't need anyone else or their opinion. You don't need permission. You don't need anyone to tell you that you are good enough. Just let go. And also, perfection is the death of creativity. Don't try to write perfectly. It won't be perfect to begin with. Just presss on and know you will revisit that sentence or page or chapter many times over. Its just the process.

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Helmetbymidnight · 14/12/2019 19:10

im reading Elizabeth Gilberts 'big magic- creative living beyond fear' - she deals with questions like yours. Do check it out, i think youll find it really helpful.

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fluffysocksgoodbookwine · 17/12/2019 20:58

Me too! Watching with interest, will check out the Elizabeth Gilbert book.

I wrote a lot as a child/ teenager, but then my parents were always disparaging of creative stuff as being less worthwhile than academic pursuits, and I was told I had to do a vocational degree if they were going to fund it. There was always the subtext that creative pursuits were childish, and I would need to grow up at some point. So I went to medical school (mostly to learn more about people so that I could write better). And here I am, 20-odd years later, not writing due to self-conciousness, miserable and burned out in clinical practice, with notebooks full of story ideas.

I'm working on getting up the courage to write badly, as a first step towards writing well.
I do realise that I just need to get on with it, but barriers are barriers, even if they don't seem valid to someone else, and I struggle with feeling silly and frivolous if I try to write fiction. Which is ridiculous, because I respect authors immensely and enjoy reading a great deal.

Anyway, as I said, watching this thread with interest. Thank you.

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Whatswrongwithme90 · 14/01/2020 22:33

There’s a really great course called Write Like a Grrrl and it tackles this exact problem - I think they run several each year in different UK cities. It’s aimed at women only, I went to one and there were women of all ages.

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OrangeCinnamon · 27/01/2020 15:48

Thanks @Helmetbymidnight I'm going to order. i'm about a stage on from you OP thanks to OU. I still suspect we are all being terribly nice to each other when critiquing but my tutor is brill. It doesn't have to be OU there are Facebook groups, writing groups etc. You just have to take the opportunity if you want it. Of course if you can quite happily carry on writing for you that is fine as well!

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Nogoodwithgoodbyes · 04/04/2020 13:25

I could have written your post. I think being a writer comes with having a highly self-critical streak. Just keep writing!

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Saggingninja · 17/04/2020 23:51

Whusky - I'm a published writer and former CW teacher at the OU.

I'm a big fan of that Yeats poem with the line, 'the best lack all conviction, the worst are full of a passionate intensity'.

Part of being a writer is the self-doubt. You'll just have to live with it. I've had a fuckload published and I still look at the empty screen and shrivel up.

Writing is a habit. Not manna from heaven - not magical fairy dust of inspiration. It's a job. Some days you write well, other days you don't but you still write. What I would suggest is to write a journal or a blog. Better a blog as this will force you to write. Better still it will reveal your own natural writing style. What you write about isn't so important. But there is a real thirst for other people's lives so start a blog and write every couple of days. As you. Because nobody can write like you. I promise. Then at some point you will start to think about whether you want to write stories, novels or plays or poems. But the first thing you need to find out is what your voice is.

Get going. 500 words a day. Even 100. But get going.
xx

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inthekitchensink · 20/06/2020 13:42

Just start, think of it as taking a little step each day to push open the door to being able to write freely. My first few days were just Pages of ‘this is embarrassing I don’t like this la la la’ Smile

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Therollockingrogue · 20/06/2020 13:46

Write under a different name .
Choose a name that defines the new confident you, and place your writing in a sphere where it can receive the most brutal criticism. Ultimately this will be beneficial.
Also, I’d second the Elizabeth Gilbert book.

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Zilla1 · 20/06/2020 17:49

@Whusky, did you get words on paper, OP?

Good luck.

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phoenixwings · 27/06/2020 21:23

I have the same problem OP.

I started writing in my early teens every day for hours at a time with no issues. I was able to put words down and ask for feedback without flinching but as of two years ago I haven't written anything and it is driving me insane.

I have shown bits and pieces to friends and family too and like you they have always insisted my writing is great and worth pursuing. I have also shared them with other writers who have said the same but still don't believe them. I've had about a dozen of negative feedback and believe every word.

I wish I knew how to believe in my ability to write more.

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