The sheer number of people out there trying to become authors discourages me. That little voice in my head says, "You're a terrible writer. You'll never be good enough." John Vorhaus sums up this feeling so well:
"I think I know where you’re at now. You’re not as productive as you want to be. Not as prolific. Not as at ease with your craft. Not yet its master, for sure. In the back of your mind you hear a panicked little voice that clamors, “I’m falling behind in my existence!” How do I know you hear that voice? Because I hear it all the time! I’ve heard it all my life. I experience it as the gap between the writer I am and the writer I want to be. I’m furiously interested in closing that gap. You are, too, I know, and here’s the thing I want to tell you. You will close the gap. I have. Not all the way. But some. And consistently more and more over time."
Draft four of my manuscript has some serious flaws. I am stalled in the face of a complete rewrite. The second half of my story works, but not the beginning. I feel like the continental railroads, wondering if the tracks really will meet in the middle.
So I turn to online advice. Show don't tell. Avoid cliches. The protagonist has to want something. All the mistakes on the "What Not To Do" lists? Yup, I've made or am making. My only triumph is that I do know how to punctuate dialogue. Thank-you, Mr. Quiring.
Another writer, Dan Blank, talks about shame and writing.What an odd pairing, but so true. As if there's a judge out there who says, "You tried and failed? How dare you!" We can't all start out as prodigies, but somehow that's the expectation, that it should be polished and easy, the first time around. I may have to work harder, but I will get somewhere, eventually. My goal is 70,000 coherent words (not perfect) by June or bust.
Best writing advice? Fail and fail and fail again. Don't stop.