Writing Crisis -- Need Advice

I think I may be going through some form of crisis. Like a mid-life crisis, but in relation to writing. This may be a bit long, but I need to get it out.

Lately, I’ve been feeling like I should give up on writing. I’ve been lurking in forum threads, writing sites and other places writers tend to migrate and it seems to me everybody else knows why they’re writing, and what direction they want to take in their endeavours. Some people want to publish and some just want to post online. Some people are posting to hone thier craft and some are just here for the fun of it. It’s made me think. Why do I write? What do I want to do with it?

I know I write for both validation and myself. I love creating new worlds and characters and the writing process itself. I dream of the day someone tells me they love my book, and thanks me for posting online. Yet, I feel like I’m being left out. Everyone else seems to have this definite direction they’re going in and I’m just…there. Writing. I don’t feel like I’m good enough to be published and sometimes when I look at racial discourse at Twitter (don’t laugh please) focusing on the publishing industry at large, I wonder if I even have what it takes to succeed.

When I first really opened my eyes to the reality of book theft online, I consoled myself saying I would be able to file DMCAs and my stories on mirror sites would disappear if I chose to unpublish them on WP because mirror sites where essentially harmless. Then NovelHD popped up and the theft of my book made all my doubts come soaring again.

Do I really want to expose myself to this? This helplessness? On one hand, I want to work towards that dream we all have as new writers signing up for WP - to become orange carpet famous. On the other hand, can the sensitive and proud side of me really handle someone else taking my hard work and claiming it as theirs? Can I really handle the loss of control over my own creation?

I think what I’m trying to say here is, it may be time for me to take a break, however long it may be, to reevaluate what writing means to me,if I take the risk of sharing online or keep it to myself, whether I’m brave enough to keep on writing characters of my own ethnicity despite what I’ve seen others say about my chances and if this whole post is a side effect of my overthinking, tired brain at 1am.

Have you had these doubts before too? How did you resolve them?

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Everyone has doubts! You’re not alone, seriously. We all think these thoughts, but don’t quit! Especially not if you have a diverse voice. All the argument on Twitter should convince you diverse voices are truly needed out there.

Safety of your hard work is a serious concern, so maybe posting all your work online isn’t such a good idea? I don’t know, but I’ve only posted one work, and that one’s not my best. Maybe you should think about traditional publishing? A surprising number of writers have successfully gotten traditionally published, and I personally think it’s actually getting easier to get an agent and get a deal than it used to be years ago, but maybe that’s just my perception.

Anyhow, don’t give up, whatever you do! Everyone has a unique voice, and every writer who quits is depriving the world of something unique and special, though it may not feel like it to you right now.

(♯^.^ღ)

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Theft for some reason had never bothered me, but I continuously battle self-doubt, lack of popular success, worries about not hitting the quality I want to have in my books and, yes, writing characters of my ethnicity or characters that I even just, you know, like…

I think not being able to deliver quality is the biggest monster that chews me. I keep trying to slow down, keep trying to write more carefully, but I am getting caught up in stuff that is happening… which is intersting to me, but not to other people. :cry:

But if I don’t write more, I will never write a book people would want to read… so I keep finishing books and try to slow myself down

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I’m like Domi, too.

I think all of us grapple with self doubt. I’ve been in the place where I wonder why I write at all. The answer’s simple: I write because I enjoy it. I don’t care about posting on time anymore, I don’t write for anyone but myself. I would love to have someone say they love my work, but it won’t matter as much as me liking my own work. I’m lucky to have found readers who enjoy my work, but I still doubt how good it is, and my goal is to be traditionally published. I’m insecure all the time about how I can’t seem to write enough or how I don’t get time to write, and when I gave myself the freedom to take a break from posting and writing only when I got the time or wanted to, it just freed things up. I know I should treat writing as a job if I want to earn from it, but my schedule doesn’t allow that, right now, and that’s okay. I just write as stress relief until I get the time to write for something else.

My advice would be to take a break, but not from writing itself. Let writing take you wherever it does, don’t try to control it. Do what the Muse wants, and let that guide you. You just need to find why you took this up in the first place, and why you enjoy it so much.

I don’t have anything to say about the plagiarism concerns, because it hasn’t really bothered me, even though I have been plagiarised on mirror sites…

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okay so correct me if I’m wrong but what I’m hearing is that you enjoy writing but not the risks that come with posting your work online. In which case the simplest solution is to just not post your stories online. Remember, you don’t need the external validation that comes with showing other people your work in order to like it. In fact I think keeping your writing to yourself in the early stages fosters a positive relationship between you + the work you do by eliminating the pressure to make it immediately perfect for other people.

Also you can still talk about your writing online and participate in writing groups/conversations/ect. without posting the stories. I mention some of my unposted stories all the time and it’s never a problem.

In terms of feeling ‘good enough’ I think that’s a problem a lot of us writers face, especially, as you said, with all the discourse on media sites like Twitter and Tiktok. There a plenty of times, even when I’m feeling good about my writing, where I just think ‘some asshole sjw on twitter is going to call me [insert -ist word of choice here] for this’ and it is a little scary. But at the end of the day there will always be someone on Twitter, or Tiktok, or Facebook, who’s looking to pick bones and the only solution is to ignore it and move on. Five internet people picking apart your book in an echo chamber means nothing in reality. Keep writing, keep trying to get published, and if one way doesn’t work well for you, try another.

And remember… somebody published all five After books and turned them into movies. If One Direction fanfiction is good enough for the theaters, your writing will be good enough too.

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I mainly want(ed) to post online because I like getting feedback on how to improve my writing but moving forward, I think I’ll be keeping my best work to myself.

I live in a third world country, and an audience for fantasy (which I write) isn’t viable here because there’s so much hunger and recession and people will gladly pay for religious texts and educational textbooks but become iffy about fiction and nonfiction. Piracy is also really, really rampant.
I’ll google my chances about being published internationally.

Thank you! I don’t think I could ever truly give up writing, but sometimes it’s hard for me to see the positives. I hope you have a wonderful day.

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I feel you on this. I think the one that bothers me the most is the lack of popular success as I sometimes let the numbers game consume me but I’m glad to see these kind of doubts seem to be something writers on general face.

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Mine as well. As much as I love writing, there are so much more things I need to focus on that sometimes I’m to tired to even put pen to paper.

I will, most probably from Wattpad.

I curb myself when I begin to worry about mirror sites because once it’s gone from Wattpad, it’s gone from the mirror site as well. It’s when someone posts my work under their name I go mad.

Thank you for replying!

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For the most part, yes. I’m not that worried about mirror sites but theft itself, and not being able to take my stolen work down.

I’ve being trying to tell myself this, but find it hard to walk away from online posting. It’s something I need to make peace with myself about.

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I can’t really comment much on that, unless you’re trying to make a living off earnings from your stories I don’t understand the big deal about stolen work. My solution has always been to just make it obvious across all my platforms that these stories are mine. I post pictures, talk about characters, ect. and keep my writing-related accounts linked via linktree so that everyone has easy access to the right ones.

It’s definitely a difficult to walk away from the dopamine rush and instant gratification of online posting. You can always try your hand taking small steps like posting chapter updates farther apart.

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Yeah, I totally agree.

True… I haven’t seen that for my books, yet, so I’m in safe territory

:blush:

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I understand how you feel here. While I know I love writing and want to someday publish one of my stories, knowing my stories can also take me away from knowing the point of the story and I don’t know how to summaries what the plot is and means instead of being consumed by events in the character’s life lol. I think I’m looking too close at my projects sometimes to remember the “big picture” which can be hard. I don’t know what kind of writer I am, what kind of genre I’d stick to (I try new things all the time) and how I’d get a stable readership because of it. I don’t know, I have a lot of thoughts about all this. But I can sympathise with you here.

Taking breaks is good, but never quit until you’re truly done. A break will help you focus on what you want to do. I myself used to post, but now I write more for myself only and when I post occasionally, I find it a lot harder to get reads. Like I say, changing genres is hard to keep a readership interested. Posting just isn’t the same for me anymore either.

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  1. Look, yes, take any break you need. Writing, for most of us, is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.

  2. As a white reader:

  • I don’t care what ethnicity a character is that I’m reading about. If you can make a character relateabile, I’ll read about a pink slime form Neptune.
Now, yes, some all about ethnicity books are beyond my patience.

The Bluest Eye excerpts for class fell flat with me, partially because the book chosen to be dissected before it was about a black man who accidentally killed a white woman and then burned her on the coal-heater, then later casually kills his black girlfriend while running from the law over the white woman’s death. Couldn’t handle that, but dealt with To Kill a Mockingbird just fine.

Trying to force me into sympathy over a man who can casually kill his girlfriend like that just kills the point of the novel. I have no sympathy over the manhunt at that point. Just because he’s “getting justice” for the wrong death does not mean that he shouldn’t be put under the jail.

Totally ruined the book. They could have kept my empathy on him without that.

  • But if I can sit there and listen to people’s personal experiences, bring up my own, I’ve got no problem reading about them.
  1. The bigger problem for me as a reader is when a book or movie caters to a demographic that I don’t fit–that’s not just ethnicity, that’s all sorts of subjects. I’m just not as likely to pick up a book that isn’t targeting me because the advertising is too selective for it to catch my attention.
  • That has nothing to do with the merit of the writer. And if that plays into any part of those conversations you have had–I feel for you. I do.

  • I mean, every child is supposed to relate to Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), so why can’t I get immersed in characters played by Quvenzhané Wallis? (Local actress.)

  • Not all the uphill battle is due to a lack of audience. Some of it is because producers and publishers can’t get a real grasp on what actually will work. All you have to do is look into the advertised flops to know they don’t have a total grasp on it.

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I know. It’s just hard. For me the solution is always to dive in other people’s stories when I am spiraling out of control, finding the ones I really love. I know it might sound like motherhood and apple pie, but it’s the only thing that works for me and helps me to stop worrying about how deeply I suck or being paranoid about nobody taking my stories seriously.

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I mean, everyone is in their own journey, girl, and the best way to kill yourself with stress is to compare yourself with others. I think for now, when you’re just starting out, you should really focus on the journey rather than the destination. Love writing new worlds? Love writing? Then do it. Success doesn’t have to be being published or orange carpet famous. I mean, those are nice, but they shouldn’t dictate why you write.

I used to be scared of plagiarism too, and then I stumbled upon this article that basically questioned why you should be afraid of the copier when without you, the person they are copying, they are nothing. Their work is basically to mooch off yours so they’ll never grow. You’ve written this work, you can always write something better. But you can only write something better if there is someone there to point out your flaws so that you can work on them. So yes. Put yourself out there. Push yourself to the limit. Write the best thing you can write. Have people tear it apart. Learn and grow and make mistakes. Keeping your work to yourself won’t do you any favours. And when you’ve learnt the ins and outs that only facing the heat can teach you, then put it all together and present something that will benefit YOU as a person.

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I might try this later, thank you.

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It’s suspiciously like you’ve been in my head these past few weeks.

The way I worry over this sometimes, you’d think my life hinged on it.

Thank you so much for replying!

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A very long marathon from the looks of it

Hard pass on this, but thank you for the reassurance. I come from a predominantly black nation, so writing black characters has always been natural to me. After discovering racial discourse mainly centered around/in the US, now I seem to view my works through a “people may not even give my book a chance because the mc is black and this is fantasy not contemporary” kind of lens which I unwilling admit may have messed with my mind. Imagining worrying about readership for a book that’s only halfway finished!

If I remember correctly, you’re taking about Native Son by a Richard Wright. I remember having to read it for a board exam and I felt almost the same way you did. I wasn’t on his side after he killed the white girl, but I could almost sympathise with his reasoning. But after killing his girlfriend? Nahhhh. There was no way that was justified. She’d left behind everything for him and the fact she didn’t want to help with his plan in the first place but did so after he talked down her defense just made me angrier. I never touched that book again.

Very much in agreement with you here.

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I have comfort books like this too, so I know how absolutely encouraging they can be. They’re my best form of escapism too, especially the selection I have on Wattpad. It’s like a mental boost of confidence.

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You’re absolutely right on that. Which is what makes it extra frustrating when I still do it. I know it doesn’t help me in the least but my mind can be quite unreasonable.

Thank you for this

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