Jump to content

Gay Authors Articles

  • entries
    62
  • comments
    394
  • views
    3,401

Contributors to this blog

Writer Confidence

Sign in to follow this  
Comicality

163 views

The biggest trick that any writer can pull off when it comes to their finished product...is making it look like writing is easy. Hehehe, getting your readers to think that you just sat down at a keyboard with a cup of tea or coffee, and tapped into some level of genius to type something out from beginning to end.

 

(Cue snickers and laughter from the writing community.)

 

Obviously, this isn't true. Sure, it becomes easier through practice and discipline, and we get used to the habit of expressing our thoughts in this particular way...but there is nothing 'easy' about writing a story. Not at all. From conception, to creating characters, to plot devices, to dialogue...it takes a LOT of time and patience and skill to pull off a story from beginning to end. You have to juggle a series of different talents all at once, and once you're finished...you've got to edit it and start all over again to catch anything that you may have dropped along the way. Yeah, to say that it's easy to do is not only a mistake...it's an outright lie for many of us.

 

Because of this pleasurable, self torturing, practice that we love so much...it can sometimes cause our most ambitious ideas to seem more intimidating than they have to be. At least that's been my experience so far. There are stories that I wanted to write years ago that still intimidate me to this day. Every time I consider sitting down and just getting it started, I almost get overwhelmed with anxiety about how I'm ever going to create that story, those characters, and actually get it right. I get intimidated by the time I'm going to have to put in. Intimidated by the emotion I'll have to pour in. Intimidated by whatever research I might have to do for the details. I feel the story idea looming over me to the point where I'm forced to back away from it, and like the procrastination savant that I am, hehehe...I put it off until later. And as we all know, 'later' often never comes.

 

This week, I'd like to spend a few moments talking about writer confidence, and maybe clear up the smoke and mirrors aspect of possibly beating the intimidation when it strikes.

For me, personally, it doesn't always take some massive new project to intimidate me into shying away from putting the work in. Sometimes, it might just be a particularly important chapter that I'm worried about getting right. Or a specific scene where a big secret is revealed, or a dramatic argument or major event has to come along to change the course of the rest of the story. As I mentioned in a past article, sometimes I know exactly what I want to say and how I want to say it...but there's a 'hesitation' involved anyway. For me, that's WORSE than writer's block! LOL! I can deal with writer's block. But fear or lack of motivation? Nothing makes me feel more helpless when it comes to my writing.

 

Also, there are times when the intimidation isn't even creatively inspired. Sometimes I have to ask myself if I'm going to have the time and the focus to really dive into this new chapter/story the way I want to. What is my work schedule like? What are my friends and family up to? Will I be able to remove myself from the world for a week or two to get this as well polished as I want it to be? Some of you guys have kids or partners that need attention and quality time. Some of you have a busy few weeks of work ahead of you, and you know that's not going to leave you with a lot of energy to write when you come home. There are more factors that you can ever imagine that have to be shifted around in order to concentrate on the task at hand. And that can cause a writer to hesitate as well. It's nothing to feel bad about. It happens. And if you decide that this isn't the time for you to jump into that particular project...then so be it.

 

However, you can't let these things destroy your writer confidence.

 

See...being intimidated by a story, chapter, or important scene, in your project isn't going to be like an explosion at the base of a tower, causing it to crumble to the ground all at once. It's more like an aggressive army of termites. It erodes the foundation in secret. You start making little excuses for why you can't jump into it today. You start getting randomly distracted by things like getting your house cleaned, or a sudden Netflix binge. "I'll do it later" and "I'll get around to it when I have more time" become your mantras, and before you know it...it's six months later and you haven't so much as brought it up on your laptop once in all that time. Don't believe me? Look at your files right now? Do you have any lingering projects that you were going to 'get around to', and haven't? When was the last time you opened that file? It might be longer than you think. Hehehe! It usually is for me.

 

So how can we fix this?

 

I think the first step in starting this new project or getting a previous project back on course comes from asking yourself...'What am I so afraid of?' When I mention fear, I'm not talking about outright TERROR or anything! Hehehe, it's not that serious. But something is stopping you from sitting down and typing out the thoughts and emotions in your heart. What is it? What's bullying you out of tackling the next chapter? Find out what is giving you the most hesitation, and give it some thought. Loosen that knot. And be brutally honest with yourself. Maybe you don't like where the story is going. Maybe you're bored with it. Maybe some negative comments on the last story made you doubt your abilities as a writer. Maybe you have such high expectations for this next chapter that you worry you're not up to the task? Whatever it may be...find it, face it, and think about how you might be able to get around it. Diagnose the problem so you know what to fix. As long as you keep putting it off or making excuses, the actual issue that you might be trying to avoid is going to remain vague and unclear. In fact, you may deny that there is a problem at all. "I can't write tonight because...it's National Hot Dog Day! That's all." Hehehe, yeah, that's not a reason.

 

The second step? Take a leap of faith. Find a few minutes of peace, open that file up...read what you've read so far, maybe doing a soft re-edit and making a few changes along the way, and then move right into the next sentence without hesitating. You just read what you wrote, your memory's been refreshed, you've got the file open, your fingertips are touching the keyboard...do it. Right then and there. Pick up where you left off and just start writing again as if it had only been a few hours since your last entry. If you're starting something brand new from scratch, and you're not sure how to begin...stare at that blank scene and think about ONE thing that you want your readers to know about your main character. And then create an opening scene that displays that one trait or attribute (or flaw). Put them right in the middle of it. Like, let's say that your protagonist is madly in love with some boy on the basketball team, right? Your first sentence...

 

"I don't even really like basketball all that much. But I show up to the high school games for 'him'. Only for him."

 

This is an opener that you can easily build off of. That little bit of text both gives answers and creates questions. The answers? This person is probably in high school. He's infatuated with someone on the team. He doesn't like sports. The questions? Who's speaking right now? Who is 'him'? Why is he so infatuated with him? You've immediately planted the seed, and you know have avenues to pursue your next few sentences. You can get into the thoughts and feelings of the main character, or you can describe the beauty and allure of the boy he's watching on the court. You end up writing a few more sentences to complete your thought...and that thought leads to a few more thoughts. You're already a few sentences deep into this new project, right? You might as well follow that path to the next logical idea. And when you complete that thought, you open the door to two or three more things that you might be able to add. Before you know it, you might be 1000 words into your project, with enough inspiration to keep moving forward. Sometimes, getting your brain to operate in that creative mode will create the momentum needed to get things started, and far enough along to actually enjoy yourself again instead of worrying about whatever problem you had getting started in the first place. Believe me, it works. But only with practice.

 

I feel much more confident when I play around with my stories and sort of feel my way through it. I have to put things into motion, and that takes a push and a few extra nudges when I feel myself getting distracted again...but once I actually start writing and get my wheels turning again, the intimidation of taking that project head on ceases to be a problem. I think about what I'm feeling, and what I want a certain scene to accomplish, and I just keep feeling my way around until I feel good by what i see on the screen. That doesn't mean that everything I write is going to be flawless or error free. I don't even worry about that part. The emotion is what matters most. Capturing that moment, and bringing it to the people reading. Most of the time, I'll start a sentence without any idea as to how it'll end. The same way that I might have a spoken conversation with a friend. I don't plan what I'm going to say ahead of time, or what he/she will say after that, and how I'll respond. Stay in the moment. That's important. more times than not, the intimidation you feel is coming from this magnificent vision of what the final product is going to be. But you haven't built it yet. Don't start worrying about the dangers of life on Mars when you haven't even figured out how to get there yet. Hehehe, one brick at a time. :P

 

I'll just start writing a sentence, let the emotion sort of swirl around in my head for a bit, and I may stop halfway to stare off into space for a second or two, trying to find that one magic word to add next...and then keep going. Don't worry about it being good enough. Worry about it being honest enough. Take one step, and then another, and then another. Learn to trust your instincts. The only way to do that is by putting your instincts to work for you. They're like any other muscle in the body. You have to give them a workout in order to strengthen them. Build them up, sentence by sentence, through little leaps of faith.

 

With time and practice, it'll become second nature to you. Your confidence will grow, your instincts will become more involuntary...and then...there will be these truly magical moments when you truly feel in tune with what you're doing. You own it. You start typing and you feel as if you're in complete control of everything that you're doing, to the point where you might get in the zone and turn out half a chapter in one sitting. Let me tell you, that's the greatest feeling in the WORLD! There are nights when I feel like I'm playing this keyboard like a piano at the Philharmonic! And when I click that 'save' button...I'm truly proud of the work I put in, and get excited for the reaction I might get back from the readers.

 

Now...mind you...I might come back the next day, look at it, and rip it to pieces again, because we're all our own worst critics. LOL! But at least I put the work in, and I got it done. That hesitation that I felt because I was intimidated by my own expectations of what I wanted the story or chapter to be didn't beat me. It didn't bully me out of my creative expression, and once I actually made the decision to get it started, it wasn't anywhere near as scary as difficult as I thought it would be. But it will be a leap of faith. Each and every time. That's not going to change, but you learn to deal with it. And before you know it...you'll have much more written than you ever though possible.

 

As always, I hope this article helps any of you guys who might be struggling with a few 'I'll get to it later' issues as well. Whether it comes to you starting something new, getting back into something old, or even going back to edit and ultimately publish a story that's already finished...you can get it done. Just find your earliest opportunity to sit at your keyboard, and dive right in without waiting. You're all creative people, and you've spent a long time honing your craft. Have enough faith in your instincts to carry you once you make the effort to get started. Start writing, and let your instincts take the wheel from there. They won't fail you.

 

Take care! And I'll seezya next weekend!

 

  • Like 7
  • Love 1
Sign in to follow this  


1 Comment


Recommended Comments

Marty

Posted (edited)

Quote

There are nights when I feel like I'm playing this keyboard like a piano at the Philharmonic!

 

I know exactly what you are talking about there. There have been just a few occasions when I have finished writing a piece of prose or poetry when I almost can't remember actually typing it in. It's almost as thought the words flowed from somewhere outside of me through my fingertips onto the keyboard.

 

I'm reminded of something that John McCutcheon said on stage once before performing his song 'Christmas in the Trenches', about the Christmas truce in 1914. He said something along the lines of "There are some songs that you write, and there are some that you just write down. They sort of come through you. And that was definitely the case with this song."

 

It certainly gives me a great deal of satisfaction when that happens when I write something. It also gives me a huge sense of wonder. It makes me realise that I truly am a writer. But even when I have written something that makes me feel like that, I'll usually find that I will go back at a later stage and tweak it, if only ever so slightly. The chances are that John McCutcheon also tweaked his masterpiece after the initial draft.

 

But usually (most of the time, if I am to be honest) it's not like that, and I do struggle putting thoughts into words. I'll look at what I've written and think 'That's not how I wanted to express this idea.' It's seldom I'll actually delete a piece of work, though, and so I have a folder full of what I call Scribbles. Occasionally I will dig through this folder hoping to find that one bit of dross that really only needs that final cut and polish to turn it into the gemstone that I knew it was capable of becoming when I had tentatively typed in the first few words.

 

Thanks for a thought provoking blog entry, @Comicality! :thumbup:

 

Spoiler

 

My name is Francis Tolliver. I come from Liverpool.

Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.

To Belgium and to Flanders, to Germany to here,

I fought for King and country I love dear.

 

It was Christmas in the trenches where the frost so bitter hung.

The frozen field of France were still, no Christmas song was sung. 

Our families back in England were toasting us that day,

their brave and glorious lads so far away.


I was lyin' with my mess-mates on the cold and rocky ground

when across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound.

Says I "Now listen up me boys", each soldier strained to hear

as one young German voice sang out so clear.


"He's singing bloody well you know", my partner says to me.

Soon one by one each German voice joined in in harmony.

The cannons rested silent, the gas cloud rolled no more,

as Christmas brought us respite from the war.


As soon as they were finished and a reverent pause was spent.

'God rest ye merry, gentlemen' struck up some lads from Kent.

The next they sang was 'Stille Nacht'. "Tis 'Silent Night'" says I,

and in two tongues one song filled up that sky.


"There's someone coming towards us" the front-line sentry cried.

All sights were fixed on one lone figure trudging from their side.

His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shone on that plain so bright

as he bravely strode, unarmed, into the night.


Then one by one from either side walked into no-mans-land

with neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand.

We shared some secret brandy and wished each other well,

and in a flare-lit soccer game we gave 'em hell.


We traded chocolates, cigarettes, and photographs from home,

these sons and fathers far away from families of their own.

Young Sanders played his squeeze box and they had a violin,

this curious and unlikely band of men.


Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more.

With sad farewells we each began to settle back to war.

But the question haunted every heart that lived that wondrous night

"Whose family have I fixed within my sights?"

 

It was Christmas in the trenches where the frost so bitter hung.
The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung.
For the walls they'd kept between us to exact the work of war
had been crumbled and were gone forever more.


My name is Francis Tolliver. In Liverpool I dwell.
Each Christmas come since World War One I've learned it's lessons well.
That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame
and on each end of the rifle we're the same.

 

 

Edited by Marty
  • Like 2

Share this comment


Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Similar Content

    • By Cia
      How do I make my story the best it can be?
      Before posting, make sure your story has the best editing possible. A good story becomes great when it's well-written. Make use of the Writing & Editing Corner forums. Know how to space and punctuate dialogue, craft characters who could step off the page, know point-of-view and how to use it.... Make use of all the story meta data fields. Write a description that sells the story, not just describes it, to make people want to read it. Use all the tags.  Make sure you follow the posting guidelines in regards to the formatting to make sure you post it correctly so everyone can read it.   
       
    • By Renee Stevens
      Happy Wednesday everyone! I hope everyone is having a great week so far. I was looking through the possible posts that I had for today and I decided that it's been a while since we had a grammar lesson. Wouldn't you know it, I actually had one sitting around, just waiting for an opportunity to be showcased in the blog! So, without further ado, here's today's writing tip, courtesy of Cia. Enjoy!


      Adverbs and Adjectives ~ Helping or Hurting



      by



      Cia


       

      Today I want to focus on ways adverbs and adjectives hurt writing instead of helping. How do we structure sentences to avoid unnecessary phrasing and descriptions, but still keep a story strong visually to the reader? One of the first things that came to mind when I considered this subject was the use of adverbs and adjectives. My personal view on writing is to keep my words from interfering with the story, and that usually requires keeping things as simple as possible.
       
      First, for those who haven't had a grammar class in a while, I'll define them. Adverbs and Adjectives are words that describe or modify a noun, verb, adjective, or adverb. They're describing words.
       
      But do we need them? Of course we do, to some extent. Describing words do have their place, like when you want to use an adjective to describe a noun. Will a reader 'see' a character better if I say they are wearing dirty jeans and a ripped hoodie than if I said they are wearing jeans and a hoodie? Yes. Dirty and ripped in the sentence describe the clothing and give the character a very different appearance than the reader might otherwise picture. If I need to show that my character is homeless, those two words go a long way in presenting my character.
       
      When writing fiction, we try to create a picture for the readers. For that we need adverbs and adjectives. It is hard to write anything without them. Adding useless describing words is easy to do without realizing it, though. Take a look at my first paragraph. 'Unnecessary' 'first' 'personal' 'usually' are all describing words. The trick comes from deciding what type are useful and which ones are not. Are the adverbs and adjectives I used words necessary? Some are, but one I just pointed out is not. Can you find it?
       
      Do I need unnecessary to describe phrasing and descriptions? Well, since I want to point out that they don't need to be used, sure. However, did I need 'personal' in front of view? If I take it out, you still see that it is 'my view', so you have to know that its personal, right? In that sentence personal is an adjective I could remove.
       
      Those are subtle uses of describing words writers need to consider removing, especially when writing stories with word limits. Some are easy to spot, like icy cold, steaming hot, or running swiftly, transportation vehicle, alternative choices, etc... Others like my personal view, are not quite as easy to pick out but just as redundant. These should be eliminated as often as possible.
       
      Another type of adverb to avoid are those that tend to spring up around verbs. Often, they are words like very, typically, carefully, always, just, often, etc... Most of the time, they're not necessary. Other times, they make a phrase clunky or wordy, when changing the verb would work.
       
      Examples:
       
      Redundant adverb:
      She always gets a coffee at 3 PM every day or She gets a coffee at 3 PM every day.
      If she gets the coffee every day at 3 pm, do we really need always there?
      Redundant adjective:
      The fundraiser was a complete and total failure or The fundraiser was a total failure.
      We don't need both complete and total, as they mean the same thing.
       
      Redundant adjective:
      The noisy fan's constant squeaking drove her nuts or The fan's constant squeaking drove her nuts.
      Do we need noisy to describe the fan when we then describe the noise it is making?
       
      Verb changing adverb:
      He reaches quickly for the falling stack of books or He lunges for the falling stack of books.
      Here, a more descriptive verb for the movement eliminates the need to use the adverb.
       
      Amused by her comment, he just gives her a smile or Amused by her comment, he smiles.
      Using just gives really isn't necessary when you could change the action to smiles.
       
      Both Adverbs and Adjectives:
      He softly walks into the room, trying not to wake his sleeping wife or He tiptoes into the room, trying not to wake his wife.
      Here, tiptoeing describes the walking and if he doesn't want to wake her she is obviously sleeping so that word can be removed.
    • By TribeQueer
      Hello Everyone!
       
      I Love this site and the community that you have formed! I'm the editor of a gender queer E'zine, and have spoken with Myr, and the others that run this site for you. They have agreed to allow me to post this call for submissions here as an opportunity for those of you that write non-fiction.
       
      Our E'zine is part of a larger community site who's mission is to provide world-class education, and a place of safety for ALL those who do not fit into gender stereotypes. We are doing this as a service to our community. We too believe in developing and promoting gay writers. All authors who's writing is chosen for publication on our site will be encouraged to include active links to their work here.
       
       
      Submission details are below.
       
       
       
       
      Spectrum is a magazine dedicated to providing a place for gender queer individuals to speak out about information and issues that affect us all.
       
      The gender queer spectrum includes those who identify as Trans, Bi-gendered, Femme, Butch, boi, Androgynous, Agendered, and many other gender terms that are not well known yet. This is a place dedicated to honoring the full expression of gender that humanity is capable of.
       
      As a publication of ideas and perspectives, we offer a forum through which gender queer writers, scholars, and readers can use the internet to deeply explore themes of interest to our rich blend of identities.
       
      We trace our roots to our gender queer pioneers at places like Stonewall that existed all over the world. We welcome and encourage today's emerging queers as they discover their own gender identity and expression. Spectrum looks to spark discussion that is informed, and current while providing a much needed link to the history of the gender queer movement.
       
       
       
      Submissions
      We accept submissions of news, reviews, opinion, commentary, and nonfiction that has a gender queer subject/slant/impact and pertains to the following categories; **
      News & Politics,
      Love & Sex,
      Media & Arts,
      Hero's & History,
      Gender Theory,
      Non-Traditional Families,
      Global Events.
       
      **Feel free to contact us before writing to gauge the usefulness of your story idea, but note that any and all manuscripts are submitted on speculation. We print the best and most appropriate material to meet the needs and expectations of our readers at the time. Your submission may not be accepted if we may have similar stories already, a backlog of features, or have already covered the topic in a recent issue. Don't be discouraged; your piece might be perfect for a future issue. We will keep it in our archives for just such a purpose. We are happy to work with new writers who are queer or have insights of interest to our readers. All individuals who's work is accepted will have a unique author profile which will include a bio and publication history.
       
      Word Count
      Due to the wide ranging subject matter we do not have a maximum word count. We are looking for concise event and review material as well as feature length articles. Minimum word count for reviews is 450.
       
      How To Submit
      Send submissions to Tribequeer@gmail.com:
      – Attach the story in RTF or DOC formats.
      – In the subject line put the SUBMISSION (in all caps), your name and word count.
      – In then body of the email, put your name, pen-name (if any), contact information, a short bio, two to three lines, as well as any credits or relevant websites you wish to plug.
      – The story should be double-spaced, in a readable font, and as you originally formatted it; paragraphs indented, italicized words in italics, etc. It is helpful to our editors if you follow standard manuscript guidelines (Though no story will be rejected for failure to follow them to the letter).
       
      Response Time
      Spectrum will respond to your submission as soon as possible; our policy is to have a response to all submissions within 1 month.
      Editorial Caveat
      Stories should be thoroughly proofread before submission. We do understand that minor mistakes will slip by and we will correct them before publication on the website. Minor grammatical changes may be made to the story; however, we will seek the author’s permission before publication.
       
      Publishing Rights
      We do not ask for first North American publishing rights to your work; whatever you send us can be submitted again to another publication. If you do send us a piece that has already been published or exhibited elsewhere, please include the name of the venue and the date of your publication/exhibit so that we can post the appropriate credits. However, we do ask that you not send us any simultaneous submissions.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Our Privacy Policy can be found here. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue..