Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Unbearable Shitness of Writing

I am tired, so very, very tired. I have not long woken up, yet I desperately want more sleep. Despite that, I have to go to the office and do a ratty day's work so I can go home later and continue tightening the final draft.

Last night, I began cleaning up the first three chapters. It was badly needed. Badly needed. I now have 53 chapters to finish in the seven remaining evenings before I fly out on holiday.

Trouble is, it's only now that I realise the whole thing's shit; utter, turgid shit.

For a 'comedy', it's not funny. As a story, it's barely existent. That's what happens when you wing it and don't plan anything to the nth degree, hoping instead it'll just emerge. And now my name's all over it. That's wot I wrote. I've already prepped my friends to read it, and now I'd rather they didn't. I can picture them reading the first couple of pages and sighing as they stare at the other 235.

Great. Two years of my life up in smoke, for a bunch of literal shite. There was me, thinking I'd get it finished, get it published, and get a great new job doing something writey. That's sooo not gonna happen.

I want to sleep for a year. I want to have a book burning. I want to inject carbs into my urethra, and drink turps through a straw. I'm 35, single, and really, really terribly fucked off with it all.

And now I'm too tired to cycle to work so I'll have to train it in. I'm gonna be late.



Blue soup said...

I may be wrong here, but often when I read your posts I find myself thinking that you are your most ruthless critic. (I think this characteristic is true of a lot of people and am not saying that it is a bad thing). With this in mind, I wonder if it is as bad as you seem to think it is.

Of course I haven't read your book so, yes, it could be a big pile of wank... but if it blends the humour and excellent writing that you consistently display here, then I see no LOGICAL reason for it to be "utter turgid shit".

I hope you made it to work on time. Have a coffee, have a stretch, try to smile. :)

Huw said...

At least you won't have to buy any bogroll for a couple of months.

Ellie said...

Wait, you've been saying it's shit for months (years?!) now. You surely didn't just realise!

luna said...

Oh come off it!think of your hols instead!And how it's gonna rain nonstop!well at least you won't know it when the locals laugh at you.

Lilly said...

You should read through it without editing - like you would read a normal book. That way it will be easier to see what's wrong (or right) with it, rather than getting caught up in the details. I spose that's where friends come in too - they read it like normal readers, which, of course, they are.

But hey, if it's shit, take notes of what you like and what you don't and what you think needs to be better, then take the time to give a good overhaul. Don't be afraid to change it - if it's rubbish then no-one is going to publish it anyway.

Lilly said...

Happy thoughts!

Anonymous said...

my guess is that you've done nothing but eat, shit, sleep this book for so long that you absolutely cannot step back and look at the entire thing with fresh eyes... suspect external read/comment is the best thing.

enjoy the holiday... you obviously need it!

Anonymous said...

You need to put the knotted rope down, boyo.

First off, if your last four or five posts are any indication, this sounds like a first draft. Just get it in some workable form. Get it on paper. Rewriting comes next, anyhow. And first drafts always suck.

Secondly, Blue Soup hit it on the head when he/she said that you're your own worst critic. I think that's normal. But I don't know why, perhaps it is because you saw the draft in the first incarnation, and you assume that everyone else picks up on the sentences that make you cringe (e.g., uninspired, cliched, awkward, et cetera). Kinda like beer goggles in reverse, but for comma chasers.

Anyhow, trying to be helpful. Good luck - indirectly this encourages me to know I'm not alone on this issue (working a monster in a box of my own).

Believe it or not this comment was supposed to be 100 words or less; all the same, Cheers,

heybartender said...

Two things:
First, watch this, because it will make you laugh:

Second, feel free to e-mail me a copy of your draft. If you want. Fresh eyes and a completely objective opinion from a total stranger whom you will never meet. just a thought.

blueskies2day said...

Along with heybartender, if you do need a complete stranger to offer unsolicited and potentially brutally honest advice, I'm happy to take a look at it also.

People advise taking 3-4 months away from a draft before you re-read it: have you done that?

jason quinones said...

artists and writers are a always always ALWAYS their own worst critics. and their own worst enemy. you're probably being WAY TOO HARD on yourself. if it's a first drat, tighten it up, omit a few paragraphs, maybe expand on some others if necessary.

you should be proud of the fact that you have 53(!!!) chapters worth of "shit" as a starting off point to work off of!

most up and coming writers don't even have that!

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Send it my way, I'll have a gander. You'll know if I like it because I'll pass it off as my own.


But the offer's there.

Contemporary lit masters grad in the hoouuuuuse.

Lush said...

I'm convinced that it's probably not shit at all and that you just believe yourself to be shit at everything. Which I relate to on some level, god knows writing a book isn't easy and my own endeavour in doing so is sometimes terrifying beyond belief.

But that being said there's a part of me that just wants to grab you by the shoulders, give you a good shake and make you believe in yourself a little more. Shit writers get published all the time, and for godssake you don't qualify as a shit writer in the slightest. I along with many others who read and comment upon this blog thinks you're interesting, clever and fucking talented. Get with it!

(this, fyi, is the e-version of said shake up)

luna said...

Don't pass it on to anyone ! anyone at all!keep your baby close to your (booby) chest!

Just publish an extract of the middle chapter on here and we'll tell you straightaway if we want to read the beginning and the ending.

digressica said...

This is what I would do if I were you and in the happy position of having a finish first draft in my hot little hands:

1. Forget the fact that you have told friends you want them to read it while you're on holiday. Tell them their services are no longer required (at this point).

2. Hide it in a drawer for one whole month.

3. Do not look at it, think about it, talk about it or blog about it during that month.

4. When the month is up, and ONLY when the month is up, take it out and read it through WITHOUT editing or criticising (difficult for you, I'm sure).

5. Read through it again and make notes in the margins.

6. Redraft.

I mean I'm no expert, but that's probably what I would do.

I can't wait until I am able to say that I have a turgid pile of shit manuscript in my hands. As long as it's finished.

fwengebola said...

BS ~ Oh I’m absolutely my biggest critic. It’s been a difficult struggle, however, creating characters from thin air and making “amusing” stuff up. At least the blog’s real; Stuff happens, and I bitch about it.
Huw ~ It took me a while to get that.
Ellie ~ I know, there’s shit shit, and realisation shit. I’d worked this into the latter.
Luna ~ I don’t think laughter requires any new language skills.
Lil ~ I’ve tried that. It’s actually quite hard to read more than a sentence without wanting to adjust it somehow. I’m too close to it to pretend it’s someone else’s work. Thanks, though. It’s over - for now – until I get all the feedback and re-write it for the third time.
Lil ~ I’m trying!
Df ~ Oh god, this book is like the inverse of a lousy relationship you’ve convinced yourself is great and don’t want to give up on.
Thanks, though. I’m writing this some 24 hours before take-off…
SA ~ God, don’t call this a 1st. My current finished doc is labelled a 6th. But you have given me a potential new title: “Uninspired, clich├ęd, awkward bunch of arse.” If I can give you any advice, however, I’d advise that you absolutely, utterly finish what you’ve begun.
Wait, do you need my advice?
HB ~ Time once again shits down my neck. I’ll have to watch that abroad! I’d love to send you a copy but, truth be told, it’s not ready for that yet. It needs yet another polish, post-feedback and post-holiday.
BS2D ~ Two to three months? That’s just scary. I may take a month off when I get back. I really want others to read it, but at the same time it’s a “work in progress.”
JQ ~ They are? I do see a lots of A&Ws who are puckering, egomaniacal arsehats. But they’re probably the minority.
Actually, it’s 60 shitty chapters. I mis-tallied.
PDEWYMO ~ Contemporary lit masters, fo’ shizz? God, I sooo want to send it out. I know everyone will be very kind.
But those edges, they really need sanding down. Like, forever.
Lush ~ I absolutely maintain that you continue with your endeavours, though, as much as I’ve bitched about this. Thank you for the e-slap, but it’s not the writing per se, but the story, and the characters, and the ugh, everything…
Thank you a billion times over for the compliments, but really? That always makes me confused. (But do carry on.)
Luna ~ Nice idea, but I don’t know if I could bring everyone down even more than I already do, with fiction.
Wait, “Booby”???
Dig ~ 1. Tell friends: Too late. Besides, I need input now.
2. Hide it: I will, by fleeing the country.
3. Do not look/ think / talk about it: That, I’m more than happy to do.
4. Take it out and read it through WITHOUT editing or criticising: :Ha, good one.
5. make notes in the margins: Story of my life.
6. :Redraft: Ditto.
If you’re writing too, then you must absolutely, utterly and wholeheartedly finish.