Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Reading Myself Insecure

I am also over at Burrowers, Books and Balderdash today, talking about writing at NaNo-Speed.

But here...

Know when you read a REALLY GREAT BOOK? You sit in AWWWWW... I used to love that... I would rejoice at the beauty of it... or the elegance... or the perfection.


How DARE I try to classify myself with THIS... What kind of poser am I that I think I can write books? Now THIS... THIS is a book!!!

And you know how when you read a sort of embarrassingly bad book... a book that uses words like embarrassingly and starts with pages of description or pulls a deus ex machina ending? You know how you used to wonder 'how the heck did this get published?'


I've become a far more critical reader since I really got my writing legs under me, which in a lot of ways is too bad. I still enjoy books, but anymore there is such a pile of FEELINGS with it.


Do you ever read things that make you feel insecure?

(and don't forget to give some love to some OTHER insecure people--the link to the write for insecure writers has the list)


Jessica Bell said...

Oh LOL. Hart, it's always going to be a no win situation. The insecurity is going to be there with every single word. Part of the game. Swallow it with pride!!! I'm sure you're a wonderful writer. PS: I'm really dying to read one of your books!!! Are any out yet?

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I feel like a yo-yo sometimes. I read a book and think, "Wow, I suck as a writer." Then I read another book and think, "Wow, I'm an awesome writer. I can write this . . . or better." It always helps to read book #2 after reading book #1, and then strive to write book #1. :D

Old Kitty said...

When I read a really fab book - I always say I could never ever ever be as talented in a million years ever! Sigh!!

Awwww but you are most NAKED Tart and will soon be published by Disney! Yes you will! :-)

Take care

Liz said...

I am going to admit something right here and now:
I am embarrassingly addicted to a set of books that make me feel BOTH ways at once.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood series by J.R. Ward.
She makes me cringe, roll my eyes and..well, cry. She is the queen of emotional manipulation pulling you into a "world" that is filled with annoying brand names, internal slang (argh) and characters that you end up giving a real sh*t about. I so wish I could do that and get away with it on the scale she has!
But I'm using it as inspiration to create a Fuschia Tun Sisterhood series....seriously.

Jan Morrison said...

Yes, all the time. And it doesn't matter if it is a good book or bad - I'm never sure which way I'm going to feel -superior or in awe - enraged or fired-up. ah well...

Hart Johnson said...

Jessica-not yet! June is the first one scheduled... Gads, it seems like ages, eh?

Stina-I think that's a good plan--you both need something to shoot for, and some proof you are MORE than up to the task!

Oh, Jenny-you can too! Just keep working at it!

Liz-I've read a couple series like that, too. I felt quite a bit that way with the Sword of Truth series.

Jan--too funny!

GigglesandGuns said...

LOL No insecurity, no trying. They come as a pair.
Hart, I've read your work, unless you start from a comatose state I can't imagine wondering how you got published.
I'd kick you in the butt but since you're always naked.....

LynnRush said...

Some people think that about our books. It's inevitable. All we can do is move on. Not everyone will love our books, but we can just keep writing the best darned stories we can. :)

Write on, my friend.

Heather Savage said...

I've got a fave steampunk author, Gail Carriger who makes me want to trade a chunk of my soul for half the wit. And yes, I've read a number of books lately that make me scratch my head. Is there a formula that we should follow to hit that famed NY Times list? Or do we try to just write well? My problem more than insecurity is the fact that editing has apparently ruined my ability to just let the sentences go how someone else wants them to. I have found myself reaching for my pen when- hello- that author isn't my client and doesn't care what I think about his use of that comma. As Monk would say, it's a blessing, and a curse. Happy writing Hart!

L.G.Smith said...

Ugh, yes. I just finished reading The Help. It made all those feelings of inadequacy boil up to the surface. But I'm not writing The Help, I'm writing my book, so all I can do is keep working on it and hope it isn't crap when I'm done. :P

Nicki Elson said...

Oh yeah, poor, poor Stephenie Meyer. She can dry her humiliated tears in wads of cash, right?

I know what you mean about not being able to just bask in a good book the same way I used to. But I do find I can still do this by reading books outside my own genre---which is what I generally prefer anyhow (weird, huh?)

Hart Johnson said...

Mary-well... much of my effort is fueled by stubbornness... that "I'll show THEM" thing... But the insecurity helps a lot with the double checking! And thank you so much! (both for the compliment and for not kicking the naked chick)

Lynn-but i want EVERYONE to like me! Darned strong opinions might be an issue, though... teehee.

Heather-I get that way when I'm in editing mode and I don't even DO it professionally, so I imagine that impulse is HUGE! (love Monk!)

LG-I still need to read that! I really want to. But yes, we are definitely writing in our own genre and voice. Always good to keep in mind.

Hart Johnson said...

Nicki *snort* She really appeals to a certain audience, that's for sure. And honestly, I could have overlooked the writing issues if her heroine had a personality... but she went to the bank with the series... Shows the importance of a really unique twist on an old story.

Michael Offutt said...

I feel insecure all the time. Reading usually helps bolster that feeling. But yeah...sometimes I read something so good that it makes me feel like I don't deserve to be a writer.

Southpaw said...

I've felt all those things too and the more I write the stronger I feel too.

Helena said...

We all read wonderful books that intimidate us as writers, and others suitable only for throwing purposes (paraphrasing Dorothy Parker here). I've read the beginning of Kahlotus and can tell you to be proud of it.

Johanna Garth said...

The more I write the worst it gets.
Maybe when we've achieved "perfection" the feeling will go away...okay so maybe that's not a realistic plan. I guess I'll just have to settle for being an insecure writer.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That last one gets me. What if someone thinks my books are garbage?

Isis Rushdan said...

Great books in my genre make me feel insecure. I always think that I can't compete or measure up. I think I'm stuck with my insecurities, but learning to live with them is getting easier :).

N. R. Williams said...

Reading today has definitely changed for me as for many writers. But occasionally I still find a gem and then I ask, how did s/he achieve this great book? I don't copy them though, just look at the process.
N. R. Williams, Fantasy Author

Anonymous said...

From what I've read of Kahlotus, I don't think you should even allow the thought headroom... besides EVERYBODY does love you because you're naked. x

VR Barkowski said...

Guess I'm weird, but when I read something wonderful, it inspires me to do better rather than incites insecurity. I don't for one second think I can compete with Markus Zusak, but I can learn from him.

When I read a really bad book? It makes me angry. Not because I wonder how it got published, but because I wasted my valuable and very scarce reading time.

Tonja said...

I think it's like sports. You have to start on the bottom. If you work hard and have talent and keep working hard, you will excel regardless of what other people are doing.

Hart Johnson said...

*hugs Michael* You gotta keep the faith. If we keep working, we get better! Especially if we do our due diligence with feedback and such.

Holly-it's true--the more we know, the more we see--how DIFFICULT the good is to accomplish and how many mistakes the other stuff has.

Helena-thank you so much! I have that faith in the Compass Master, too!

Johanna... right then... just achieve perfection *snort* I'll work on that!

Alex-I think there is a handful is that way for every book--I've argued classics with people and some people just don't like stuff, but you are doing great!

Isis-I think that's the trick--that acceptance thing!

Nancy-it's a real joy now that it's more rare, eh? Sort of like studying magic, but we still can't spot the key to the master's tricks.

Marian-thank you so much! I definitely still feel some of that, but at least on that one, it is entered into a process I trust. Hopefully anything that sucks will be spotted by the pros!

VR-LUCKY! I think the great ones hit me more than the bad. It gives me a craving for a greatness I don't think I can achieve.

Tonja-the practice thing really DOES matter... I think though, like with the athlete... there are some people built for this or that... some people, no matter HOW hard they work, won't be Olympic. Others, things come more naturally. And we each have our own 'sport'--I am far more at home with the YA where language is SUPPOSED to be simpler. I can still be elegant with a metaphor or clever with a plot, but the specific word choice is more every day.

Nancy Thompson said...

Yeah, when I read in my genre, like something from say Greg Iles...I feel like a total moron who knows nothing about nothing. He's brilliant!

Funny thing about Twilight. I read that way before I stared writing and I rather enjoyed it. Then I went back and tried to reread it after learning the craft and writing my own novel and it was simply awful! One thing about being a writer, I can't read anything without judging it with a writer's eye.

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

Well, yes. Comparisons are killers. I have to remind myself that these authors also received rejections. The book in my hands went through tedious revisions with a team of book people. It takes time and effort to get published.