I'm my own worst critic. My OCD comes out when reviewing my own writing. Where are you most challenged? What is your weakness in writing? (Yes, this is your forum for admitting your weak spot. Time to be humble).
Rewriting and more rewriting.
Like I want to rewrite that sentence. Yeah, I'm that sick.
Same as Enough. rewriting and rewriting.
And I have this horrible problem of adding and adding and adding to what could be a simple line. I drop in an adverb my first run, thinking, "it's okay, it'll give my readers a break from all my description." The next day I go back, take out the adverb, and write four or five sentences to replace it.
The only time I'm good at not adding and adding? Action scenes. I know the more words you toss in, the slower the pace, so I keep things simple. But geez! My manuscript could probably be cut down a third if I removed all unnecessary description! And don't get me started on the filter words... sheesh!
I made a decision this week, however: I will not go back and remove the unneeded junk in my writing until I'm done. If I keep second guessing my work, I'll never get past the second act. I decided to focus on finishing the manuscript before any serious editing takes place. Then I'll print the thing in its entirety, hopefully find paperclips big enough to keep the damn thing together, and go at it with a rainbow of pens.
Let's see if I can last long enough.
^ Way to be proactive, if only I could make that decision. If I didnt have to get it perfect (my idea of perfect) that first time around, I would make so much more progress. Like tonight I have written 181 words in 4 hours. I mean I dont guess that is too bad for today, compared to yesterdays 25 words in 3 hours. Whatever, I will put it out when I can and not so much at other times. If I could get the "Inner Critic" to shut the fuck up for awhile, I might see more. What do you do?
@Enough: I tell MissCritic to STFU. I come from a family of nags. The horrible, insulting sort of nags that make you think twice about visiting them on the holidays because of all the crap they nitpick on you. So I have a bit of practice ignoring the inner critic. I tell her, "Look, there is a time and a place for you to rampage through this project. But now is not the time and here is not the place. So go wait your turn!"
I do let her out once in awhile. You know, to stretch her legs and work off the poundage she's accumulated from eating out of boredom. What I do is I read what I wrote the day before and fix what I think needs temporary fixing. Then she's put back into the Nag Kennel and I get to work. It took me three half finished drafts before I realized how detrimental it was for me to go back and read my work from the beginning. I'd end up restarting all over again because of how displeased my Inner Critic/Editor felt. I've slowed down a bit now that she's been put in her place, but I feel a little more confident about finishing this time!
Another thing I do is utilize my office's neverending supply of post-it notes. For pointless words and filter words and my piles of description, I make a note to myself (post-its on a monitor!) to keep an eye out for that sort of junk when I do get down to editing. Any time I learn something new and have the urge to apply it to stuff I've already written, I make a note, too.
Don't feel down about not achieving a ton of words due to self-editing. I may try to not go back to what I wrote last week to butcher the hell out of it, but I end up editing myself as I write. I think about every line I want to empty onto the page and write and rewrite it until it feels right on the tongue. Lately, I've only been managing 300 word days! (This'll have to change, though. NaNoWriMo is coming up.)
I just hopped online to give myself a break from the spiral of rewriting I've been doing on the scene I'm writing, and I find this thread. Perfect timing. Probably all the weaknesses in my writing can be traced back to my obsessive rewriting. Everything from bloated prose to burning out before finishing a story. It's a definite problem. Glad to see I'm not the only one suffering from it.
@enough: I have the same problem. Getting a hundred words a day would be a real achievement for me. Most days, I can't get anything down because of that stupid inner voice, so I feel your pain. Today is the first day in almost two months I've written anything, and I only managed around two hundred words. And those have been rewritten to the point of explosion.
@misskokamon: Good luck vanquishing MissCritic. Great idea about the Post-It notes. I'm going to try that and see if it helps me. You're right about reading your work from the beginning. I've killed a few manuscripts doing the same thing. Must never do that again.
I overcame my FIRST worst writing flaw: believing that my writing was sacrosanct. Removing a word felt like cutting the mole from Cindy Crawford's cheek. I got over that when I learned that a manuscript isn't a sole effort--not if you want it published. After you believe you have polished your work, the editor will begin hacking away at it so that it will meet industry standards, not yours. I had a choice: My way or an ISBN number in the congressional library. I signed off on almost every change. On the few for which I could present a logical defense, the editor acceeded to my desires.
My new monster in the closet is wordiness. I tend to overwrite everything. I'm aware of it and working on it.
I've already cut about half of what I had written here.
How much do you give into the industry standards at the price of your art? I've never tried to get published, and really know nothing about the industry in publishing terms. I do know, I dont think you can judge art. I understand editing grammar, punctuation, dialouge, etc., but your piece as a whole is your work of art, your concept. The idea of an editor hacking at that and reducing it to a remenat of what your vision once was......disturbing to me. This seems to destroy the creative process in my mind. Why bother creating your piece, when to be published you must give into the vision of an editor? Maybe I have this all wrong? Please tell me if I do.
The age old fight of artist with the industry. Its in every facet. Why cant an artist present their vision, without some fuck all in the industry trying to push their "standards" into it? This is sad to me, and probably why I will never be published.
Sorry for the tangent, and taking the thread in a different direction. Carry on.
Make it better.
Get more ideas.
Make it worse.
Give up for a couple days.
Rinse and repeat.
Rewriting here as well. I have two or three half finished novels that have been rewritten straight to death. And I will admit finished first drafts are about equal. I also am bad with recognizing these little moments of pure genuis and then beating myself up incessently because every single sentence doesn't match up to that one little moment where I felt I had awesome in my blood.