What If My Writing Isn’t Good Enough?

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This month’s question:  What if my writing isn’t good enough?

 

This group (also endearingly known as IWSG) is all about insecurities; and gosh, I have a boat-load of them!

 

Where even to begin?

 

I’ve battled with insecurities all my life, and they’ve filtered over in to my writing life.

 

You’ll never be good enough. 

You’re worthless.

Don’t bother even trying.

 

There are so many ideas running through my head.  And I have written many of them…but, they usually die (or get placed in the trash).

I have published several items (all short ones) so that is something, I suppose.

 

But…

 

I keep feeling like I’m missing something.

Or, there is a story somewhere within that needs to be written and then released to the world.

 

But…

 

In the past, in my previous work life, I had this nasty habit of self-sabotaging myself.

Not allowing myself to experience success of any kind.

And this is quite prevalent in my life as it is in my writing life.

It’s like I feel like I don’t deserve it.

 

You’ll never be good enough.

You’re worthless.

Don’t bother even trying.

 

 

A lot of this stem from childhood abuse.  Others from a progressive disability.

Excuses, I suppose.

But they’re the Goliath in my life, and I’m the puny boy with no sling-shot or weapon of any kind.

Just a pen.

 

 

I’ve heard that a pen holds power.  I just don’t have any faith in the holder of this particular pen.

 

Am I good enough?

Will I ever be?

Do I even bother trying?

What Does Writer’s Block Mean For Me?

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It’s that time of month again 🙂  The question for April is: what does writer’s block mean for me? 

First of all, let’s define this term.  Dictionary.com defines writer’s block as “a usually temporary condition in which a writer finds it impossible to proceed with the writing of a novel, play, or other work.”

Writer’s block means different things to writers.   Some writers know exactly what’s causing their condition; others have no clue.  Either way, it’s a distressing feeling NOT being able to create.  In many cases the more frustrated one feels, the worse this condition becomes.  And If you have no idea what is causing this creative blockage, it can last for months or even years.

Yeah, distressing.

It took me a long while to put names to what cause the writer’s block in me.  There are three that come to pester me from time to time:

  1. Procrastination: This is by far the most common one for me.  They should probably create a professional procrastinator field because I would easily excel at it.  I just love putting things off.  You can call me laid-back, or just plain lazy—it means the same to me.  Things eventually get done, but it’s usually at the last possible moment.  Nothing like a little stress to keep the blood pumping hard, eh?
  2. Distractions: Most of my distractions come via the internet like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest as well as YouTube, Pandora, Hulu and Netflix.  The others are the mundane house chores, paying bills and balancing the check book…you know, life in general.  I call these my distractions because they are just that since they keep me from writing.
  3. Mental Disturbances: aka depression and anxiety.  There are so many layers to these so I don’t even know where to begin.  Depression is like having darkness filling your inner most being and thoughts ’till you don’t care or have any energy to muster up anything creative.  Anxiety for me fills my mind with negative thoughts that I am inferior and can NOT produce anything of value so I don’t even try.

Well, that’s writer’s block for me in a nutshell.

What about you?

 

Creativity and Mental Illness

I read an article recently that got me thinking about creativity and its role in mental illness (or vice versa): Creativity and mental illness share genetic markers on Genetic Literacy Project.

“Scientists in Iceland report that genetic factors that raise the risk of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are found more often in people in creative professions.”

Hmm, this statement wasn’t anything I did NOT know; however…

“Kari Stefansson, founder and CEO of deCODE, a genetics company based in Reykjavik, said the findings, described in the journal Nature Neuroscience, point to a common biology for some mental disorders and creativity. ‘To be creative, you have to think differently,’ he told the Guardian. ‘And when we are different, we have a tendency to be labelled strange, crazy and even insane.’”

Wait, there’s more…

“Stefansson believes that scores of genes increase the risk of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These may alter the ways in which many people think, but in most people do nothing very harmful. But for 1% of the population, genetic factors, life experiences and other influences can culminate in problems, and a diagnosis of mental illness.”

Not only do we, as creatives, think differently I believe we also feel differently.  And we just don’t look (or feel) at the surface, we dig deep.

Very deep.

We dare to.

We must.

It’s okay if we’re viewed as being different.

Odd.

We’re used to being alone, standing in a room full of strangers (even family members tend to be viewed as strangers at times).

But do all of these make us mentally ill?

We tend to delve so deeply into our minds that we start to see things (and people) that may or may not be there.

We talk to our characters that no one else can hear.

Our minds…our imagination are our greatest weapons.

And our downfall.

All because “normal” people do not understand us.

But does that make us mentally ill?

Mental Health and Artistic Endeavors (Polls)

 

 

**More posts to follow on this subject.  Stay tuned.

Creativity: Where Does It Come From?

art-creative-metal-creativity

 

Creativity.

Where does it come from?

A question I’ve been asking myself the past few days.

Are some people more creative than others?  If so, why?

Is it something we’re born with? Or, is it something that must be harnessed.  Cultivated.

Work it like a muscle and it’ll grow stronger.

More vibrant.

Real.

Whatever it is, or where ever it comes from…

It’s powerful.

Like a kind of ecstasy that I need to feel during my every waking moment.

Would that make me a kind of an addict then rather than a true artist?

Hmm…

Your Creativity and Parenthood (Poll)

 

When your children arrive, the best you can hope for is that they break open everything about you. Your mind floods with oxygen. Your heart becomes a room with wide-open windows.”-unknown

Stop Limiting Yourself as a Writer

Thanks to all who participated in the most recent poll (How do you really view your writing?).  The majority of you chose “as a passion/reason for being;” with equal number selecting “as a service to others” and “as a hobby.”

For me, I’ve been teetering between “as a passion/reason for being” and “as a service for others.”   So then I thought, why can’t I choose both?

Why does writing has to be labeled so narrowly?  Restricted?

I think that it can be any one of these above depending on your goal, or where you are currently in your life.

Writers shouldn’t have to confine themselves in order to fit in a mold set by others.  Our creativity needs to be kept free, unrestrained, in order to be the most productive.  Especially for the first draft.

Don’t you agree?

 

 

 

*Are you an unpublished writer?   Do you need feedback on a story?  Click here for more information.  This offer ends today!  

 

Are All Artists Crazy???

trials

In your opinion, do you think-in general-that creatives (writers, poets, painters, actors; even scientists and philosophers) are a bit, er, “crazy”?    Would you consider some to have some form of mental illness?

Here are some quotes to consider:

“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence.” Edgar Allan Poe

“The notion that  inspiration requires  regression and dipping into irrationality in order to access unconscious symbols and thought has been popular across disciplines for hundreds of years. Plato said that creativity is a “divine madness…a gift from the gods”. Maureen Neihart, Psy.D.

“No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” Aristotle

“It is only too true that a lot of artists are mentally ill-it’s a life which, to put it mildly, makes one an outsider.  I’m all right when I completely immerse myself in work, but I’ll always remain half crazy.”  Vincent van Gogh

“The silence depressed me. It wasn’t the silence of silence. It was my own silence.”
– Sylvia Plath

Studies have shown that creative individuals tend to exhibit some form of mental illness (such as mood disorder or bipolar or depression) more so than non-creative individuals.

Why?

Could it be because we look at the world and at our experiences differently from others?  Could it possibly be that we tend to be hyper-aware of all that goes on around and within us?

Any thoughts or personal experience on this?

 

*Additional readings:

Madness and Creativity: Do we need to be crazy?

The Relationship Between Creativity and Mental Illness

The Sylvia Plath Effect

Writing and Mental Health

 

 

 

How Do You Stimulate Your Muse? (Poll)

A Dilemma Many Writers Face

contemplating

If you’re a writer chances are you’ve been asked where you get your story ideas from.

A simple question that’s not so easy to answer; at least not in a way they would be able to understand, or even be satisfied with.

So, what do you do?

Should you spin a wild tale about the crazy ways you get your ideas from (drug-induced dreams, or by stumbling around in one of your sleep-walking misadventures, or going under-cover with  that long-lost relative of yours who’s just happens to be an agent in the CIA)?

Sounds gloriously romantic, eh?  I mean, we’re storytellers so why can’t we, you know, tweak the truth a little bit?

What would you do then?

Artists and the Quiet Life

As an artist, have you ever noticed just how noisy and distracting this world can be?

Has the realization struck you that the more gadgets you acquire, in the quest of making your life more efficient, the more hectic your life actually becomes?

“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” Albert Einstein

I’m starting to wonder if there is some truth to the above quote.   How can an artist create under such insane and chaotic conditions created by the modern society?

Why do you think many artists seek out retreats in order to create?  Why do you think these places have rules in place in that there be little to no gadgets?

Perhaps Mr. Einstein was onto something.  I mean, he was a genius, right?

What about you?  What do you think?  Do you need the quiet and the solitude in order to write or paint?  Have you ever felt the need to get away from it all so you can think and dream again?

 

 

 

 

 

Tidbits and a Guest Post

It’s already day three for Camp NaNoWriMo and I haven’t really gotten started.

Yet.

I knew this month may be a busy one between son’s spring break, and planting/tending our garden and ever-growing fruit/berry orchard on our 3/4 acre land.

I hope to get caught up with writing later today.

In the meantime, a new post went up on Artistic Crossroads called Writing and Artistic Creativity for Mental Health, written by our guest blogger Valerie Johnston.  In this she talks about a mental disorder that affects many people, and how writing can help.

Happy writing 🙂