I was having a discussion with my friend the other day about writing. The conversation started with me asking her what she was doing at that point in time and she told me she was leisure writing. “That sounds nice”, I tell her, and she replies with “Not really. It’s so disappointing to read, the absence of my inner Shakespeare depresses me”. It saddened me to hear her speak of her writing that way, seeing as I know for a fact that she is an incredibly detailed and poetic writer. I suppose that I really can’t argue though, I sometimes get nice things said about my writing, but I hardly ever take them to heart because I feel that I am unworthy of them.
But it got me thinking; “surely we can’t be the only ones who think like this?” I feel as though every writer has thought about their writing as incompetent or unimaginitive at some point. I think the reason for this is because it’s our own work.
We have painted a picture in our minds of who is in our stories, where they are set, and how things turn out. We’ve read over them and re-written them so many times we can barely see straight anymore, and we can pick out the flaws and the faults and the things that could be better. It is difficult when you have an image in your head and what you create turns out drastically different, or does not have the flow or rhythm that you imagined it to have.
It can’t just be amateurs like us who become overpowered by the urge to flip a table because nothing’s working out, either. I can just imagine J.K Rowling sitting and staring at her computer screen and going, “this is not what I thought it would sound like at all”. We’re just critical of our own work is all, because we know it could always be better.
This being said though, the reader has a very different point of view. They read your creations, completely unaware of the tears, frustration, and hours of looking up cat videos on YouTube that went into the production. They can’t see into your mind, so they don’t know the difference between the finished product in front of them and your original idea. They see your writing in a new light, with new eyes and are swept away by the words you have spun.
To me, flexibility is key; you must be open-minded and willing to make changes where necessary, and maybe where unnecessary, depending on how your ideas change. For a writer working on a piece that they have created from the depths of their imagination, something that is significant and has meaning, change can be a nightmare. But once you see the bigger picture and the finished product, the changes could be the best decisions you’ve ever made.
Really what I’m trying to say is; If you love writing, do it. Write what you feel and edit it how you want. There are moments when you just want to give the whole damn thing up and go eat ice cream, but I’m telling you right now, don’t do that (well, the giving up part anyway. As for the ice cream, go right ahead!). Keep on at it and you might be surprised by how people respond to it!