When Your Own Bad Writing Makes You Sick

Ever look back and read work you’ve done in the past to realize it sucks so bad you almost feel physically ill?

Yep, that happened to me in a big way Sunday. The previous week my son started school on Wednesday, so I started working on my new novel with gusto (I’d been waiting all summer to start!), but realized I had some background information and research that needed to be done first. Then I got the bright idea to read the half completed first draft of my second novel (Dark Territories) over the weekend. God, what a horrible, awful, terrible disappointment that turned out to be.

I couldn’t even get all the way through two chapters before I decided I’d had enough, because I was real close to vomiting. Yeah, it was that bad. And I can’t even pinpoint one specific thing that was terrible. There was a well balanced amount of terribleness from stiff and completely out of character dialogue to plot leaps that would make a mountain goat proud. There were tie-ins from one story arc to another that left me wondering exactly how much I had to drink that day. And please don’t even get me started on my long windedness. I could probably make a schooner set sail with all that blustering air moving about in each scene.

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Goals in 2012

It’s January 1st once again and like the years before I want to reassess my goals and where I would like to go on my writing journey. After a Year in Review, I have come up with some things I want to accomplish in 2012 to better the craft of my writing. 
Read
The best way to get better at any craft is to study those who have gone before in the field you wish to know about. So if you want to learn to write what better way than by reading what others have written? Reading something every day is my goal, even if it’s as simple as a blog post. 
Write
How can a person get better at something when you don’t practice? You can’t, so that’s my next goal to write every day. A good friend of mine once told me that it takes approximately 10,000 hours working at something to really be good at it. Looks like I’ve got a ways to go. My plan is to put a decent sized dent in that 10,000 hour mark.
A New Path to Walk
I have discovered a new way to approach my writing and the writing process through the book How to Be a WriterI plan on making the book’s exercises a regular practice not only in my writing but my life as well. Also my views on deadlines and publishing have made a 180 degree turn. I now realize that to save my sanity, I need to not focus on deadlines or publishing, but writing simply for the sake of writing and that is all.
New Niche to Write In
I have been struggling for some time with a niche to write in, so far I have dabbled in speculative fiction (my favorite), science fiction, supernatural and mainstream fiction. Recently I have discovered that I truly enjoy writing about past memories (mostly from my childhood), so for right now this is what my writing will be focused on, creating a bunch of short stories with the eventual goal of putting them all in one book for my son to enjoy, as well as my family.
More Blogging, but Not Scheduled
In this past year, I have struggled with my writing, but the one area that had the least of that struggle was writing on my blogs, which is interesting. Every time I wrote on my blogs (personal or writing) I didn’t consider it real writing at all and was upset that the blog writing took away from my other writing, and yet when I did get to the “real” writing I never got very far because writer’s block would settle in and not let go. This year I’m going to make blogging more of a priority. At the same time, I will not be pushing myself to create blogs. I had a schedule (on this blog) of posting Tuesday and/or Saturdays, which didn’t always happen every week, so I’m tossing out the schedule and posting when I feel like it and see how that goes. This blog (and personal blog) might end up with four posts a week or one post a month, we’ll just have to see how it goes.

Learning the Craft of Writing

In 2011, my main focus was learning the craft of writing, but for 2012 I think my focus will change to learning the love of writing. I will, however, still focus on the craft when I have a chance and have recently purchased a few writing books to read. I look forward to diving into Michael Knost’s Writer’s Workshop of Horror and Josip Novakovich’s Fiction Writer’s Workshop, and doing the fun looking exercises in Bonnie Neubauer’s The Write-Brain Workbook.
Be More Flexible
I have the personality- or perhaps more correctly- the learned traits of being a bit of an anal person. Yes, I said it, I’m anal. This may have some use in the world- though I’m not sure what that is- but mostly it just gets me worked up about stuff and sends me into supercharged panic attacks, which even spills over to my writing. This year I’m attempting to take a “chill pill” and not get so worked up about things. I’m not sure how well I will accomplish this, but a person has to start somewhere, right?
I think that sums up my goals for now, but I realize that things change. It’s a part of life (see that chill pill seems to be working already). All I can do is my best and make changes when necessary. It will be interesting to see what happens, and what 2012’s Year in Review will look like. Until then, a happy journey to all and I wish you the best in your own writing endeavors.