Writing Fiction: You vs the Ugly Things

Writing fiction can be an enjoyable delight, like a sunset blushing the sky. But it can also come with a prickly shadow, or have clouds rolling in, threatening a storm. Apart from all the technical worries like chapter length or character names, there’s also these monsters that will climb out of the darkness, threatening you to give up:

You can’t please everyone Monster. Like with any form of art, you can’t please everyone. Philip Pullman got backlash on “His Dark Materials” trilogy because some people thought he was anti-god. Naysayers will be at your doorstep the moment you publish to the masses.

There’s always someone better than you Monster. Some of you might feel like you’re not as good as this person or that person. A TV show did your idea better. A book is similar. You will never be published. Imposter syndrome. You are just a copycat of a copycat. Nothing is good. Everything sucks.

All the ideas are bad, so you can’t continue Monster. You might be stressed out when you can’t write a single word that day. Agonizing over that darn blank page or the continuation of that sentence plaguing you for days.

Apart from those monsters are the gremlins. They are the little stresses and worries that come from having a wonderful artistic mind, sometimes one wishing too much for perfection. A certain world-building aspect, bugging you for days. You have to make it make sense in real-world science or you CANNOT move on. And why do all the characters in your fantasy world speak the same language? Certainly, someone will point it out and the world will stop. And everything has to be perfect from draft one.

All these worries, stresses, monsters, and gremlins get you down so much that you might think that you should give up.

Just give up.

BUT WAIT! Hold up there, buddy. I have news. You are not the only one going through this. Every single writer on this spun-too-much-so-it’s-kinda-oval Earth goes through similar things. You are not alone.

You vs You can’t please everyone Monster

We are all linking arms and ploughing through these uglies, trying to get to the other side. You can’t please everyone? Who could ever please everyone?  J. K. Rowling, George R. R. Martin, Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Robert A. Heinlein, heck, not even Shakespeare could please everyone.

When you say “oh my god!” you are not happy with God. Not even God can please everyone.

But someone likes them. I don’t know about God, but the mortals, someone likes them and that makes them feel good. It reminds them that this was why they continue on writing. This is why they don’t give up.

Someone likes you. Kick that monster.

You vs There’s always someone better than you Monster

There’s always someone better than you? Imagine running a race and everyone was first place. Impossible? Exactly. How can we strive to be better if there’s nothing to strive to? It’s good that there’s someone better than us. We can learn from them. We are so lucky that we can. But do know that it’s okay to feel envious. Use that envy as your tool to push yourself forward.

Kick that monster, but also tame it. Make it your friend to better yourself as a writer.

You vs All the ideas are bad, so you can’t continue Monster

All the ideas are bad? Can’t continue? Remember when you decided to start writing a story? How excited you were? Maybe you dreamed about seeing your book in a bookstore? But you won’t see it there if you stop now! And your ideas are not bad. Maybe not all of them are polished, but they aren’t bad.

Go forth and write your story with confidence to one day make your dreams come true. It’s a long process, but you’ll get there. Kick that monster!

You vs The worries and gremlins

What about all those worries? All those little gremlins? They will bug you and bother you, but you will keep getting up. Write 100 words, celebrate. Each word is a step to completion. Came up with a new city name? Congrats! Every little bit of progress, no matter how small, is still progress.

Nudge those little gremlins away. Show them that you can move forward even if they whisper stressful things in your ear.

You can do it. Even if nobody believes in you, I do.

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