What Are Your Pet Peeves When Writing?

It’s the start of another month, so it’s time once again for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG), a blog hop to share and encourage other writers.

The question for this month took me a little while to come up with an answer and it wasn’t until I realised that one pet peeve tended to manifest itself into another, that I discovered there were actually quite a few. So with my answer for this month, I’ve come up with what I’d like to call ‘The Illustrated Guide to my Writing Process’.

1. I’m a perfectionist.

2. Being a perfectionist makes me a slow writer.

3. Being a slow writer means I think about things a lot more.

4. Thinking too much leads to self-doubt.

5. Self-doubt leads to stalling tactics.

6. Stalling tactics eventually leads back to No.1 (no pun intended 😉 ).

Yet, somewhere between pet peeves 1 and 4, I do actually manage to get the writing done (and that includes re-writes), otherwise, there’s not much point. In order to write, one must persevere, despite setbacks.

Realistically, looking at those peeves that I’ve mentioned, these are self-induced. I have allowed myself to believe in the negativity that had accompanied my writing ambitions for many years.

With the writing process, comes a learning process regarding ourselves as writers. And that can be the longest (and hardest) process of all.

Do you have a similar writing process? Are you a perfectionist? Do you have trouble concentrating sometimes? What are your pet peeves when writing?

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Image courtesy of Pixabay

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13 thoughts on “What Are Your Pet Peeves When Writing?

  1. I often find that the challenge for me is a combination of “the writing should be better”, “the process should be easier/am I doing it wrong?”, and a small part that wonders “should I wait for another time, when I’m more rested, in a better place mentally/emotionally, etc?”

    There are those rare times where the words just flow, but most of the time it feels like a wasted effort, like I’m going to come back “tomorrow” and start over again, and nothing I write today will have any ramifications, and the effort might even drain me when doing something else might supercharge me for tomorrow’s effort.

    But then I think back to the idea of the muse, the conceit that some aspects of what separates good writing from bad are out of my control, and my job is simply to write, preferably every day, preferably for a substantial amount of time, and do the best I can, whatever that is.

    In some ways I think my experience echoes yours; we both struggle with “getting it right”, but in the end the reality is nothing is completely right the first time. We build this complex thing, and after we have enough built to be able to actually turn the gears, we realize that some aspects don’t fit, but others do.
    I’m endlessly forgetting and relearning the same lessons, including “It doesn’t have to be perfect; it just has to be better.” The rough draft is always better than nothing, and then the real work begins :-).

    1. Hi Adam. This sounds so familiar. Writing can be a hard slog, but other times it can be so worth it. When the words just flow and you’re in ‘the zone’ it’s a real high (and yes, a rare moment)! I know it’s foolish to want perfection during the first draft and that can be a bad habit to crack and all part of the learning process. As you say, the rough draft is better than nothing, reminding me of that old saying ‘You can’t edit a blank page’. Good luck with it!

  2. Some days are harder than others (to concentrate, to write, to believe I can actually do the story justice), but there’s always something that makes me persevere. Even if I have to bribe myself with rewards 😉

    1. Hi Ronel. Some days I’m guilty of just looking out the window, but that’s still considered working isn’t it? And yes, bribes in the form of rewards are always a good incentive (only recently I had a facial as I’m on a diet and was good enough to avoid the chocolate). 😉

    1. Hi Madeline. I’ve been struggling with this for years, which is why I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo a couple of times. The first few times I tried it I was left with a complete mess. Last year I was surprised that it didn’t turn out so bad and I’m currently re-writing that novel. I don’t know if you’ve done NaNoWriMo and/or used a timer, but it might help. I think this might be my best way forward. Good luck!

  3. This sounds a lot like me as well! Writing fiction is a work of artistry so it’s normal to want it to be the best that it possibly can be.

    A complete but technically imperfect work can move, inspire and thrill readers. The trick, I think, is to forgive ourselves our imperfections and keep moving forward. I’m nowhere near getting there myself though!

    1. Hi David. Forgiving our imperfections is a tough lesson. I’ve heard of cases where famous authors have regretted putting out some of their earlier works, feeling they could have done better. Just goes to show that we are never satisfied. Perfection is an illusion!

    1. This sounds like me when it comes to outlining too. And it can be quite unexpected when characters have a way of ruining it all for you. 😉

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