Tcr

Personal demons, lack of inspiration, and questionable rant

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Not sure if right place, but just needed to ultimately let loose…  Sorry if not...

 Begin questionable personal rant:  Started Blood and Honour, no problem.  Lately, just been lacking inspiration and almost the desire to do so.  Been stuck on a scene, can't seem to think a path through the wall right now.  Been feeling pretty down about that much.  i guess it doesn't help not having feedback to try to improve (... should I be saying that?)...

Admittedly, work doesn't let much time to do it, either...

Then some personal things happened over the last week and any will to even think about it just left.  So there's that to it that's sapped the will...  

So, I sit, staring at the screen with words typed on it and doubt everything...  Damn insecurity, nerves, anxieties, and depression...  (Hmmm...too personal?)  And nothing gets done...  

All that runs through my mind is the questions of are people liking them?  Pity?  Are they accidentally clicking in and getting back out?  Is my writing so pathetic that I should just stop entirely?  Staring at the words and everything that's happened, I doubt the possibility of a positive answer to them, despite what my Beta and good friend would say…

I don't know where I was going with this...  Just a ramble about nothing, I guess.  Result of an exceptionally terrible last couple weeks.

End questionable personal rant…

Anyone who reads this through to the end...  what are you doing here?  Go write something ;).  Maybe just letting this out will help some, get back on track...  Let me get back to Blood and Honour and Hell Fall so as not to disappoint adoring fans.

(On a side note, if this wasn't the place...  Forgive me, administration, I began mercy...)

Tcr.

Edited by Tcr
Mistyped words.

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Thanks for the reply, DemonGoddess.

The self doubt has always been there, nibbling at the ear, whispering the bad.  Most of the time, they could be deftly silenced.  Sometimes not so much.

This past week, it just seems nothing has gone right.  Everything bad just forming a party with everything invited, except the good essentials.  But I'm rambling again.  Anyway, just thought maybe throwing it out there might help.

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It’s tough to get feedback.  My stories (ignoring the round robin), have 3 posted reviews, and those stories aren’t short either.  I did delete the old first story (that’s being replaced by three) earlier this year, and that IIRC, had 3-4 reviews.  And I’ve been on AFF for 2 ½ years.  So, to have a one review in a month, that’s better than my average.  The one thing I do, and it helps, is I record the hits about every day, and I plot them (libreoffice’s calc), and seeing the consistent jump after posting a chapter/episode does let me know that people are reading, and enjoying it enough to come back for another instalment. 

Now, the round robins we’ve been starting to have, in 2015, and I’m pushing on the 2016, are good because they help give you a bit of exposure, perhaps pick up a new reader or two.  

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This is definitely the right place.

I will say, while I find AFF to be an incredibly supportive place in terms of being able to talk to other writers (and readers, too!) here on the forums, there isn’t a lot of review feedback outside the more popular fandoms. I imagine if I decided to write for Harry Potter, or Naruto, or one of the many anime fandoms, I’d probably get more reviews, but you know, those just aren’t my thing. I like my bit of original stuff, my game fandoms, and the LotR collaboration I have with pippychick.

But I do get the lack of motivation thing. Between one thing and another, finishing NaNoWriMo this year was like pulling teeth. I did it, but it was probably the hardest one yet. But it will get better after the holidays, when I can find more time to write again. (And when my muse, who bears a startling resemblance to a Pembroke Welsh corgi, stops demanding attention every time she hears my keyboard.)

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Tcr: It takes time for your work to find an audience, especially when you write original stories. (I write both original stories and fanfics, and the fanfics probably get four times as many reviews, because the fandoms come with a built-in audience.) You’ve been at it for, what, 7 months? That’s too soon to give up.

DP: I suspect that your problem getting reviews has something to do with the fact that most or all of your stories are related. Some people may look at the set and not be sure where to start. Or they may read one and decide that it’s not their thing, which takes all of the related stories off the table. Thus, it would probably make sense to think of your related stories as one story in terms of how many reviews they get.

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Well, this is quite a few more replies than I expected to see.  :).  So, thanks :).

First off, in alphabetical order, because…  A little OCD or something, maybe…  Maybe I’m just a little nuts…  lol.

BW: I can hardly argue the supportive side  :).  After I posted, I took the advice of my beta and went looking through to see the reviews, better understand, and I notice that there are a lot of ones, at least in the F/F side (which is mostly what I write) are lacking.  So that did help to ease some.  I think a lot of the lack of motivation that I have right now is just everything piling up and burying me below stress, which will, hopefully, disappear after Christmas.  That stress, the addition of anxiety and a touch of depression are enough to ruin anyone.  (I think it doesn’t help when I’m ramming head against wall trying to get over the wall blocking the other side of a chapter, either ;), lol).

DP: Thanks for the advice.  I’ll have to start keeping track of the prints.  I always notice that there’s a few people (between five and ten) that seem to spike it within the first few days after putting a new thing up, but maybe I’ll have to keep track a little closer and see what that says.  It sounds like a contradiction, I know, when I say now that I know people are reading it (the prints alone are enough to say that there is, for sure, one person reading it), so I’m guessing someone out there likes it…  For now.  The self-doubt that I have just reared its ugly head in light of personal situations and stresses.

George: Well, been on here for seven months, yes.  Only posted my first (that is Blood and Honour (BaH)) within the last month (after about a year of subtle pushing from my beta).  I do agree, the fanfic side definitely has the advantages of having that built in audience and, certainly, because of that is likely to get both positive and negative reviews on a much larger scale.  The universe for a fanfic has been set, whereas one has to be developed for the original.  Thinking somewhat logically now and distanced from the overwhelmed feeling of yesterday, you make that excellent point.  Not to mention that, right now, (and, once again thinking logically) it’s the early chapters and the development is only just starting.  So, people may well be hesitant to want to review because of that, as well.

 

All in all, thank you all.  The inspiration and motivation is still below normal, but at least it’s there again.  I guess I just needed to let everything out.

 

 

 

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That’s what the forums are for. We can let it out, talk about an idea, hash out a sticky plot point, whatever we need. We’re all banging our heads on the same brick walls, and mine has a pretty deep dent right now. But it’s getting better as I remind myself NaNo is over, and I can edit as I write again. :lol:

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Being new and writing originals isn’t an easy task. My first story got almost no reviews and I was sort of discouraged at one point but you have to push on. Like DP said, as long as people are reading, and lots of people read and don’t review, then you know you’ve at least got an audience for your work. Don’t let the lack of reviews get you down it happens to everyone and if you hang around the forums long enough, you’ll see it’s a common complaint among writers even in the popular fandoms.

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I’ve found in speaking to quite a few, that members would rather “like” something like on FB, rather than actually leave a review.  I do try and explain that reviews, especially concrit, are what helps you all to refine your work.  Sometimes my pushing via email works, more often than not, it doesn’t. :(

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We can consider a like/dislike to be an express review, but we’ve seen how that system can be abused.   (ie, downvote for spite, for whatever reason, being a pairing, a tag, another grudge or a blue moon).  Maybe we could add some buttons, you know, common review blurbs, that autostarts a review for the reader.  So a “+1” button could start a review that says “I like this.” prompting them to add in more before hitting that “Post Review” button.

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Well now, thank you all for your words of support.

I do have to say that I agree with DP.  Just using the ‘like’/’dislike’ button would make it easier to, for lack of a better word, attack anonymously.  Much like a rating system could be, as DP stated, abused.  Sometimes, I think, it’s just that people sit there and don’t want to put something like ‘I like this’ or ‘I can’t wait to read more’, or, on occasion, it is possible that someone else has stated something similar and that individual doesn’t feel like repeating it.  Could just be that they don’t like being in the spotlight with a review...  (I’m the latter, admittedly…  Just doing this, starting this thread, opening up and letting go, it terrified the Hell out of me about what I was going to get back and, ultimately, being in the spotlight makes me nervous and, when nervous, I go on a long winded, nervous ramble….  Like I’m doing now...)  This kind of falls into what you were saying, too, DG.  (Admittedly, I probably just repeated everything stated before…

Sorry, lack of sleep and after work I don’t think does any favours right now.  (Forgive my rambling and likely rephrasing of things...)

CL: Thanks for your words.  At lot of mine is self doubt.  I always look at my own writing and doubt my abilities.  Seeing the lack of reviews, coupled with the week’s disasters, and the doubt, it only seemed to reaffirm my writing not so good.  I admit, I’ve been reading some of the forums and seeing that it is as you’ve said, there’s a fair amount of complaints about the lack of reviews.  Definitely push through.  Someone is more than likely enjoying it :).  But, being down about the lack of reviews, that won’t happen.

(Okay, so…  Random rambling now done.  Good thing I have a beta to go over the writing, lol.)  But, thanks for the support.  It’s nice to have been subtly prodded (thanks CloverReef ;)) to join a site where people show support and help.

Tcr

 

 

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One thing we’ve thought about, but haven’t implemented, could be something like a “like” button, or the kudo feature on AO3. The only option is to leave a positive nod, eliminating the spite downvotes we dealt with in the old system.

To be very honest, ratings tend to be so subjective, they can’t be relied on as a marker of quality. We had stories rated 5 here which were not very well written, not beta-read, and formatted dreadfully, BUT they were for a pairing that was popular, or contained a trope that was beloved of the fandom. Seeing a bunch of positive indicators for a story could be as subjective, and would indicate nothing more than readers liked it for whatever reason, but it would at least give shy readers a way to comment/review/feed the author. As unlikely as it sounds, when I first found AFF, I was very nervous about leaving reviews, given the passion of some of the other reviewers in the fandoms I was reading. (Obviously, I got better. :lol: )

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1 hour ago, Tcr said:

CL: Thanks for your words.  At lot of mine is self doubt.  I always look at my own writing and doubt my abilities.  Seeing the lack of reviews, coupled with the week’s disasters, and the doubt, it only seemed to reaffirm my writing not so good.  I admit, I’ve been reading some of the forums and seeing that it is as you’ve said, there’s a fair amount of complaints about the lack of reviews.  Definitely push through.  Someone is more than likely enjoying it :).  But, being down about the lack of reviews, that won’t happen.

Oh, self doubt is an ugly monster and believe me we all deal with it. I tend to compare myself with others far too much and usually, more often than not, find my own work lacking but there’s always room for improvement. I look at this (posting things here on AFF, lots of times before they’re really ready for public consumption) as a learning experience and a way to work on the things I do horribly wrong. 

Just remember, there’s always going to be someone who does thing better than you but then there are always going to be people who do them worse too and you can learn from both.

Good luck with your story!

CL

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Tcr: I was on the receiving end of an just-for-spite downvoting when the ratings were still active and it fed the Ugly Self-Doubt Monster.  We’re much better off w/o the ratings.  The speculation is that it was the minor1 tags that tend to slip into my stories  – even when I try to banish them, they’ll crop up when I miscalculate an character’s age and realize they’re actually 13 during the story.  This happened to my holiday fic, *unless* sexual conduct through virtual reality doesn’t count for the tags…

 

 

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Ah, Des… you know we’re sticklers for that! :lol: 

But it’s really better to err on the side of caution. I’ve tagged for rape when it’s been no more than an offstage event garnering a brief mention in dialogue. Better safe that sorry when it comes to the more fraught tags.

 

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It’s also the perils for writing in an existing universe (same as my other stories).  While its nice in reusing characters, picking out minor minor notes on my timeline and making them into a oneshot.  The drawback is I can’t alter as many details.  Carefully, I made the primary characters 14+, but then VR happens, and the right character for the other end, I thought was 14.  But when I did the math, she’s 13.  I looked at changing the birthdate (too intertwined with other events), switching out the character (requiring a new character with some build out), or altering the tag.  Tag was the easiest path to take.

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4 hours ago, BronxWench said:

But it’s really better to err on the side of caution. I’ve tagged for rape when it’s been no more than an offstage event garnering a brief mention in dialogue. Better safe that sorry when it comes to the more fraught tags.

I agree.

Sometimes, if a tag doesn’t quite apply but the content is sort of in that direction, I’ll put a disclaimer at the beginning instead of using the tag. For example, at the start of my Inside Out story “That Gleam in Her Eye”—in which a demented Joy intimidates the other emotions into having sex with each other—I put this at the beginning: “Warning: Although there is nothing in this story that strictly meets the definition of rape, some of the emotions are pressured into performing sexual acts in ways that may make some readers uncomfortable.” I figure you can’t go wrong with that.

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I think all writers and artists feel this way from time to time, and I don't think it necessarily correlates with how many views and reviews, or how much validation you receive… Wait, hear me out ;)

I mean, I got this way the other day myself, even though I have a small handful of wonderful consistent reviewers whom I adore. Similarly, I've listened and comforted people feeling like this who have hundreds and hundreds of reviews for their work.

Sometimes I wonder if Stephen King doesn't sit around in his house lamenting that people aren't responding very quickly to his latest novel, and if this means that all along he's been wasting his time. Then, like the rest of us, he wakes up and moves on from the feeling.

When JK Rowling released “The Casual Vacancy” under a pseudonym to see how she'd be received, I knew she wasn't in earnest. If she was, she would have ventured into fanfiction for an obscure fandom, where she might have been completely ignored. Only an idiot would court this feeling.

Writing is different to engaging in fandom, and different to networking or self-promotion. I really, truly think if Charles Dickens was reincarnated, and knew exactly who he was, and worked away at some Blake's Seven fanfic without engaging with anyone, no one would ever notice his work, no matter how concise and accurate a portrayal of societies’ ills it was.

I've seen too many frankly amazing stories, well beyond the standard usually published as novels, where the author had just a small handful of reviews. Similarly, I've seen atrocities typed in text speak garner hundreds. It's a popularity contest in the main, just like everything else in life. Talent is often overlooked and disregarded.

I have no idea what the answer is.

The only advice I can give is to wait it out. You will stop feeling like this in a day, or a week, maybe even a few hours. Then you can happily go back to writing again. I know saying that doesn't help when the feeling is upon you. It feels completely awful, and I'm sorry to see it in anyone.

Also, never write for reviewers, even if you're writing a request. Write for the characters, and you can't go far wrong.

Reviews will come, sooner or later.

Also… it’s worth noting that a couple of times people have indicated they were afraid to review me, like maybe I’d bite their head off or something, and I think that can be a factor too. Not all of us have english as a first language, and it takes a certain amount of confidence to show up on someone’s review board and actually give an opinion, especially if you don’t already know the author.

Sorry… I don’t know if any of that rambling has helped. I hope so. :)

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Well, with so much rambling going on I guess I should poke my head in too, heh. Not a lot to be said that hasn’t been more eloquently covereded, so I’ll just share a little personal axiom I try to remind myself of often when I write: this is art, an ultimately formless creation incapable of perfection thus forever containing the potential of being more perfect. Basically, my way of over-thinking advise I got back when I used to draw (terribly). You can tweak something all day, but part of the skill is learning when you must let your creation go and let it simply be.

As for feedback … yeah, that is the bottomless hunger of the creative soul. I’m sure we all feel you there. -_-; I’ve been fairly lucky with feedback working on an original story, but there’s always that doubt, that uncertainty that the work was worthwhile. Honestly, I think that point of self doubt is part of the very basis of creativity. If any of us could throw together a few paragraphs and feel content, we wouldn’t build worlds and fictional lives that, if we can just get it to work blast it, communicate to a stranger something they can feel just as attached to as we do.

So … keeping pounding your head into the wall, I guess. In my experience, there is usually candy on the other side. Addictive, self-replicating candy you can only hope to gobble up as much as you can as the new pages fly by, all before the mountain of sweets goes poof and another wall hiding even more candy waits.

Annnd on a side note…

On 12/2/2016 at 4:24 PM, Desiderius Price said:

It’s tough to get feedback.  My stories (ignoring the round robin), have 3 posted reviews, and those stories aren’t short either.  I did delete the old first story (that’s being replaced by three) earlier this year, and that IIRC, had 3-4 reviews.  And I’ve been on AFF for 2 ½ years.  So, to have a one review in a month, that’s better than my average.  The one thing I do, and it helps, is I record the hits about every day, and I plot them (libreoffice’s calc), and seeing the consistent jump after posting a chapter/episode does let me know that people are reading, and enjoying it enough to come back for another instalment. 

Now, the round robins we’ve been starting to have, in 2015, and I’m pushing on the 2016, are good because they help give you a bit of exposure, perhaps pick up a new reader or two.  

… yeah, I did the spreadsheet shuffle too and it did help. I might not have known what readers were thinking chapter to chapter, but by golly some of them had to be returning again and again to keep thinking it. There is some real value in that.

(Now I must wander off again to fret over getting a big head after only one story. :P )

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2 hours ago, Darkalley_Muse said:

(Now I must wander off again to fret over getting a big head after only one story. :P )

I have a sharp needle I use for regular deflation if you’d like you can borrow it.

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Hi Tcr,

Here are some conundrums that I face when I write, and I face them quite often:

1.) I am on three sites and get the most views here. However, I get more reviews on other sites. (Being honest here and not promoting other sites (they shall stay unnamed)) More feedback here would be nice, but due to errors in judgment on my part, I can see why people don’t leave me more reviews.

2.) I do more that just write fan fiction. I have separate on-line and physical hobbies that detract time or distract me as well. (At times, my job allows me to take my laptop to work since there is little to do most of the time) Plus, I can be an extremely slow writer sometimes, or I get disgusted with the direction of the story (Case in point: deleted 20,000 words once from a single chapter due to massive edits)

3.) Family time. My wife has priority over my writing when she needs me or wants to do something.

4.) Motivation… this is one that constantly gnaws at me. I have seen too many good fan fiction or other on-line writers leave causing me to wonder if this genre has any future, or is running out of steam. (I have a story that hasn’t been updated in almost four (4) years)

5.) Motive… I started to write as catharsis and a creative outlet. Learned through trial-and-error about sentence structure and putting two of them together. It is amazing what you can think of when you put your mind to it.

Never feel down when your muse gets hit by a bus and is on life-support. It happens to me all the time, so I can empathize with you on that subject. There are also times when my muse is fully healthy, aware and raring to go, which seems to come at me at the strangest of times.

I encourage you to not worry when you can’t get past a certain scene or what you are working on misses a narrative you are attempting to convey. I also encourage to persevere when your inspiration gets sapped by unforeseen events. 

Good luck in your writing, LHF

 

Edited by Love_Hina_Fan

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