October 24, 2011

From Discouragement to Encouragement

I'm currently nearing the halfway point in Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor and need to get my buns in gear because Oct. 28th* is rapidly approaching. I'm not going to say too much (read: practically nothing) about this book because I hope to do the review of it on Friday, but what I will say is this:

This is one of those books that makes me realize how much my WIP blows chunks at the moment. For real.

I keep reminding myself that my story is allowed to suck right now because it's only in its infancy, its earliest stages. It still needs all the fine-tuning and ironing out of wrinkles. But knowing all this in my head still doesn't erase the nagging sensation that my story will never get to the point of awesome.

I'm sure all of us have read books that we thought could have been so much better. Stories like these, while not terrible, buoy us because they make us think that we might actually have a shot. This is not one of those stories for me. This is that story that makes me want to go back to bed for days with the covers pulled over my head. This is one of those stories that makes me want to go all QWERTY face on my keyboard, particularly in the vicinity of the delete button. This is one of those stories that almost makes me wish I'd never had the audacity to think that I could write something anybody would want to read.


Rather than allowing these feelings to take root and suck the motivation right out of me, I'm choosing to use them to inspire better writing. And why the heck not, right? It just means the bar is set higher, which can only be considered a good thing.

How about you? Have you ever read a book that made you feel like a blibbering idiot in your own writing or worse, made you want to 'pack it up, pack it in'**?

*Review day for Daughter of Smoke and Bone as part of Tracey Neithercott's Fall Book Club.
**Lyrics from pretty much the coolest song ever: Jump Around by House of Pain. Oh yeah!


  1. Yes, definitely. But then, just as you say, I turn that despair around and use it as fuel. I study those books that challenge me to be better and take notes (literally) on what I think it is that makes the story So Freaking Amazing and try to learn from it. It helps, believe it or not. :)

  2. Absolutely. I try to tune out the comparisons to my own writing, focus on the wonderful reading experience, and get it to push me to work that much harder to improve as a writer.

  3. Uh, yes, I have read a book that "made me feel like a blibbering idiot in your own writing or worse, made me want to 'pack it up, pack it in'" and it was called DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE! :) Others that have made me questions my skillz: JELLICOE ROAD, THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE, and LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR. Greatness to aspire too, right? :)

  4. I'm loving the beauty of the prose; her word choices are just awesome. And we definitely have to take the positive view- reading better work makes us better writers :)

  5. Absolutely. I just started querying my Novel... and then I read LIKE MANDARIN. And I started to wonder if I should write the agents I just queried and say "I thought I was ready to query but now I'm not so sure...!" :)

  6. Glad I'm not the only one who feels this way :) I am just so in love with the way Laini Taylor writes. Definitely something to aspire to.

  7. All the time. And I try not to get defeated. I do what you do - turn it into inspiration. That works most of the time.

    Great post!


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