Frustration & Self Loathing

I sometimes find myself wanting to write and I already have a thought in mind, an insight, an opinion, or something else along those lines. I roll with it, start writing, and… it doesn’t come out right. Then I try to fix it. I play with the words, rearranging, shuffling the flow of it around, and ultimately over-analyzing. Usually I keep going around in circles until I’ve had enough. At that point I decide to leave it alone for a while and come back to it later.

Fresh eyes, some distance from it… you know, gain some perspective. It’s maddening though, when I come back to drafts and notes over and over only to be stuck in the same cycle of dissatisfaction.

That’s when I really start to get pissed with myself.

The self loathing starts to creep in which, in and of itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the pressure can only build so much before it finds a way out… and to great effect most of the time. It’s just… it always seems like a continuation of my habitual inconsistency and unreliability. A sacrifice of quantity for the sake of quality and I end up relying on whatever talent I have, all the while failing to build much momentum.

In the long run I think that limits the quantity of quality work I can put out there. There’s a saying I keep thinking of that relates well to what I’m saying here…

“If you are not willing to look stupid, nothing great is ever going to happen to you.”
~Gregory House

It seems like I remember that coming from someone else, but whatever.
*shrugs* I’m a fan of the show anyways.

The point is, that’s all there is to it. I know it, and on some level so do you. That’s about the only answer I have for it. To throw caution to the wind and take any residual insecurities, fears, or doubts for a bit of a ride. It’s one of the only ways I know to cause a lull in the frustration and self loathing; prove it wrong. Bite the bullet and put yourself out there. Pull the trigger and see what happens. Let the chips fall where they may.

It’s only a temporary respite, but…

As far as I know it’s just about the only one there is. I kind of forget that from time to time, caught up in my own over-thinking and perfectionist tendencies, but I know from firsthand experience that it works. It’s effective, and the only other alternative doesn’t really seem worth living for so when I realize I’m sabotaging myself… most of the time I try to fix it. Oddly enough, sometimes I do that by talking about it, writing it out (e.g. this post).


(Originally posted here on May 16th, 2014)

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16 thoughts on “Frustration & Self Loathing

  1. I’ve been struggling with a rewrite, in part, because I was pretty happy with what I had written overall, but there was this one facet that kept nagging at me. No matter which way I come at it, I hate anything new I’ve written trying to fix it. As writers I think we struggle with the idea in our head and the time it takes to get it on the page. I’m trying to find fellow writers I can bounce ideas around with, and maybe this is something you can do too, when you’re really frustrated, and even when you’re not. 🙂 Good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve got a point on finding fellow writers… I’m not a very sociable person, generally speaking, but I definitely can’t deny the benefits of socializing with like-minded people. Especially when it comes to something like writing. It’s certainly something I should keep in mind 🙂 .

      Good luck to you too ;).

      Like

  2. I think we all at one time or another suffer from this as writers. There was a time not to long ago that I stopped reading what I had written completely due to the self doubt. This didn’t do any good. My point is that I don’t think there is a way out of t this that is sane and easy. I was lucky and found something that I loved writing above all my insecurities. I still have them but the writing became more important. Do what works and write what comes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Do what works and write what comes.”

      Amen to that. I couldn’t agree with you more on finding something that’s strong enough to over-ride the insecurities, doubts, and fears 🙂 . I think that’s really all we can do if we hope to get anywhere in life, be it in writing or in anything else.

      Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂 . I appreciate it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Perfectionism is the enemy of creativity. Perfectionism stops me before I even start so I need to put this aside and treat writing as a skill to develop through practice. It’s building a house one board at a time. I think anyone who works at writing gets better the more they do it. But writing is unique in that so much of it is done in isolation and the closeness to the work makes perspective difficult. I understand completely what you are saying. I know some really competent professional writers who say the first draft of anything they write is terrible. But they hammer away at it until it is not. This gives me hope.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s kind of why it always scares me when I write something and think, ‘damn, that’s actually pretty perfect’. Makes everything after that absolutely miserable ’cause it doesn’t seem to live up to what I just wrote. Like you said though… a lot of people say their first drafts are bad. I think we’re in the same boat on that 🙂 it gives reason for a little hope.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If I was a perfectionist, I would never have had children. The time would have never been right, nor the circumstances. I would never have bought my home, there is always something that needs fixing. I would never have hit the submit button, uploading my work for the first time either. Perfection is blinding, paralyzing, and most of all completely overrated. Flaws add character.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Couldn’t agree more with your sentiment. I sometimes hate writing due to the agony of not being able to express the “brilliant” insights I’m having in my head on paper or screen. Once I get going with it finally though I love it more than anything else which is why I keep returning. Why we all do I guess! 😉

    Hey, thanks for the follow by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think the process itself is kind of addictive to… it’s maddening, but at the same time it’s like a puzzle begging to be solved. How can I explain this in a way that truly captures what’s in my head (and heart)? Being able to get answers to that question is, as you say, probably why we return to it.

      “Hey, thanks for the follow by the way.”

      You’re welcome 🙂 , loved your last post on Charlie Hebdo.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I go back sometimes and think – ‘what a load of crap’ on posts I have made public. It is like intentionally forcing yourself to leave the dirty dishes JUST because they make you crazy seeing them in a shambles. Perfectionisms worst enemy is chaos… intentional chaos. Drives it out with vigour!(eventually) But it creeps in every corner trying to consume.
    I just love what you have written here Sir – relate to it wholeheartedly. That quote… if we are so scared of making a fool and not living up to expectations of ourselves (or others) – we do – jack shit.
    With the writing – yeah – I have so many drafts… those ideas come out eventually in other places into other writing often. It is processing our ideas – and ONE day we write a freaking epic post that ties it together. I think. I hope! 🙂 But the titbits keep us going yeah?
    Sorry for the epistle – refreshing place to be after all the drama! I like to write – but dealing with a lot of people sometimes is…
    Keep writing – your work is good Sir (sure I have said that before actually – somewhere?!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the kind words 😀 , I’m glad it’s relatable. And no worries about your ‘epistle’ haha, I’m not always good at responding to comments as fast as I would prefer to but I enjoy reading them. I think the tidbits, for me, sometimes adds to the frustration… but yeah, in a way even that keeps me going. Adds to the need to get it “right”… lol, whatever that is. And when it’s not adding to any internal pressure, it does tend to lead to some pretty satisfying posts (or essays, or stories, depending) because sooner or later the ones that matter to me end up coming together. In fact that’s one reason I try not to worry to much about it; if I couldn’t keep with it or it wouldn’t come out right before I got sick of it, either it wasn’t *that* important to write out or I’ll end up coming back to it.

      Bottom line, one way or another I’ll get my satisfaction out of it 🙂 .

      Like

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