Everything I Write is CRAP and Other Author Woes

Need a lesson in humility?  Go back and read the first draft of the first  novel you ever tried to write. I promise you will cringe.

If you’re anything like me (and I wouldn’t admit to that if I were you), you’ll find your work full of passive verbs, ridiculous cliches, caricatures, and confusing sentences.  Oh…OH!  And backstory dump like a county landfill. 

I’m blushing just thinking of how my poor writer’s group suffered through this first (and never finished) 55,000 word draft. 

Seriously, it was such CRAP.

But here’s the funny thing:  three years, five manuscripts (only two completed and revised…I know it’s pathetic), and a gazillion writing lessons later, I still think everything I write is crap.

Early on, I was blissfully unaware you didn’t have to tag every bit of dialogue with he/she said and that adverbs, in general, are a big fat no-no.  Now I can identify my personal suckitude and fix/avoid making stupid beginner mistakes.  I know the importance of finishing a story and then revising it to oblivion. 

Does that mean I craft perfect, layered characters and incredible fast-moving, engaging plots?  Nope.  But it’s a learning process.  I hope to look back in three years and see how much I’ve grown. 



  • Sharon

    YES. It’s cringe-worthy to look at my first ever draft…and sometimes it’s cringe-worthy to read what I just wrote yesterday. But, sometimes I like it, so I keep drudging on! 😉

  • Kristan Hoffman

    “(and I wouldn’t admit to that if I were you)” made me LOL. 🙂

    There is nothing pathetic about 5 mss in 3 yrs, btw. I’m a really slow writer, so that seems quite impressive to me.

    “I know the importance of finishing a story and then revising it to oblivion.” Hear hear! That’s pretty much my motto too, lol.

  • Sharon Bayliss

    My first novel is on my old computer and I’ve conveniently neglected to leave it there. 🙂 It is amazing and sometimes scary after how far I’ve come, I’m still always learning something new (or realizing I’m doing something wrong). If you think of it glass-half-full, imagine how much more you will know in 10 years.

  • E.J. Wesley

    Becky, I’ve never had the nerve to go back and read that draft. That’s how certain I am that it’s garbage. Someday I will, but today is not that day. I need rainbows in my writing life at the moment, not storm clouds. 🙂

  • Kimberly

    I feel like this sometimes, especially yesterday.

    And, I have gone back and looked at my very first MS (I cringed too) 🙂

    But you are so right, there is something to learn every time we right one.

  • Sierra Gardner

    Oh – every time I read something of mine I go through this conviction that it is total garbage. The only thing that makes me feel better is realizing that I’m being a little overcritical. The truth is that no writing is ever going to be perfect but if it represents my best effort and it accomplishes it’s purpose then I can be happy with what I’ve done.

  • Lexa Cain

    At least you only put your group through 55k of that first one — mine was an out of control 85k MG! It was so badly written, even after two revisions. *blush* Half the time I think my writing’s crap; the other half I can’t kill off my darlings despite CP’s surging up to the castle, carrying torches and yelling “Kill the Beast!”

    We should always think our writing’s crap. That way, we improve. 🙂

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