First and foremost, I’d like to indicate the shiny new linkage at the top of my page. I’ve finally made a page for “Joshua’s Nightmares”, which is a little ridiculous if you think about it since that’s the reason I made this blog in the first place. To follow my progress, or total lack of real progress so far, on writing that novel. Yikes.
On the plus side, I made a good deal of progress in terms of world-building today (while at work, no less), and will be doing a ton of writing for the actual novel tomorrow…so I thought I’d get this written now. I found myself thinking, “Self, there’s probably some way you could apply the Seven Deadly Sins to writing.” In line with my last post, I Googled that and was completely unsurprised to find a trillion billion similar results. Honestly, though, you could Google “Seven Deadly Sins of Making a Seven Deadly Sins of List” and there’s probably results. If not, someone should get on that! Moving on.
The first post–this post, of course–will focus on Pride. This is a bit of an odd one, as pride and writers go together about as well as peanut butter and gasoline do in a smoothie (Protip: Premium gasoline and peanut butter probably do make a great smoothie, though I take no responsibility for anyone who actually ingests a premium gasoline and peanut butter smoothie). On one hand, most writers suffer from so much crippling self-doubt that Pride (capital p for this post because of reasons) doesn’t pose much of an issue.
However, when Pride does rear is ugly head it often has to do with an unwillingness to make changes to a piece of writing (and, in some cases, accept that a story you wrote may actually just be a stinking heap of needs-sent-to-the-trash-bin-now). Maybe you sent it to some friends for critiquing, knowing they’d love a particular witty one-liner or character, and you were completely taken aback when that particular gem was highlighted with critical comments. On one hand, you could let Pride rule your pen and say screw it to those suggestions. Not everyone will understand your overwhelming genius, right? Or, more realistically, you could see what fixing that “gem” could use.
What I typically notice, and experience, is the absence of Pride with writers. It’s not even humility so much as this weird blend of doubt and self-loathing, with a splash of cheap bourbon. I’ll write, and write, and write some more, and then I’ll look at the finished product and think about how everything could have been done better, or had been done somewhere else already, and how the story itself wouldn’t be worthy, in print, of being used as toilet tissue. And then editing happens and I might hate the story a little less, or a little more, or just the same.
Ultimately, it’s a weird balancing act with being proud of the works you create, but understanding that everything could use a little tweaking. Unless you’re infallible, in which case I politely must insist you are actually full of shit.
Ha! Love the closing line. I posted a similar thought the other day, but you said it better.
As for peanut butter and gasoline… doesn’t peanut butter rule the world enough already?
You flatter me, good sir, but your post on doubt was really entertaining and certainly got into more depth. And I can’t say much, what with the Secret Peanut Butter Government watching, but no. I, for one, welcome our future, nutty overlords.
I think that’s why I don’t often let people read my writing. In my mind, it can stay perfect.