Wednesday, December 7, 2011
The Insecure Writer - Part II
Today is my December's contribution to Alex Cavanaugh's Insecure Writers Support Group.
What makes me an insecure writer this month?
We’re all told that to be good writers, we need to be good readers. Read as many books as you can, they say. It’s good for you. See how published writers write. It will make you a better writer.
Perhaps. But it also makes me a depressed writer.
I read books on story structure and discover how poorly my story is structured.
I read books on the do’s and don’ts of fiction writing and find my story is chock full of don’ts.
I read fiction and discover how much more fluid everyone else’s writing is compared to mine.
The first two problems I can handle. It may take lots of practice, and oodles of time revising, but for the most part, everything I’ve read on how fiction works makes sense to me. I believe I can put together an interesting plot. I believe I can arrange my story so that I hit all the proper beats at the appropriate times. I’m confident I have an active enough imagination so that I’ll never run out of ideas about which to write.
It’s the last problem that keeps me up at night. Almost every time I read fiction, I’m reminded of how much better everyone else is at wielding words. Even in books that I find flawed (poor structure, too many dialogue tags, large wads of backstory, etc.), the authors still have a way with words that makes me envious. And I have no reason to assume that I’ll ever be able to do anything about it – no matter how much I practice.
So please forgive me if I don’t read any other fiction this month. I'll be much happier for it in 2012.
P.S. But I'll still keeping reading the writing how-to books.