Recently I wrote about being a lazy writer, an epidemic that all procrastinating artists can surely relate to.
The thing is laziness is a state of being. A state which can be easily overcome if one truly wants to.
Lately I’ve been suffering from a different writer problem. Quite simply – writing failure.
I have not liked what I’ve been writing. Private or academic. I’m not even satisfied with this blog post. And when what I’ve put to paper is rushed for a class, I find that especially frustrating.
I’ll be honest. I’m a better writer than most. Fiction and Non-fiction. I’m not the best, but I’m better than most, and I think that if I was pushed (by either myself or someone else) I could be fantastic.
Last night I was trying to write an eight page short fiction for my morning class. I spent hours trying to write something that wasn’t cliché and generic with no luck. I had words on a page. But they were just that: words. There wasn’t anything of substance behind them. The character’s were dull, the plot was non-existent, and I had no ideas on how I could progress the characters or what could happen around them. It was lame. UBER lame. I was frustrated.
It was a failure moment.
Non-writer’s struggle to relate to this. They hear: yes the paper is good enough and guaranteed at least a B with little to no effort. They wonder why I don’t just turn it in.
It’s simple. My own personal standards. And those are way more influential on what and how I write than a teacher or a peer. If I don’t think it’s as good as my other writing. Or if it isn’t coming out on paper as I imagined it in my head. It’s not good enough. So I sit there, stressing out because I know I’m better than that. I know that there’s more here that I’m not seeing. I want to write my Les Misérable. Sadly my creativity is failing me, and I’m writing a stupid Twilight instead.
Isn’t that the deal though writer’s? And I’m sure this goes for other art forms as well. Most of what I create isn’t the bestest-thing-ever. Most of it is painstaking work that doesn’t turn out the way I hoped. But when it does, that’s mighty exciting, and that makes all those practice drafts where I learned what works and what doesn’t, where I tried a variety of styles worth it.
Ultimately all the failures (hopefully) are leading towards a success.
Here’s my failure time line of yesterday:
- I had about five pages done but I hated ALL of it.
- Around 11pm I started a whole new thing.
- I wrote until 2am
- Went to sleep and woke up at 6am
- Got ready for the day
- Got to campus at 7am
- Wrote like a mad women (didn’t have time to revise, was almost long enough, thank God it’s a rough draft)
- Turned in my assignment online at 8:29am (class started at 8:30am)
- I was late to class