I’ve been trying to write my story for off and on 2 years, I have characters, situations, plot, background etc., but, at moment they sit before me like a child’s dot to dot without numbers, I don’t know where to start to join them up.

Then I was sitting this afternoon staring out the window of my office when I had a moment of clarity, it suddenly hit me, maybe I can’t write. Let me explain, I love reading.
I love Rugby League and will sit in the freezing cold and rain for hours to enjoy this sport, I love Moto GP (stick with it the point is coming), I love Klimt, I love eating at the michelin star restaurant near us.
BUT I don’t think I can play like Kevin Sinfield,ride like Valentino Rossi, paint like Gustav Klimt or cook like the Chef at Seaham Hall.
SO, why do I think I can write like, Hal Duncan, Howard Blum, Alfred Bester Neil Gaiman etc. etc.
:unamused: :blush: :confused: :question:

Remember that you only ever see Neil Gaiman’s final drafts. I’ll bet his first drafts don’t read like Neil Gaiman either, and I suspect he has a drawer full of junk that he hopes no one ever finds. (Unless he’s already burned it.)

Van Gogh’s early notebooks, before he learned to draw, are pretty terrible, too.

In order to learn to write well, you have to be willing to write badly.


Good point.
Maybe I’m just looking another excuse, like “I must pick that bit of fluff off the carpet”, or “I’ll just make a fresh coffee”, or “It’s too nice to stay in & write, I’ll just have a little walk”. If I actually sat down and wrote this thing that is going round and around in my head, it might clear things for a fresh approach…

Right! MAC on, Scrivener booted,…"oh look at that thread on the carpet beside the door… :smiling_imp: :open_mouth:

That`s a relief!! :open_mouth:

I don’t know vic-k. Based on that you, feather duster and I should be giving Mr King and Ms Rowlings instructions on how to create a decent story.

OHHHH you mean she wasn’t talking about bad grammar? We really aren’t ahead? I guess we should just stay here under the table.

Because you can, eventually. These people don’t pop out of somebody’s womb and write The Best Story Ever just like that, and neither will you.
I firmly believe that what most people call ‘talent’ comprises
a) a need, a desire, a will
b) the actual doing.
You don’t get good at writing, drawing, painting by just wanting it and then sitting back waiting for ‘it’ to happen. You have to do, you have to practise, you have to write that crappy novel. If you don’t do, you’ll never improve yourself and become that excellent writer you clearly dream of.
You also have to allow yourself to do badly, to write crap, to create plotholes and nasty characters.
You’ve already come halfway: you have that need, that desire, that will. Now you only need to bludgeon that inner critic unconscious and get started with the actual writing :smiley:

You can do it!


Tanja’s right. Like every other worthwhile endeavor, writing consists of 10 percent inspiration, and 90 percent perspiration. Connecting the dots isn’t going to be as easy or as fun as creating the dots, but once you determine to do it, you’ll get it done! You will! Seriously! :smiley:

A quote from the American sports writer Red Smith: “Writing is easy. Just stare at the typewriter until beads of blood form on your forehead.” (Several variant forms of the quote are around, but that’s the one I remember from reading one of his articles about a hundred years ago.


Right, I’ve finished CCNA course and I’m going to set about this story, even if it turns out to be the biggest pile ever to see light of day, it’ll be mine and it might help me move on, thanks for all the advice /encouragement

I think you’ve already gotten great advice.

Every great writer starts by writing great amounts of crap. Every great race horse was once a wobbly-legged colt. Every great hockey player fell countless times learning to skate. Every great artist once couldn’t color in the lines of a coloring book.

Are you ever going to sit down and whip out a blockbuster novel? Not in one draft. I don’t think even King does that. If you are new to writing novels, not in 2,3, or 4. Maybe you won’t turn out anything that you can sell with the first book. But if you love to write, keep at it and you never know. Will you be a Neil Geiman, Stephen King, or Rowling? No. Never. But neither will King ever be Hemmingway, Rowling will never be Koontz, Meyers will never be Straub. They are the writer that they are – and one day, so will you.

Write what you love. Write what you know in your mind and heart. The rest will come - over time.

Knocked together nearly 400 words this afternoon - an office of my own now means I can spend a bit time slacking off :smiling_imp: – writing’s already not the “guilty pleasure” I had when I should have been studying or working but a cathartic release :smiley:

It doesn’t work this way. This is only doubt and very normal (it won’t disappear even after your n-th best-seller, as I am in the happy position to reveal). People who really can’t write don’t have a sudden insight that they can’t - they simply find themselves one days having stopped doing it. Because a lot of other things are more promising and more fun and everybody’s day has only 24 hours.

Indeed. As David Gerrold outlines in his book Worlds of Wonder [1]:

“Your first million words are for practice. They don’t count. Remember that”



If it’s the first story you’ve written, you probably will think it’s the biggest pile ever to see light of day.

But, keep on going. It’s a skill like any other, the more you practise the better you get!

And speaking of practise, I’m far too long out of practise and it’s bothering me. Must write. Must work. Aw hell, I need a break from work anyway…

The only limits we have in life are the ones we impose upon ourselves.

Except for the ones that life impose upon us.

In my experience, the people who adamantly believe that everything that flows from their pen or their keyboard is glorious, God-kissed art are the people who shouldn’t be allowed near a pen or a keyboard. To mangle a cliche, they can’t write their way out of a paper bag!

So, if you can look at something you wrote, and coldly, dispassionately say to yourself, “this sucks,” then you are either a good writer already, or you have the potential to become a good writer, and you should not be discouraged.

In the meantime, I have a question about this:

Does this exchange illustrate a rift between a typical U.S. viewpoint (Wock’s) versus a typical U.K. viewpoint (vic-k’s)? I wonder, because I often feel my fellow Americans go out believing that life should be viewed through rose-colored glasses, and thinking, “life doesn’t have to suck,” when people from other parts of the world might, more realistically, assert that “life sure can suck!”

Historically, The New World has been where people go to get away from the suckiness of life back home. War, religious persecution, famine on one side vs. Land of Opportunity on the other.

Even now, US life sucks much less than in many other parts of the world, and that American optimism is part of why the US economy remains dynamic despite the best efforts of our policymakers and citizens.

The question is why Europeans continue to believe that life sucks even though, for most Europeans, it sucks less now than at any time in history.


Ive been saying this for more years than I care to remember. Everybody has some kind of limitation(s), to one extent or another, to cope with. They can be emotional, psychological, physical, sexual, intellectual, financial or geographical and God love em, but some folk have far more than others to put up with, but, put up with it they damn well do, and in many cases, admirably so! However, if, within the parameters those constraints/limitations impose upon us, we strive to do our best, when called upon to do so, in any endeavour of consequence, then we have gloriously celebrated our potential as a human being.

There is much to be said for being prepared to, push, sensibly, at our limitations, and much to be said for knowing when to stop pushing.

Im afraid I would consider it extremely short sighted and tunnel visioned, for anyone one capable of engaging in serious discourse on these forums, not to be aware, that Life, can and does impose serious and insurmountable obstacles to frustrate and impede many, many people endeavouring to achieve. We can choose to push it to those very limits that Life/cicumstances dictate. To do our best in fact. The limits that we ‘can’, set are those at any stage thats less than ‘our best’.

I dont think my original statement is indicative of any particular regional philosophical point of view. Im just stating a simple fact of life, and one that is relevant no matter where we live on the planet. Its only the severity of the challenges, influenced by geography that are different. In many, many cases, for those people life…sucks!!

Whether Life ‘does’, or ‘shouldnt’, suck, is a different matter altogether, and one I shall return to at a more civilised hour. But Ill just say this before I go: show me the most 'can do’, of Wall Streets movers and shakers, and Ill show you a human being with limitations!
Good Night,
Take care,


I think it is a regional view as long as you consider that the region covers everything that is not North America above the Rio Grande. This view is quite understandable in view of
• Spanish inquisition
• The entire 18th century
• Every European revolution
• The entire time of existence of the Balkan states
• Everything in the eastern bloc post WWII.
• Germany between WWI and WII

Over here the most tragic things that we have had to deal with ON OUR SOIL is
• 9/11
• Oklahoma City
• Civil War
• Various protest surrounding Vietnam (Kent)
• A few cilvil rights riots.
While each of these are very significant how do they really stack up against say… Hitler’s Germany?

I believe a little pragmatic cynicism is ingrained in the rest of the world. It is more a point of survival than a “bad attitude”. [size=75]begin joke[/size] Otherwise you are just a bunch of whiny jerks. [size=75]end joke[/size]