Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Change of Course

Something has just come to my attention - well, it's actually been knawing at me for the past year - but only now I think I should face the truth.

I am a terrible writer.

I have somehow convinced myself since I was 8 years old that I am good at writing and have talent in this area.

I don't. I never did.

I liked writing, a lot. I had a lot of stories that I wrote (though never completed - I would get bored) and really enjoyed coming up with different worlds and stories and doing as much research as I could. I remember when I was 14, I invented a town on the Northern California coast. I would spend my nights drawing detailed maps of the streets, ripped out pictures of home magazines to find each person's house. I had a set of characters, teenage girls, that lived in this town and had a 20page bible about each one of them. When I started to write about their sailing trip to Hawaii, I took books out of the library and spent MONTHS researching Hawaii. This truly was the best part - it was like I was living it myself.

Later on, I dabbled in poetry (suckfest) and short stories and then on to screenwriting where once again I figured I would have talent. And while things seemed promising at first, it only got worse as I got older. I used to place in screenwriting contests, now I don't get anything. Just a lot of critiscism. Maybe I fluked out with my one script - either way, it led me to stupidly believe I had some talent. It's quite obvious now that I don't.

Just because doing something - such as writing a script - makes you happy, it doesn't mean you are good at it. Just because you get into Journalism school, it doesn't mean you are a good writer. Just because you got a job writing articles, doens't mean you know what you are doing - it just means that the person who hired you has no clue about writing himself.

And so, I have come to the realization that after 15 years of deluding myself into thinking I had talent as a writer, I simply do not.

I will stop applying for writing jobs. I will stop dreaming of making it big as a novelist or a screenwriter. And maybe, even, stop writing this blog.

But before I do all that, I am left with the question....what AM I good at? If I can't write, what can I do? What do I do with myself? What should my new life goals be? Do I have talent in something, anything, and if so....what is it?

I am not sure that anyone of you can help me. But if you have any ideas on how I should move forward and carve out a life for myself, I would be very happy to receive them.

17 comments:

Farrell said...

I think you are just really down on yourself right now and I can understand that but I do not think you should throw all your dreams away, and I definitely DON'T think you should stop blogging, just because you are discouraged right now. Besides, plenty of people who suck can somehow make it big - Britney can't sing and yet she made it big (before she became a train wreck); Danielle steal writes sappy CRAP and she's a multi-millionaire...:)
Sorry; yes, I AM taking you seriously, but was just trying to maybe make you smile as well:)

Farrell said...

Gah! See? I write for a living and can't spell! I meant
Danielle STEEL.
grr!

Coffee in Kits said...

"Just because doing something ... doesn't mean you are good at it. Just because you get into Journalism school, it doesn't mean you are a good writer. Just because you got a job writing articles, doens't mean you know what you are doing"
None of us know what we're doing, hon. I've been through the same you're going through right now. And I asked EVERYONE; how the hell are we supposed to know what we're good at, what's best for us, what we're supposed to be doing... Revelation came when my mom told me "Sweetie, you've got to stop worrying, I'm 51 years old and I don't even know what I'm doing! I just get up in the morning and try to do what seems best to me. No one really knows what it is they're doing or what they're supposed to do. Just enjoy life!"
So if it's writing you enjoy doing, why stop doing it? Find a job you enjoy (which can involve writing or not) and write as a hobby. Who knows where life might bring you when you're just cruising along, having fun.... ! It's all about the journey, not the destination!
Do some soul-searching; you'll find your answers!

Mitch said...

Got news for you:

You are good at writing from what I can tell...

So don't get down on yourself...

And when a job does come up, take it, and keep looking for that great job.

Kass said...

Do I need to come back to Vancouver and give you a big juicy slap? Don't make me come up there young lady!

LOTS of people think they are hopeless at the things they do, lots of fantastic, amazing, talented people, think they are shite. You ARE a good writer, you can see it just by reading this blog, and even if you think you're untalented, the rest of us don't think you are.

I don't think your judgement of yourself is an accurate one, especially right now when you're down in the dumps about not getting a job (which has nothing to do with yo talented self) so trust in us, we believe in you and we think you're great.

Look at these, LOOK AT THESE - http://www.writersservices.com/mag/m_rejection.htm


Imagine in the authors had just given up after those? Imagine if, when the Beatles were rejected by Decca they just gave up! "Guitar music is on the way out" W.T.F!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Seriously, stop crapping on yourself. You are amazing Karina.

Todd said...

I agree. Quitting is not the answer.

Wondering Woman said...

coffee in kits is right, we've all felt the same way, all had the same questions.... and as you get older you do realize that it is the journey. One foot in front of the other and you just move along and you learn that most of us never become the "known" and "admired" that we'd thought we would because it seems that most people think they have talent singing, writing, dancing, speaking, or whatever, and it's the passion of youth that makes us feel it so strongly. You get older and realize that even if you do have talent maybe it's not enough to make a living at it or maybe you have tons of talent but never meet the right people, but it doesn't matter, you do things because you enjoy them and life turns out swell anyway.

WiscoBlonde said...

I've been reading your writing for over a year and I think you rock! Chin up!

( . )( . ) said...

Ok... ummm... wtf? Woman you are deluded. I am a terrible writer. You most certainly are not. I wouldnt read your blog if it was. I cant STAND bad writing. I cant follow it, I get lost.

I cant stand reading my own writing!! A uni essay I did once came back with the comments that i write like a journalist. Nothing flows together, I just write short succinct sentences and try and make them into a paragraph. I lose my place half way and totally bung it up.

Take it back. Seriously. Totally. Take it back. Your not a bad writer!

Pipper said...

I'm here via Shelia (Charm School Reject). I loved this post. You aren't a good writer, really?? I thought this post was good. I loved how you made a whole town thingy. I am going to steal your idea and get my oldest daughter to do something like that. I. loved. that. idea!
I too kinda feel your pain though... what the heck AM I good at? What will be my dreams NOW? I'm just spinning my wheels waiting for something, anything... Anyways, I thought this post was good, well written. No pun intended. LOL

Memphis Steve said...

In my drafts folder is my very last post. I've been moving it up over and over for months, but never posting it,although I've come close. It says something along the lines of what you've said here, how I had thought I was going to be a writer, how I like to write, and how I have given up. For me that makes sense. I didn't go to journalism school. I'm not a good writer. I don't know what I'm doing.

But you, you're entirely different. I've read your writing for years. You ARE a good writer. People all over the world are reading your writing. We read what you have to say, we read about your travels, we read about your life, and we conclude that we like you. We like you a lot. And we also learn a thing or two along the way from your trips.

I don't think I'm ever going to make it as a writer. It's a very tough field filled with a lot of very talented people. And more often than not it isn't the talented ones who get the biggest breaks anyway, it's the luckiest ones, just like with everything else. But you are a good writer. You're also young and intelligent and beautiful, all of which can take you further than you might imagine. You have a LOT going for you. Don't give it up just yet. You like writing. Don't give up on something you actually enjoy doing. You'll always regret it. And we'll regret it, too. because we'll lose you and we'll miss you.

You may one day stop writing. You may find something you enjoy more, or simply want to try for awhile. But don't ever think that you aren't good at writing. You are.

Girl About Town said...

BULLSH!T Karina!! BULL-SH!T!!!

You are DAMN good writer!!!!!

You have great style in your writing, you are entertaining and thought provoking and funny in the way you write, and that's why you have so many people who love reading what you write, and keep coming back for more. We love reading what you have to say, and we love the way you say it.

There are some crappy bloggers out there, yes; there are some deluded 'writers' out there, definately yes - but no, you aren't one of them. You are the real deal, girl!!

Remember: follow your heart. If you love to write, write. Don't worry about the consequences. Just enjoy it, and let it take you where it will.

LOVE your work.

Odette said...

Don't worry Kass I'll be back in Van in three weeks and she'll feel my bitch slap for the both of us!

Seriously Karina, I know how hard this has been for you, but seriously youcan't do this to yourself. Not now (not ever for that matter.) Think about ANY famous writer of ANY genre that you have ever heard/seen/read interviewed. What is the one thing that they always say? "I had to take my script/draft/etc to a million different editors (etc) before anyone would even LOOK at my writing." That and "I wanted to give up but I kept on pushing." You could have an Oscar worthy script on you hands or in your brain and you are willing to waste it and throw it all away because you've hit a wall? We ALL HIT WALLS (P.S. feel free to cut and paste this in a few months when I am having a rough go!) you have to decide to keep going. In fact didn't you tell us a few months ago that you sent your script to a producer and she said that she loved it, but couldn't afford to make it? Really hun I understand the whole "I suck" mentality I think that I have perfected it, but to give up on a dream that you have had for this long is quite possibly one of the most tragic things I have ever heard from you.

Sheila said...

You can't be serious about this. You shouldn't give up on your dreams....they don't call 'em starving artists for nothing.

Not to get all cliche`-y on you but Abe Lincoln lost the race for Senate (or something) like thirty times before getting elected as president.

And, another option is the great quote of "Those who can do. Those who can't teach." It took a long time for my 13 year old brain to wrap my brain around that and I finally figured it out. If you love something enough and don't want to give up on it compeletely, teach someone else how to do it.

rednetlog said...

You know the only reason I read your blog is because I enjoy your writing.

Think of it this way - you are providing a public service - you tell the world about what's up with you and we read about it because we want to know.

You and only you set the rules about how it looks and what is said. It's all about you and, clearly, we like you just the way you are.

Keep plugging along. If anything, we want MORE.

BTW, if you want a little better insight into what you are REALLY good at, pick up the book Strengthsfinder 2.0. Take the survey. You could find some pretty interesting stuff about yourself. It is well worth it. Really.

James said...

Weeeeeell..... ditto what these folks have said. You're being a bit hard on yourself.

My take: nobody is born a good writer. There are a few who are gifted enough to be able to teach themselves; the rest of us need a good editor in the style that we wish to adopt.

As a part of my job I write professionally. Before I found my editor, I was... er... not good. But now, even if the comments from the client are "not what we need now," they often add "...but very well written."

No, I'm not ever going to be Shakespeare, but those unsolicited comments make me feel good.

My advice (which is worth exactly what you've paid): find someone writing in the style that you like (scripts/novels/technical/whatever), and ask them to critique your work. A good editor will seem like a nemesis, but in a good way.

Or - of course - move on to other things.

Either way, you have it within you. And definitely don't fret about what is past. The only thing wrong with you is the grumpy Peace Arch border guards and their FIFTY MILLION questions for us hapless yankees! (Oh, wait, that's not your problem after all, is it?)

Vegas Princess said...

Everyone else has pretty much said what I was going to say but I will reiterate that you are a writer. This blog is proof of that. You may not fit into the standard writing that some companies may want but that just means you have to find the right one. You like it, you are good at it and you will do something with it. And please don't give up this blog. It would make me sad. :)