What to do when you hate your writing

“I am irritated by my own writing. I am like a violinist whose ear is true, but whose fingers refuse to reproduce precisely the sound he hears within.”
Gustave Flaubert

This quote rings true for me, and probably for you too. What you’re thinking to say and what you actually write or type down often doesn’t match, and after many attempts at synchronization, you finally throw your papers in the air, break your pencil and cry – “I am finished with writing!”

But somehow, you always find yourself up again at 4 AM the next morning. Doing what? Writing. If you’re a born writer, or at least one who is motivated from deep down within, you’ll find that almost no feeling can tear you away from your projects. They become an integral part of you.

Now…about this business of hating what you write. Or being irritated by it. How do you overcome that? Simple. Face the dragon head on. Say to yourself, “I don’t like how this sentence/paragraph/chapter is coming out. Then go wild in your attempt to fix it. Don’t fret yourself with trying to keep in line with all the rules of language: just write.

Try different constructions. Change the sentence order. Add new words and take away words that really don’t fit.

Shorten or lengthen the paragraph, read it aloud to actually hear how it flows and be inspired to change anything that doesn’t sound quite right.

Think about what you want to accomplish with the chapter, and make sure that the beginning, body and end all contribute to making that goal. As you edit, remember this: if it isn’t necessary to the reader’s full understanding and appreciation of the piece, leave it out. The less superfluous material, the better.

And the less you’ll be irritated with your own writing. I should mention, though, that in most cases, you will never be completely satisfied with your pieces. If you follow your innermost inclinations, you will edit and re-write and re-edit the thing until your dying day. Bad idea, in my humble opinion.

If you write about something you love, putting passion and energy into it, and do your very best (and yes, that means brushing up on grammar rules…) there WILL be people out there who will love what you write.

You may not be the next William Shakespeare, but you will be YOU. You will write with YOUR voice, YOUR style and leave YOUR foot…er, I mean inkprint, on the world.