Jeff O'Handley, Author

Jeff O'Handley

The Doubting Writer Finds His Voice

Monday Musing: It’s Good? Really?

Sorry I’m late.
I do like to try to be consistent, but I overslept this morning and it was a crazy day where we all of us had to be out of the house early so something had to give and it was the blog. If you missed my 6:30 or so appearance, my apologies; these things happen. If you didn’t notice…ignore this paragraph.
I had one of those days at my writers’ circle yesterday. I wrote furiously for the better part of 45 minutes or so, filling about five sides of notebook paper in my hard to read writing. That’s a lot for me; lately, I’ve been much more like a side and a half. Along  the way, I scrawled ‘WHAT A LOAD OF CRAP!’ across the bottom of page 4, partly because I had lost control of the piece—I kind of knew how I wanted it to end, but couldn’t seem to figure out a way to bring it about, and partly because it just felt…wrong. It was good writing, I was pretty confident of that, but the piece just felt wrong on a content level. Still, it was nice to write with that…fury (yeah, second use of that sort of word, but it’s appropriate); I haven’t done it for a while. Carrie has the latest version of POWERLESS to look over and I’ve got two WiPs that just aren’t grabbing me the way I need to be grabbed, so I’ve spent the last couple of nights sort of moving things around and doing a little bit of writing around trying to find my way back in.
So this piece was fun in that it was forty-five minutes or so of head down, nose to the paper writing, but when it came time to read…I really didn’t want to. It just felt like something that was sort of …I don’t know, stupid, but I read it anyway.
They liked it.
It wasn’t in the, “Yeah, that was good, okay, who’s reading next?” sort of way. They did like it, I even got a “You should submit that somewhere”. Typing it up later, I could actually see the possibility—and I could see some ways to make it better.
Go figure.
DO you find that happens to you? Pieces that you think are drivel that everyone else likes? I’d almost think it’s a form of self-defense, like “I really, really want people to like this, but I’m afraid they won’t so I’ll assume it’s horrible, that way I can only be pleasantly surprised.” The thing is, I don’t usually think that way. When I have something in writers’ circle that I really like, that I think is good, I get very nervous about reading, with a severe case of the ‘jimmy leg.’ This was a totally different feeling.
Anyway, my brain isn’t working at 100% for this today, so I’d better go. Have a great day, see you on Friday, I think.

6 Responses

  1. Yeah. I think some of that comes from familiarity breeds contempt but also a bit of our own lack of self-confidence. Sometimes I feel good about what I do and other times I wonder who I'm trying to kid. lol

  2. Writing furiously like that, with the editor off, can deliver some raw writing that's to the point. Must have been something truthful in it that others related to. Well done. 🙂

  3. I used to belong to a writers group that did that kind of stuff (write with a prompt or just free-write), then it morphed into just critiquing and then I just kind of out grew it (I think). But during those writing stints, I came up with the beginning of a novel once (a novel I have still yet to write, though, but I have the beginning!). I kind of miss those meetings now and wish they hadn't changed. I got more out of it than just critiquing.

  4. Whoops, sorry for the late replay. Thanks for your comments, everyone. This is one of those posts that I feel like I've done a dozen times. Thanks for indulging me.

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