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An In-Depth Look Into The Writer's Emotions

The Challenge winners will be posted here two weeks after entries close for each topic, and the Highest Ranked entries will be posted sometime later that day or the next.

Moderator: Deb Porter

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gemstone
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Postby gemstone » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:42 am

Yes, Yes, and Yes to all the above.

But, I'm going to drill down a little here.

The STYLE of writing plays to the competition.

Think with me here. This is an isolated competition controlled by 750 max and on a stated topic with a week to complete.

Some great writers are not able to "win" within these limitations as easily. When creativity is considered as it is here, poetic entries fare better. So, those with those abilities usually do well.

There is a GREAT divide of ages here. My interests and perspectives at 60 are different than those who are 20-30. I'm not always interested in what they find interesting nor they me.

There is a GREAT divide of geography here. You can't tell me that the same story will speak to me here in the deep south of US the same as in Canada or Britain.

There is a GREAT divide of Christian growth. Some are young Christians no matter what their age and others are seasoned at an early age.

I would like to say that it is pretty easy to recognize who the writer of a piece is without knowing the name. Not all...but some for sure. Writers have a certain style and draw on their scope of knowledge and use sentence structures the same. Pick a famous writer. You know his work when someone starts reading it aloud, don't you? It can't be helped.
By the way, Jim...I know yours a mile away.

Does that mean that we should try to not be ourselves. Of course not. We have to write what moves US and share it with others.

IF we were able to see the actual score week after week...it would tell the real story. Let's say that week after week the scores were tallied and the writer's average was 4.65. That writer is an excellent writer by ANYONE'S standards. But, he may only get an EC or two, win some, etc. If on the other hand, his averages tallied 3.27...he has work to do to get better.

So, the category matters as well. I wish there was a separate competition for poetry. Every week there are some of the best I've ever read here. There are wonderful Devotions...they rarely do as well.

Let's face it, some people are not sentimental. Some people do not like romance. Some people are turned off by reading about human ugliness, disease, crime, sexual exploitations, abuse. There are those who love humor and those who don't.

We must quit trying to make this simple. It just isn't.

If winning is the objective, then here's a suggestion.
Fiction or poetry
Not too contraversial
Change up your style some
Actually GRADE yourself by the same criteria the judges use
Re-write if the score isn't high enough
Write with the score in mind
Not Devotional
Don't give away your age
Work on a Great title (not scored, but matters)
Have a killer ending that follows a killer opening.


Of couse, this is all just my thinking. It's what I tell myself.

Each week that I enter, I read my entry and if I love it...I love it. Plain and simple.

Mona

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Postby mljoshua » Fri Feb 26, 2010 2:27 pm

gemstone wrote:


If winning is the objective, then here's a suggestion.
Fiction or poetry
Not too controversial
Change up your style some
Actually GRADE yourself by the same criteria the judges use
Re-write if the score isn't high enough
Write with the score in mind
Not Devotional
Don't give away your age
Work on a Great title (not scored, but matters)
Have a killer ending that follows a killer opening.


Of couse, this is all just my thinking. It's what I tell myself.

Each week that I enter, I read my entry and if I love it...I love it. Plain and simple.

Mona



I agree with all of the above, I figured out early on that my stuff might not score as highly as I think it should because I don't always give the judges what they are looking for - but I give them what I have. It generally means something to me, so I write it. If I am happy with it, I push submit... If I'm not totally happy with it, but time is running out, I push submit. I am new at this, and need the commitment to submit on time - the prompts and time frame help me do that. But I know, more often than not, I am going to fall short of the criteria the judges use, and that's ok with me.

I like my style, I enjoy the writing and the voice, for me - that's enough.

I'm more worried about getting my nf ms represented. FW is to practice my skill at coming up with something new in fiction each week.

And then there's the added benefit of getting to know everyone here :)

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Postby violin4jesus » Fri Feb 26, 2010 7:18 pm

You're so right, Mona. It took me a few weeks to "get" the style of the Challenge and what wins in less than 750 words. I had some great comments before I figured it out, though, which pointed the way for me.

My problem always was coming up with the creative idea outside-the-box (difficult for this inside-the-box thinker). Which is why I don't submit anymore unless that great idea comes.

If you want to win, play up to the judges. No bribes, of course, but you gotta catch their attention and fit into the criteria. If you just want to write and remain true to yourself, don't worry about it. Several writers here continually submit for their own benefit and don't care one whit about the judging system. I kind of envy them.... :roll:

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Postby pheeweed » Fri Feb 26, 2010 10:32 pm

gemstone wrote:
If winning is the objective, then here's a suggestion.
Fiction or poetry
Not too contraversial
Change up your style some
Actually GRADE yourself by the same criteria the judges use
Re-write if the score isn't high enough
Write with the score in mind
Not Devotional
Don't give away your age
Work on a Great title (not scored, but matters)
Have a killer ending that follows a killer opening.




And yet, the only time I placed was with a devotional. But then, I know that is my strength and I want to challenge (ha) myself in other areas.

I know all the right attitudes and reasons for participating, but I don't feel them.

Sigh.

Phee[/i]
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"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8 NLT

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Postby Bear-Bear » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:34 pm

Bear has only entered one writing challenge so far, being a total newcomer to FaithWriters, and the winners won't be posted until next week, still. So Bear should probably keep Big Bear jaw shut. But can't resist sharing.

Reading this thread has been extremely helpful. Because I tend to get very emotional about my writing as well. And it's getting in the way of my ability to steadily produce. Always has. All my life. I write for awhile, get burned out by the emotional ups and downs and quit again.

In fact, I was just praying about it a couple days ago, asking the Lord to help me with it. Because I felt such a total letdown after I finished writing my first Writer's Challenge entry and submitted it. I got depressed. And I've noticed this in the past with other pieces of writing I've done. I get super focused on the writing, almost obsessive in the editing, and then feel totally let down after I'm done. And, if anyone says anything about the writing afterward, when seeing it -- if it's not the highest possible praise (and sometimes even when it is), I feel like a total failure.

Which of course, in reality, is not the case. But I was brought up that your measure of whether-or-not-you're-a-good-person was dependent on how well you pleased the teacher (or mentor, or parent, or person in authority), basically. And I think I've funneled all that "please the teacher" mania into writing emotions.

So I know that, despite all I tell myself about being a newcomer . . . that it doesn't matter where I place, so long as I'm learning, and that by reviewing the winner's entries I can learn so much from their writing, plus bless others with my comments on their pieces, etc, etc, etc. . . . I'm most likely in for a major crash when the results get posted.

HOWEVER, that's one of my main reasons for setting myself with determination, wanting to do as many Writing Challenges as possible. And I'll be praying with every one of those challenges that the Lord will help heal those emotional trip wires that are plaguing me. Because, in reality, they're hampering my writing output majorly.

I know all of you will understand, from what you've said . . . When I try to imagine being able to write, WITHOUT all those emotional ups and downs . . . well, just think how much more fun writing could be. And how much more productive.

I want that joy that I can only imagine.

And I figure, I'm never going to get there, if I let those emotions stop me from writing and entering these writing challenges.

Because, in reality, the "winners results" is simply a MIRROR . . . Maybe "mirror" is not the word Bear is hunting for . . . How to say it? When we submit articles for publications to editors, most writers are going to get rejected -- only a few will "win" -- there IS competition, there are editor personality preferences that are going to shade what type of piece gets accepted and what doesn't, etc. Even when just showing our writing to friends -- a lot of friends aren't going to care about what we've written or will miss the point, and we might only get a few kind comments. Even if I never submit to a paid market, but choose to submit to free ministry magazines and church publications -- there's still going to be "Editor's Choice" in the picture -- an editor who decides if my piece is what he/she wants to print. Etc. So it is with the Challenges -- they're a MIRROR, reflecting the rest of "writing life", kind of. They're one of the safest places to practice, with kind Christian fellow-writers who are doing their best not to hurt feelings (I assume) mainly, and to make any "rejection" as soft as possible, plus give any possible compliments along the way. Plus, give CONSTRUCTIVE criticism to help improve the writing. What better place to learn?

It's the reality of writing, unless I'm going to shove my writing "into the closet" never to share it with anyone at all ever.

I think God is able to deliver and heal me from stuff like this. So I want to work really hard at being faithful in prayer on it, and being faithful at entering the writing challenges . . . And every time a thought comes up that I know is setting me up for those emotions that are tripping me up, I want to work at trying to replace it with some more productive thought.

Example: "Wouldn't it be awesome if I made first place on Editor's Choice my first week out?" ( :rolling ) (Which thought I have to admit DID pop into my mind already.) Telling myself -- That's a "please the teacher, instant straight A student thought." Replace with, "Wouldn't it be wonderful if I actually succeeded at consistently completing Writing Challenges week after week, and placed in Editor's Choice in my first year, once or twice, and my writing improved majorly along the way?" or "Wouldn't it be great if it didn't make Editor's Choice this week, so the entry was freed up so that I could then submit the piece to a small church magazine, and see if the editors there might like it?" Etc. Trying to break up my obsessive focusing "please the teacher -- only top marks will suffice, all else is failure" line of thinking.

So even though I haven't seen this particular Writing Challenge's Winners posted yet. Bear's been there many times before, even never having done a Writing Challenge, and knows already what Bear's up against. And knows that for BEAR, the only hope is going to have to be much prayer, and much slogging along, and pushing through walls, and taking the bumps, until the emotional road starts smoothing down, IF Bear is ever really going to become a writer.

And Bear thinks the Writing Challenge is an EXCELLENT place for doing just that.

Bear may bite the dust, after only a few entries, and stop writing again. But Bear is praying not. And that's why Bear has the 40 Writing Challenges posted in the signature. Bear has prayers going up steadily, and is hoping to be able to slog through the emotional storms, until Spring Sunshine is sighted, shining bright. :sofa
Bear
(Ruth S)

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Bear reminds self, "Don't forget to pray with every piece of writing."

"40 Writing Challenges Goal" progress: 9 done

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Postby CreativeWords » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:58 pm

Bear-Bear wrote: Trying to break up my obsessive focusing "please the teacher -- only top marks will suffice, all else is failure" line of thinking.


Wow, Bear, thanks for that disturbing insight into myself. I was a straight-A student all through high school and college -despite being in charge of two school publications and being involved in theater and going through some of the most stressful family times of my life (my sister revealed that her husband of ten months was physically and sexually abusing her in February of my final semester). In spite of everything, I graduated in the top 15 percent of my class. I remember getting my transcript after graduation and bemoaning the fact that I had 9 A- classes over four years.


That all sounds like bragging, and until tonight, I might have seen it as a feather in my cap, but Bear's words really hit home. I always told myself I had to be on top. Not because I considered myself better than others, but that I knew that within myself I had to ability to be the top of whatever pursuit I chose. I know I have drive and a learner's mindset, which allows me to quickly pick up on new skills. Therefore, because I have that ability, I must expect myself to perform at the top level or else.

No. That's ridiculous. It's not about what place I get. it's about doing what I know is my best. By insisting to myself that I place, I am, by neccessity, assuming that no one else's best is as good as my best.

Wow. Thanks, again, Bear. I feel incredibly liberated.



Of course, I'll wake up tomorrow and struggle with it all over again. But at least now I'm aware.
Rachel Phelps

The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible. ~Vladimir Nabakov

Visit my blog Par Excellence

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Postby aussiegal » Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:59 pm

Couple of things: Writing is like having a baby. Even for 750 words or less there is every ounce of your life blood poured into it for even that small effort. It's not like mowing the lawn and your done with it, this is something alive, someting you gave birth to .
And every mother thinks their baby is the most beautiful thing that ever emerged on God's green earth.
So it's natural to have a great deal of feelings invested in our writing.
It's the curse of having a creative streak.
Also, depression or a feeling a "let down" often follows achievement. When you have climbed the mountain it's a breathtaking view, then you have to get back down!
I just keep going forward, and I say to myself:
"I am anointed to write at a level of excellence the world has not seen, for the glory of God."

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Postby pheeweed » Sat Feb 27, 2010 9:54 am

Bear, thank you for your insights. I have more or less withdrawn from the challenge because I don't like my reaction to it. But you have given me a new perspective. I think, maybe, I too need to enter every week so I can give God a chance to help me work through the negative emotions. I have different underlying causes for the emotions, but I need healing too.

Thank you

And Aussiegirl, this is very hellpful.

aussiegal wrote:"I am anointed to write at a level of excellence the world has not seen, for the glory of God."


I do want to write excellently for the glory of God. And my emotions shouldn't stop that.

Phee
Phee
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"And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Philippians 4:8 NLT

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Postby aussiegal » Sat Feb 27, 2010 10:30 am

Writing is my "safe place"...I can say things that I would never dare speak aloud. When I was in school there was always one bold kid who would say what everyone else was thinking, but too afraid to say..you know the "stupid question", or comment.
We would all breath a sigh, because now we can be real.
Writing keeps me real. It is me, myself. If God has given me a gift to say what I think and feel in a way that will help someone else breathe deeply and say "Yes.." then I must do it.

I had to get to a point where I realized that I am selfish and self centered and my life based in fear, when I do not use my gifts ..not only for the glory of God, but to bless other people.
Isn't this what the Bible talks about as "dying to self".
What blessing am I denying other people when I do not use what God has given me to help and bless others.

To Pheeweed: You would not be here at FW if you didn't have an interest in writing, which tells me that you have something in your heart you want to share and express.
It's a choice I had to make, to live in selfishness and fear, or "otherness" and Love and Faith.
It's the old idea about the journey or the destination. I am learning to make the journey fun, and one day I will get there. And if not? Well I had a great ride.

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Postby Bear-Bear » Mon Mar 01, 2010 12:18 am

People's comments in this thread continue to be of great help to Bear in thinking things through and praying on things. I hope we find a way to keep this kind of discussion going, sharing some of our ups and downs as we struggle with the issue, on an ongoing basis. Maybe we could move another ongoing thread over to the other board, like someone near the top suggested, and do something like that?

Bear agrees that creating a piece of writing is similar to having a baby, and it's natural to feel that MY baby is the most cute, cuddly, adorable creature on the face of the earth, especially at FIRST. Also, natural to feel let-down afterward. However, a full-length book is one thing, so far as that natural emotional up-and-down cycle that can go with "creating". Some post-completion depression would be normal for a full-length book. But for every 750 word piece of writing Bear does? That becomes pretty problematic in Bear's view -- "dysfunctional", to say the least. And Bear doesn't want to spend all of Bear's writing life on that kind of emotional roller coaster.

CreativeWords wrote:No. That's ridiculous. It's not about what place I get. it's about doing what I know is my best. By insisting to myself that I place, I am, by neccessity, assuming that no one else's best is as good as my best.


This comment really got Bear to thinking especially much. Bear had never really thought about it as wanting to be the "BEST", per se, above everyone else's "BEST". But reality is, that's what it comes down to, when you think it through. But why should I even WANT to be the BEST, above everyone else's BEST? Reality is, that Scripture teaches us that God often glorifies Himself more through the weak things of the world rather than the strongest. Examples of heroes and heroines throughout the Bible, often showed that those who were weak in one way or another were being used of God the MOST. And the New Testament talks about how God uses the weak things of the world, several times. In fact, like with Paul, He gave a specific "thorn in the flesh" just to keep Paul humble, and as a reminder that His Grace is sufficient for us.

Thinking about it more, I looked up one of the passages talking about Spiritual Gifts, because I remembered it in context with this . . . 1 Cor 12:14-22 (KJV) "For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, AS IT HATH PLEASED HIM. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. Nay, MUCH MORE THOSE MEMBERS, WHICH SEEM TO BE MORE FEEBLE, ARE NECESSARY . . . " and verse 26 "And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it."

God's not like my Mom was, who, if I didn't bring home an A on my report card, made it clear I had failed in her eyes. (And yes, I got straight A's in High School, except for one F, which I deliberately got, just to see if anyone would actually notice.) God's Plans and Purposes are totally different than those of a parent or mentor who I'm trying to please. It may often (or all the time) PLEASE GOD to use my particular piece of writing in another slot with another purpose on a particular week than the "best of the best" slot, and it still might likely be JUST AS GLORIFYING TO HIM, and FULFILL HIS PURPOSE JUST AS PERFECTLY.

PLUS, when I started thinking about wanting to be the "best" (or even in the top 10 best -- Editor's Choice), and started reading many of the entries for last week's Challenge, I realized that . . . Reality is, my writing is just not at the same level generally, as that of the top 10 writers. In fact, I saw one very outstanding person down at Beginner's Level, whose writing skills are clearly ahead of mine. Realistically, my writing, from the entries I saw, likely properly falls IN GENERAL, at the lowest end of the Advanced Level of writers -- sometimes I write below that and sometimes, above. I might have a flash sometimes, where I get up there with an unusually outstanding piece. But reality is, my skills in word use, description, smoothly making scene transitions, conciseness, organization, and other areas, are clearly not at the same level as the best writers on FaithWriters.

And I realized THAT'S OK! As a matter of fact, that's just great for now. God loves me just as much as He loves those with more writing skills at the moment. And He can glorify Himself through my writing as much as He can glorify Himself through theirs. He's not disappointed or surprised at my current writing ability. And my writing skills will improve with time, if I stick with it.

I want to honor those who DO have really great writing skills on this site, as well as learning from them. But ALSO, I want to honor those who have "lesser skill level", whose entries often face me with deep issues in the Lord, and speak to my heart and my Spirit there.

And I suddenly realized, even at a deeper level than before, BEING THE BEST IS NOT THE GOAL. It's not God's Goal for me. So it can't be MINE. Yes, He might put me up with the Best from time to time. Yes, I might even hit the #1 Best spot, even, if GOD does it, (and He's certainly well able, if He should sovereignly want to at any point). But that's according to HIS choice and HIS workings -- not mine.

So I'm doing some repenting, along with some re-thinking. Because, reality is, my thinking and attitudes have not been based on Biblical truth and are in need of some major revising/editing/polishing.
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Bear reminds self, "Don't forget to pray with every piece of writing."

"40 Writing Challenges Goal" progress: 9 done

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Postby write4christ » Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:04 am

Discouragement over not placing in challenge is not unusual.

Just a few weeks ago, Chrissy started a thread on 'Please don't give up on a good thing'. If you are feeling discouraged or disappointed over your challenge efforts, this is a thread well worth reading.

Stay strong and be of good courage!

God Bless You
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Postby Ms. Barbie » Thu Mar 04, 2010 11:51 am

I also tend to feel let down each week. Why is it that when the story gets high reviews, especially from Jan, then does not even place in the top 40?

Yet, I don't let it get me down too much. I have been in level one since I started in November. I usually read most or all of the Masters level to get a feel for what it is I need to learn.

This week, I had company and no time to read the stories. My Eek story was thought up during the night, with little time to dwell on it. I won't even expect a high praise on this one, I just wanted to get something submitted.

No, let me be honest. As I am writing this, I must admit that I do get discouraged. I have been considering dropping out after the quarter has finished. Yet, don't really want to, for I like the commoradarie(sp?) here.
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Postby lidijo1 » Thu Mar 04, 2010 12:58 pm

How ironic that I am reading this thread this morning. On the way home from a horrible night at work... part of me could not wait to see how my entry did...I only had 2 gold boxes by the time I went to work...although I thought the entry was a fairly good one. The other part of me felt a little like George McFly in "Back to the Future"...I was thinking...what if the judges did not like the entry...I don't think I can handle the rejection.

I was amazed at how well I did early on... and I do think I have grown as a writer since first joining FW... but I wonder if I got too "cocky" along the way...or too competitive.

The other thing is that my writing always seems to be so serious...I have a hard time writing something humorous... I keep looking for that "edge"...that one thing that will set me back on the winning track.

I keep telling myself I only have one more EC to be on the Master level...so far it has eluded me... then I question my ability...thinking what if I do get an EC...I am not good enough to compete on that level...

I have cried at times when I looked to see the posting of the winners... and have felt ashamed of myself for letting it disappoint me so much if I did not do well. ( Although I have actually judged a couple of times now, and I know from experience that it really is a hard task.)

But this I do know... God has given the talent and I would be remiss not to use it... so I keep writing, and pray that God will use it for His glory. I will keep on writing, and accept not winning as God's way of keeping me humble.

Thanks for letting me share my emotions...
I don't know what my future holds... but I know WHO holds my future...and "I'm persuaded that HE is able to keep that which I've committed unto HIM against that day".

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Postby ginadaye » Thu Mar 04, 2010 2:20 pm

I think this is about my 6th Challenge. Is there a posting somewhere for what the judges are looking for and how they "grade"???? If so, I've missed it and obviously need to know! This is the first week I've been disappointed. I really thought my entry was well-written, and it got good "reviews". I know part of my problem is time. I am truly time-starved. Someone said that this site sucks you in and it tries, but there are just too many demands on my time. Like now I am on my lunch hour at work and had to go to our workstation just to get away from my desk and even here someone came and asked for my assistance! I have health issues and so I am exhausted by the time I get home from work. So my discouragement is not so much in not winning, as in not being able to find the time to devote to writing and taking full advantage of FW. I AM, however, going to the conference and I hope to meet and make FW friends while there. I like the challenge of the Challenge and I guess if all I get out of it right now is practice and fun, then that's okay. I soooo wish I had time to read and comment on every entry, but I simply do not.

I know I can write. I've had articles, stories and poetry published and was paid for each word/line. Most recently I submitted to a non-paying magazine a couple of years ago, because money was not important to me (it was Living with Loss Magazine and I wanted to share my grief and offer hope and encouragement to others), Perhaps we equate making money and winning contests with being a good writer. THAT IS NOT TRUE. A good writer touches people in a positive way - be it with inspiration, encouragement, hope, insight, humor or pure entertainment.

Congrats to all the winners this week, and hugs to all those who are once again disappointed!

Oh yeah . . . my question. Read the first line againmplease! I write like I talk - on and on. :roll:

Gina
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Psalm 57:1 ". . . in the shelter of they wings I will make my refuge . . . "

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Postby glorybee » Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:05 pm

Gina, look here for the rating criteria used by the judges.
Jan Ackerson

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