There are plenty of reasons to beat yourself down when you scrutinize your own work, but it is absolutely unnecessary. Lighten up.
My first step into the waters of amateur writing left me with a deep sense of insecurity. This insecurity seems to stem not from the criticism of others, but my own fears that my writing is not up to snuff. Having never officially published any of my writings, I was worried that it wouldn't be received well, or not even be published at all, and that my first attempt would also be my last. I am happy to say that this will be my fourth article and most of my insecurity is outweighed by every previous article being published, which surpassed my every expectation for what I call my scribbles. Nonetheless, I find my harsh criticisms of my work attempting to hold me back and keep me from posting anything, so I wanted aspiring writers who suffer from the same thought-obstacles to know that the product is more than worth ignoring the consequences. All you need to do is focus on some simple fundamentals which I'll lead into with this quote that was told to me by James Edwin Gunn, "The perfect story starts by first writing the perfect sentence."
The Simple but Crucial Fundamentals
Before I begin I have to admit in earnest that the word "fundamentals," scares me. I'm not afraid of it because it is longer than six letters, but because the connotations behind it scream that I need to be further educated and qualified to even begin writing, and I have come to find those connotations to be absolutely untrue. For the sake of transparency I am willing to reveal that my education goes no further than a high school diploma and a few weeks in college that I spent mostly conversing with females and LARPing. A lack of experience and formal education should never stop you from or make you feel as if you shouldn't be pursuing your writing goals. Every great writer had to start somewhere, and every writer has chosen to travel a different path than the next.
All notable writers are fully aware that in order to create a wonderful product you must first have a strong understanding of the fundamentals. The foundation of your writing is the most important because even the dullest topics can be made interesting by adhering to these essential principles. These rules and regulations of which I speak cover everything from basic scholastic requirements all the way to ensuring you personalize the energy around your writing. There is nothing worse than reading someone's writing when it is full of spelling and grammar errors, sentence/paragraph flow doesn't make sense, feels impersonal and lacking personality, and can't stick to the topic at hand. When these basic guidelines are adhered to, however, your writing and that of others seems to come together in a way that is not only easy to read, but pleasant and entertaining as well.
Assembling Your Figurative Building Blocks of Writing
Much of my time is spent looking for and developing strategies to negate the insecurities I formulate around my writing process. As mentioned previously, the fundamentals and your understanding of them can help you virtually eliminate any need to feel worried about how your writing will be received. When I first began writing I would have my scribble journal on me at all times and my process appeared to be the endless creation of flow charts. As time went on and I began to scribble more and more in my journal, the process began to simplify until finally I began cranking out writings with very little assembly time required in between each new project. In fact, my greatest writings seem to come from spontaneous inspiration that I put little to no forethought into and let the thoughts spill onto the page as they arise within my mind. Spontaneity being my usual muse doesn't stop me from producing more structured writings, however, and even when being spontaneous I follow the basics. When it comes to assembling my building blocks of writing I follow this simple flow process: Topic, pithy title, even pithier subtitles, key points, assemble the order, then hammer away at the keyboard.
A whole heck of a lot of my time is spent reading, listening to audio books, and imbibing in informational podcasts for the sole purpose of studying the way others present information. In lieu of a formal, higher education I have found these mediums to be the best way for me to learn the finer nuances of writing. These finer nuances include all the fundamentals as well as learning the pitfalls of the personalities required to pursue endeavors such as writing.
Recognizing Your Boons and Banes
It doesn't matter who you are and how much you work at becoming the all-perfect, all-knowing super writer we all wish we could be, we all have our boons and our banes. More important than overcoming your banes, then building upon your boons, is your ability to recognize them both for yourself proactively. All too often we find ourselves correcting our shortcomings and our work after receiving harsh criticisms, or losing a large portion of our audience because of a minor slip up in professionalism or another fault we considered negligible prior to the consequences. This is all avoidable by taking the time to reread your work and asking yourself whether or not you hit the nail on the head with it, and then taking the time to refine that work to be more accommodating to the audience and their preferences. A rough world full of performative cruelty and insensitivity does not mean we need to take part in any of it, in fact I have always found it to be more attractive to stand out in spite of it. Taking the time to stand out from the crowd, presenting things in such a way that your words are taken in like a crisp breath of fresh air, always pays off in the end. Ensure that when you receive the recognition you deserve that you remain humble, because even those writings we spent hours on and feel are perfect could have appealed to others in a different light. This isn't to say you need to appeal to everyone, or even a broad audience, but it is to say that your greatest bane is your cockiness and conversely your most important boon is your ability to write even more from a different perspective on the same topics.
Write? Write. WRITE!
I focused quite a bit on the fundamentals of being a great writer so as to assure amateurs like myself that it really isn't all that daunting as it seems. There is another equally important topic I have not touched on yet that is central to your success as a writer, WRITING! It is a simple notion to find your feet concreted in, not outside the realm of understanding for any individual, that you just don't have the time to write because of your process having so many stipulations and the insecure thoughts pecking at the back of your mind making you want to give up or not even begin to try; I am here to tell you that all that is okay. You don't need to write every day, every week, or even every month. Write when you have the passion for it arise, and don't hold yourself to your own unrealistic expectations as far as how much needs to be written and how frequently you need to write it. One amazing piece that took a year to produce is worth more than one-thousand mediocre pieces posted multiple times per day. The most important and amazing point that sets you apart from others is that you are writing; to be writing at all and working hard on that passion piece it took you a month or more to convince yourself to write is divine. Never let those little excuses that grow like a mold on your creativity hold you back from writing, from that passion you have hidden under all the trifles of daily life.
Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 11, 2020:
@Randy: I'll be sure to keep that in mind, Randy. I look forward to gawking at more of your banter in the forums.
Randy Godwin from Southern Georgia on February 10, 2020:
It's really not this complicated, Kyler. Simply write what you know.
Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on February 09, 2020:
Be certain to get the 'Ravenfeast' book published by New Generation. I [published it through someone else first and they made a hash of it. The other six were published by New Generation as well. There is an amount of early mediaeval superstition - it's mostly set in England from 1066-72 - and 'otherworldly' activity, shape-shifting and in the last book, "Fenman" a woman metamorphoses on her death into a white doe.
You have been warned!
Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 08, 2020:
Sounds like I need to start from the beginning as they'll all be riveting, and also refer your series to some friends. I have many friends dipping into the whole "viking" trend going around and these will be right up their alley.
I'm happy that you happened upon my writings and we have been able to share this ongoing dialogue. It has been really enriching so far, I hope it continues.
Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on February 08, 2020:
Strictly speaking, the first, the eponymous 'Ravenfeast' kicks off with the Norse invasion of England along the North Sea coast, into the Humber to a place called Riccall downriver from York on the River Ouse. We ;join' King Harold on his way north to take the Norsemen (under their king Harald Sigurdsson, 'Hardradi'. There are three pages in the 'Swordflash' series on here, as well as 'Godwin's Clan' that cover the era. The books were written in sequence but can be read individually.
Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 07, 2020:
Would you advise beginning from the first book, or is there something that will grab me elsewhere and have me running back to hear the beginning? The only historical pieces I've ever really taken interest in were centered in WWII. I wanted to see what the city of Marino, in Italy, had going on at the time as my great grandparents are of the Marinello family and immigrated to America at the time.
Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on February 07, 2020:
Never thought of it, to be honest Kyler. Then again things are different between here and the US..Usually these sort of jobs are farmed out to graduates or under-graduates... you know, "Jobs for the boys".
Thanks for the tip though.
I've written seven books, historical novels. You might find them on Amazon in the Us. They come under the heading "Ravenfeast Saga". They're out of print now but there are second-hand copies on sale. They're also on Kindle. Savour the read.
Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 06, 2020:
@Alan: Yes, I'm quite rusty but with time I'll get the hang of blending poetry and prose once more. Need to shake off the rust and dust of bitterness first. Thank you for the words of encouragement.
Have you looked into working with game developers? I noticed you write historical pieces, and game developers are always looking for writers who are active in their communities.
Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on February 06, 2020:
A lot more prosaic than that, Kyler. A lot! More like journalism than poetry i'd say. Still, keep practising and you never know, they might yet have you on stage to collect your Pullitzer Prize for figurative poetry or something like that.
Me I'll keep my nose to the grindstone and maybe earn some more pin money than of late.
Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 06, 2020:
@Paul: Thank you so much, wonderful comments like yours stir my passions and keep me writing!
Paul K Francis from east coast,USA on February 06, 2020:
Your article is full of useful ideas and it is also enjoyable. Usefulness gets into the brain better when an article is fun to read. Thanks.
Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 02, 2020:
@Alan R Lancaster: That perfect wave you've been waiting all day for in teeth-gritting anticipation and the force behind it pushing the anticipation out as you pick up speed, replacing the anticipation with an invigorating excitement. The thick, but gentle spray begins to cloud your eyes as if tears of joy were beginning to well forcing you to blink them away when the barrel begins to cross over your head. You pick up speed to get your in-and-out, now noticing the sunset shining through the back of the wave as if it were on fire. To finish with a flare you cut into the break and perform an el rollo, like a ballerina gracefully performing a tour en l'air and ride out the whitewash with a grin and chuckle of delight....
Not sure if that is how you wanted me to take it but at least I tried. My auditory and visual processing disorder makes writing, and reading, very difficult. My entire inspiration for writing this was my limitations I hope to overcome. Perhaps I should add a, "Ensure you take into account the advice of others, as well as your own," section.
Thank you for the input, Alan.
Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on February 02, 2020:
Write what you know about, what you like. It's said no man is an island. Our interests are bound to be shared by hundreds, if not thousands of others. Never mind knowing about syntax etc. Some of those who know about these grammatical niceties write crashingly boring books or articles. Some so-called masters such as Will Shakespeare wrote at a time when few could read, many bragged about not being able to. His readers were not critical about writing style, as were readers of Dickens - although Dickens did do his own research - and Agatha Christie, whose books tended to be picked up by Twenties socialites who only read to get through their boredom between dances and boyfriends. My favourites were Mark Twain, Jack London and M R James, who knew how to scare people. Twain and London, as was James, had great perception, observed well...
That's your cue to writing. The grammar falls into place as you carry on. You get better at it. Describe a country lane after sunset, when every rustling leaf, every broken twig gives you shivers down your spine... Or strolling down a narrow alley in gas-lit streets, with shadows that seem to develop lives of their own with the flickering flames... Take it from there, Kyler. .
Kyler J Falk (author) from California on February 02, 2020:
@Bushra Iqbal: Thank you, Bushra, it is nice to know that at least one person is finding it helpful other than myself.
Anya Ali from Rabwah, Pakistan on February 02, 2020:
Well said! Thank you for posting this article here. I found it very useful.