Dealing with Writer's Doubt

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Darth_Leia_6669, Jul 7, 2008.

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  1. Darth_Leia_6669

    Darth_Leia_6669 Jedi Padawan star 4

    Apr 26, 2003
    Ok, I really would like to know if anyone has this problem. You start a fic, and you're on a roll with it. You are posting it and things seem to be going ok. Then you start questioning yourself about it. Are the characters coming off right? Does the plot really make sense? Am I just getting carried away here? You start having Writer's Doubt, which (at least in my case) often leads to writer's block.

    Please tell me I'm not the only one here who suffers from this! *pleads* And if anyone has any suggestions on how to overcome it, I would be grateful.
    Thanks for your time!

    6669 [face_devil]
  2. brodiew

    brodiew Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Oct 11, 2005
    I'm glad you mentioned it. you're not alone. I've suffered from this in the past, though I've not written many multi post stories. It can be tough to press through.
  3. RX_Sith

    RX_Sith C&G Game Host star 6 VIP - Game Host

    Mar 13, 2006
    This definitely happens to me. I will start pretty well (at least hopefully anyway) and then about a few months later I start to have DOUBTS about exactly where I am going with my story.

    DWB starts to take hold and then those few months add up to six months and then the story is locked. It has happened just about on all of my stories so far and I don't really know what to do about it.
  4. Quigonjecca

    Quigonjecca Jedi Youngling star 3

    Jul 2, 2007
    Yes, it happens to me. Even with original stuff. I was on a roll with this one story (I had written 12,000 words in one day. Yeah... I have a lot of time on my hands.) and then suddenly I was like, "This just isn't interesting. No one will read this. What if she's a Mary Sue..." etc.

    You can't really do anything about it, because you are your own worst critic, and you're going to find faults with your stories that no one else will. The best thing I can say to do is make yourself sit down and write 1000 words in that story a day (or whatever other number. I usually say 2,000 words, but you might say 500.) and you'll get through it. You'll have one of those lightbulb moments and then *POOF* you're back on a roll again. Or at least writing regularly!

    Well, at least, that's how it works for me (o:
  5. LilyHobbitJedi

    LilyHobbitJedi Jedi Knight star 5

    Aug 29, 2005
    You are definitely not alone in this, I too am a frequent sufferer. I'm always doubting my stories and thinking I won't be able to pull something off like I planned. Usually I'm able to deal with it in time and sometimes by reevaluating my stories and rereading some of the reader's comments I'm able to take another stab at it. Other times I write a vig or something else really small so that it will put me back in the right mindframe to continue what I started.
  6. Gabri_Jade

    Gabri_Jade Fan Fiction Archive Editor Emeritus star 5 VIP

    Nov 9, 2002
    Writer's Doubt is my constant companion, and yes, it often leads to writer's block. In many cases when I say I have DWB, I'm using it as a euphemism for writer's doubt, because I actually have ideas for stories and where my WIPs should go, it's just that I doubt my ability to pull it off convincingly.

    As far as how to get past it, I think that Quigonjecca's suggestion is an excellent one. It's hard to do, but if you keep writing, you do eventually get past it. Sometimes what helps me is brainstorming with a friend, because even if I had ideas already, the friend might come up with a twist or nuance that I'd never considered, then I get all excited about writing that new idea and the doubt slides off to the side all by itself. And we all definitely see more problems with our work than the readers do, so the odds are that what we're writing is actually a lot better than we think it is, doubt or no. :)
  7. Ceillean

    Ceillean Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Nov 13, 2001
    I'm dealing with Writer's Doubt at this very moment. Which has led me to a stupid Writer's Block. And it doesn't make sense to me because I have my entire story plotted out but the words to write it down fail me. :_|

    So I write and then I erase and then I write and then I erase. And this has been going on for days. *sighs* And it's so annoying because I want to get the story done and I know I can get the story done but I keep doubting that I'll write it in a good way.

    I have this fear that I'll lose my readers if I mess up, which increases the doubt I have in myself. *sniffs*
  8. LaForzaViva

    LaForzaViva Jedi Knight star 1

    Jul 6, 2008
    I get doubt when I begin stories. As in, is my idea good enough? Is it original enough? Would someone besides me want to read it? Is there enough depth?

    That's how I'm feeling right now, since I always have ideas running around but I often discard them as too bland or jaded of an idea and then I never put anything down.
  9. RK_Striker_JK_5

    RK_Striker_JK_5 Jedi Grand Master star 7

    Jul 2, 2003
    I have doubts up the whazoo. There's an old saying. "Your harshest critic is usually yourself." Well, for me, that's true.

    [:D] for Ceillean. Sorry to here. :( I hope you can find those words, there.
  10. Alexis_Wingstar

    Alexis_Wingstar Jedi Master star 4

    Sep 16, 2006
    I think everyone has doubts at one point or other. Mine come every time I come to the point in my story where I have to do an action scene. In fact, one of my stories came to a screeching hault and I haven't updated in it for... I think almost a year!

    I'm not sure how to get around it.
  11. zonzo

    zonzo Jedi Knight star 3

    Dec 3, 2007
    I've learned that even if what you turn out isn't all that great, It will still work in the end.

    You just need to relax about this stuff.
  12. darth_grievous1

    darth_grievous1 Jedi Master star 5

    Apr 24, 2004
    I've always found it's good to get someone else to read whatever I'm working on if there's any doubts about it. In fact, I did that a lot this year when writing articles for my school's newspaper. Proofreading for grammatical errors can also help. Occasionally rephrasing a tricky sentence or what have you can work wonders.

    If in serious doubt, take a break from what you've written for a few days, and take another look.
  13. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Grand Master star 6

    Mar 1, 2002
    Yes, I get it all the time. Every single post I've ever done. I'm always second-guessing whether I've captured the characters or is the pacing too slow or am I giving away too much. I've fighting a terrible writer's doubt right now - and blockage, too.

    I've been writing drabbles to try and keep my hand in writing but sometimes it's seems like a huge thing to get over. I would suggest you write at least 100 words a day, no matter what, no matter if it's terrible or OOC. Write.
  14. Valairy Scot

    Valairy Scot Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 16, 2005
    Gosh yes...either ask in a preface to your story, or even better, make a friend or two who's a fellow author on the board and ask them their honest appraisal - I can't tell you how reassuring it is to be told you're on the right track - or - how refreshing to have someone help you get on track.
  15. Independence1776

    Independence1776 Jedi Youngling star 3

    Feb 3, 2006
    I think every writer sufferes this, to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the story and other variables. It's a lot more common with longer works, I believe.

    My advice: sit down and write every day. Set a minimum goal and keep it. Don't erase or delete- you can always fix it later. (That's why I like completing stories before posting.) The important thing to do is keep writing. Everything will fall into place eventually.

    Another thing that may work is a deadline. Set one yourself or have a friend hold you to it. Deadlines can work wonders. (I speak from four years of experiance with NaNoWriMo.)

    Sometimes, switching to another story can work. (It doesn't for me- I rarely go back to the one I stopped working on.) Or you could always read something you find inspirational- another fanfic, a book, poetry, music, etc. You could also take a short break and get some perspective- it usually isn't as bad as you think.
  16. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Chosen One star 9

    Mar 26, 2001
    I've found that the best way to deal with Writer's Doubt is to start bouncing ideas off someone. Case in point, I'm struggling with a very important scene for a fic and I mention it to a friend. He starts throwing out ideas and I start either encouraging them or shooting them down based on characterization. By the time I'm 10 minutes into it, I've reassured myself that I really do seem to know what I'm doing.
  17. DarthXan318

    DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus star 6 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Sep 12, 2002
    Writer's Doubt is the main reason why none of my fanfics get beyond a collection of notes. :oops:
  18. JediXManSerenaKenobi

    JediXManSerenaKenobi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 27, 2007
    I have the same problem - I get into a fic and then after a while I'm like "This is terrible! The characters are weak, the plot is weak - everything stinks!" and I either want to scrap the whole thing and rewrite or just forget about it and move on.

    - Serena
  19. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Jul 20, 2002
    A beta or a sounding board is a great thing to have. I was having trouble with a storyline and asked my friend for help, and she put me on the right path.
  20. amidalachick

    amidalachick Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Aug 3, 2003
    I basically have a permanent case of writer's doubt. It's one of the biggest reasons I don't finish my longer fics.

    Everyone else has given really good advice, so I'll just add that for me, personally, the sitting-down-and-just-writing method works really well. It may suck, it may never leave your computer, but at least you've got something written down! :p

    Also, I've revised this post twice now because I was not happy with the way it sounded the first time. :p
  21. Danaan

    Danaan Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 23, 2008
    Writer's doubt is the main reason I don't write in novel format. I've tried, repeatedly for the past decade or so. No matter how many times I revisit a text, I'm not content, so that format just becomes a perpetual loop of not being satisfied.

    So I chose the screenplay format. Works much better for me...
  22. MsLanna

    MsLanna Jedi Master star 6

    Jul 8, 2005
    I used to have that a lot.
    Now I mostly stare it in the eye and say: Yeah, so what?

    How come? There was this challenge entry I worte in a hurrry, a real big hurry; I was sure it sucked on many levels and was generally cobbled together. Wehn I reread it lately, I was like: oh, this is actually good.:eek:

    I still get doubts, mostly about characters, are the guys acting like guys or are they more girls with a beard; stuff like that. Some of my stories are sub-par, but they won't get better: So what? 90% of everything is rubbish (yes, my stuff too). But somebody out there still likes it. (Yes, they do, never fear.[:D] )
  23. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Mar 3, 2003
    I have this when I write stories and then later abandon them, but I always have a completed story before I begin posting. Why? I want to change the beginning to for the ending etc.

    When I get doubt, sometimes I sit on what I have for a month and then come bac to it with a fresh mind.
  24. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Feb 5, 2004
    If I write, I doubt. :p That's pretty much how it goes. Even after I'm done editing and post, when I go back and read it I immediately find a dozen things I do differently. :rolleyes: I've learned to deal with the doubt and come to think of it as just part of the process. A painful part yes, but inherently part of the deal. [face_laugh]
  25. JediXManSerenaKenobi

    JediXManSerenaKenobi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Jul 27, 2007
    I would love a beta-reader, but there's always the slight danger of someone stealing your ideas. I guess you have to just trust them.
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