Weekend Coffee Share: I Need a Sounding Board

Good morning. 

I meant for you to come yesterday, but there was a lot going on. But I’m glad you’re here. And to be frank, I need your ears on this one.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you about my latest short story. Yes, my Valentine story was put on hold for another story, which is the issue. It’s not the story, per se. It’s the reasoning behind it. I wrote it to please someone. The person gave me a setting, a barber shop, and I went for it. I wrote it to show that I could. I’m currently writing the second draft for someone else to cast it out. 

This is a recurring issue. Letting someone else tell me what I can and can’t write. Kind of like the “write what you know” syndrome. I don’t think this person understands that I want to write something other than General Fiction. But therein lies another problem. Because that quote is so ingrained in me, I’m paralyzed to try something else. I worry that because I haven’t read in genres outside my realm, I don’t know the rules. I fear I’ve lost my imagination. I feel trying a new genre will not go over very well with the people who know me. 

I shared this dilemma with one of my Facebook writing groups. Two things resonated with me from the responses. One, I struggle with confidence. I don’t have confidence in myself, so I let others choose what I should write. It kind of makes sense. Lately, I’ve created Twitter polls on what I should write and how certain things should play out. Instead of listening to the story, I listen to outside forces. That can only lead to dissatisfaction. 

Second, in order to overcome the lack of confidence, I need to write the story the way I want. This sounds easier said than done to me. I have an issue of making things more complicated than it has to be. But they’re right. If it’s in my heart and soul to write that fantasy story or science-fiction story, then I need to jump in. Take that leap of faith. It’s the only way I’m going to grow as a writer.

Thank you for listening and being patient with me. I know it’s a lot to take in. I hope the weekend has gone well for you all.

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Author: G. R. McNeese

I'm originally from Illinois, currently residing in Georgia. I graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing. I am blessed with a supportive wife and family.

8 thoughts on “Weekend Coffee Share: I Need a Sounding Board”

  1. I think the writing comes off best when you write what you’re inspired to write, but it is difficult if you want to be published. Another factor here is branding. You write a mystery and then supposedly you always have to write mysteries. I like to write, and have written, across a number of genres including “literary.” I recently read advice that said, choose carefully what your first published novel will be because you’ll be writing in that genre forever. I try not to be ruled by that, but it “lurks” while I’m writing. If I like a writer, I will pick up their latest book whatever the genre/subject because I know they are a GOOD writer, but perhaps I’m alone in this.

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  2. Way to go, putting yourself out there. It’s hard to be vulnerable like this. I admire that. Forget what other people expect and decide what you expect of yourself. Beyond that, just write. Write until you are happy with what you’ve written and the “others” will come around to you. I have faith that you can do it!

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  3. Thank you for sharing George. Your truth is right here on the page. I understand about ‘write what you know’ and that’s why I write mostly non-fiction, but I also have story ideas that come to me from left field, like a hotel murder. Sure I work in a hotel, but I have no clue how to write a murder novel, but I went with it and it was fun to let creativity take over and see what happens. It’s fun to work on something that is outside of our box and that’s the beauty of creativity, let it unfold as it needs to.
    Don’t let others tell you what to write (unless, it’s your job, like I have to write responses to guest comment cards, something like that.). Write what you are passionate about and have fun with it.
    Have you read Stephen King’s, On Writing? It’s a great inspirational book on writing. I like his quote, to be a good writer you have to write and read a lot. I went through about twenty of suggested books and they were not genres I normally read, but it was fun to read other people’s work and I still randomly pick up books at the library that I never think of reading and I find myself enjoying them.
    Have fun with your writing!

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    1. Thank you for the comments, Marion.
      Confidence is definitely an issue, as I stated on my blog. I doubt myself too much. I question whether or not I should be a writer. I’m so indecisive about everything. I am trying to get better at it. It’s not easy. I think on top of reading craft books, I may need to invest in a book on confidence.

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      1. I’m re-reading Jen Sincero’s You are a Badass – How to stop doubting your greatness and start living an awesome life – can’t get more confident than that 🙂

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  4. WOW I have some of these same fears! I am someone who writes the story, not something to fit into a particular genre. My friends suggest reading in the genre I am writing, and I am like, “gee, another full-time job to add to parenting, writing, and self-promotion”. UGH
    I am with you…we just need to tell the stories we have been given to tell and let the chips fall where they may.

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  5. I think first thing you have to do is to enjoy your writing. No matter whether it’s good or bad, no matter if it pleases anyone else. If you don’t enjoy it, if you don’t love your story, you might not be able to find your confidence because you’ll always doubt yourself. I’m not always confident that what I write (or wrote) is good. But I love my stories and that keeps me going. And if someone doesn’t like it? Can’t please everyone.
    As for not knowing other genres’ rules: start reading. You’ll discover the formats and the rules, and you’ll also get the taste whether that specific genre is for your, whether it’s something you want to write.

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