I'm not sure if this all really makes sense, but I'm trying really hard to participate in nanowrimo this year, because I've been trying to write this story for forever. The problem is is that I always feel like everything I write is stupid and terrible. I've been made fun of my entire life for my little stories I come up with, and so I'm too self conscious to ever ask anyone for their opinion of my writing. I feel like the few I DO ask are just pandering to me. Do you have any advice?
First, it sounds like you need a hug.
Second, I can’t speak to your abilities personally, obviously, because I don’t know who you are, but I can guarantee you that every single writer in the world (or at least a significant number, both published and aspiring) has that voice of doubt in their head at least some of the time. I know I do. Writing is weird. It is simultaneously very personal and very public. It’s a weird mix of ego and terror (”Use your time to read my thing! Omg, maybe the thing is horrible!” Sound familiar?). Of course, it’s hard to put yourself out there. It sounds like you’ve had a particularly rough go, with people making fun of you and disparaging what you do.
Look, those people are jerks. I’m sorry to say it, but there are a lot of jerks out there. Who knows why they’re picking on you, but they are. Maybe they’re jealous because they can’t think up stories on their own. Maybe they’re sad and lashing out because they want other people to feel as sad as they do. Maybe they’re just the kind of jerks who pull wings off flies for fun. The thing is, those jerks? Their stuff is not about you, not really. People who pick on other people are doing it because of their own issues.
Unfortunately, there’s a bit of that in the way our own brains pick on us, too. When you feel like everything you write is stupid and terrible, I suspect there’s other stuff happening under the surface.
For me, that voice comes out of things like: am I just being a showoff? Why do I think I’m so smart/clever/talented/funny? Look at how other people have already succeeded and I’m just a big lump who can’t put my money where my mouth is. Who do I think I am anyway? Everything is trite or overdone or melodramatic or recycled and why do I even bother?? Ugh, I’m so arrogant and demanding and and and and…
Most of that’s not really about writing. Not really. It’s about growing up an overachiever who got a lot of praise, but, as an adult, isn’t sure that praise was warranted or is afraid that praise was wasted and isn’t going to amount to anything. Weird psychological crap. Brains, man. Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.
Look, you wrote some nice clean sentences up there. In the short span of a tumblr ask, you told me a little story. You did! And it made me feel feelings and want to engage with you. And that’s what writing is. Telling stories that engage you (first and foremost) and others. What I’m saying is that I am almost certain, based on one little tumblr ask, that your writing is most definitely not “stupid and terrible.”
(This got real long, whoops!)