When You Feel You Suck as a Writer

Posted Pete Bauer Author, Novel, story telling, Writing

Every writer doubts their abilities.  It’s the nature of the process.

When working on a novel, invariably I will write something of which I am certain is effective that, upon further scrutiny, seems to suck.


The reality is none of these are true; it is neither effective or awful.  The fact that it can in inhabit both spaces at the same time means it needs further work.

Writing is hard.  Really hard.

Most of the time, writing is less about inspiration and more about getting the story onto paper, in all of its imperfectness.  Sure, it’s those moments of inspiration that keep you going, like when you hit one sweet drive on a par 5 that inspires you to hack your way through the remaining 18 holes, but the rest of the time, writing is relentless.

It’d be great if all writing was inspired.  If your brain functioned optimally.  If every word you wrote down was the best way to express the thought.

But, if that was how writing occurred, everyone would do it.

Writing is work.  It’s forcing yourself to write what you know sucks so that you will eventually hone it into something powerful after another 20 drafts.  It’s spending two hours working on two paragraphs.  It’s spending fifteen minutes running through the synonym function on your computer trying to find the word you just can’t remember.

Its sitting by yourself, trying to create a world for others, while you fumble with how best to describe it.  It’s writing in voices that aren’t your own.  It’s putting characters you love through hell.

And it’s writing a lot of words that are wrong so you can eventually find the few that are right.

Writing and doubts are often the best of friends.  But they’re not spouses.  With enough effort and persistence the doubts will eventually fade away.

Writing is hard.  That’s why it’s so awesome.

2 Comments on “When You Feel You Suck as a Writer

  • Thanks for the post. It hit home. I love to write; however, so many times I begin a story that I know is good only to quit before the first chapter is complete because I can’t get the wording right. What I got out of your post is to just GET THE STORY OUT…, THEN tweak the wording. VERY good advice. Thanks again.

    • sonlightpicturesblog says:

      Yes, it’s a hard lesson to learn. It took me some time as well. Now, I just focus on getting the first draft done, no matter what, because the editing process requires rewrites. If rewriting is inevitable then I don’t worry about writing stuff I know will need ’em. It frees me to write something bad because, in there, is probably the foundation of something good.

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