I just don’t have any fun writing anymore. I hate looking at my own work and it just seems like I can’t get anything right on the page. I just don’t think I have it takes and I have enough harsh reviews telling me I’m right. It’s gotten to the point where I can’t even work anymore because the moment I come up with an idea I can already hear the chorus of internet commentors in my head telling me how bad it is. I feel like like a little kid finger painting with mud.

That sucks. :/ It’s a really tough situation to be in, and I’m sorry that you’re in that position. If you have depression and/or anxiety, this is probably even worse for you.

It seems like you’re a fairly new writer with some experience. I was in a similar position when I was little.

From the time I was able to write, my mom had my sister and I write stories over the summer so we’d keep our creativity and intelligence going. I really hadn’t gotten much creativity at that point, so I often ended up asking my sister if I could read her story, and then I’d take the concept she had and write it my own way. It was unoriginal and underwhelming.

When I got to fourth grade, we had to begin preparing for the writing test that’s administered at different periods in your school career. For me, it was at 4th, 8th, and 11th grade.

When we began to write stories to prepare ourselves for the test, I was basically on my own. I was quickly informed by my classmates that I “couldn’t write.”

I was dismayed. But I am a very competitive person, so I kept trying. We were required to write during class, so I didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter, but I was determined to do better than them.

We took the test. They asked us to write a story about getting stuck in a snow storm.

Easy! My best friend had a little portion of forest just behind her backyard, and we went to play in there allllll the time. So I wrote a story about us camping in the forest, and then we play card games and talk to each other until the snow storm goes away. It was simple, and I didn’t think it was anything special.

Sometime a few days or weeks later, there were some announcements done over the whole school. It was announced that out of the whole class of fourth-grade students (as in not just my class but literally every person in fourth grade at my school), I was the only one to get a score of a perfect 6.

The only one. Just me.

I’d been telling myself that I wasn’t creative. And everyone else had been telling me that, too.

But I just did my thing, and I did well.

Sometimes, you just gotta ignore the haters and do what makes you happy.

What I think you should do is to make a small writing group of people who you enjoy talking to and will give you constructive criticism. Become friends with them and give them honest feedback that will help them as writers, and they will do the same for you.

I was able to join a writing club in middle school, and I was able to develop a healthy sense of how to write and how to talk to other people about their writing. That is the most important thing as someone who needs practice writing.

For now, I would recommend not posting your writing publicly. I know it’s really tempting because of the sheer volume of feedback you can get, but right now, it’s not healthy for you.

You need to take a step back and allow yourself to grow gently and not so suddenly.

Writing is a long, hard path, and throwing yourself to the wolves is only damaging your self-esteem.

If you write for yourself and for your friends, then you’ll be able to look at it and tell yourself that you can do better and then sit down and actually do better. Hearing your own voice tell you that you are a good writer who can continue to improve is necessary to your growth.

Anyone who begins to learn a craft will feel like you feel right now, if they don’t have the right support group. It’s important to work on yourself before you let them tear you apart like this.

If you have an idea, start writing it. If you decide that you don’t like it, then you can either re-write it or you can put it aside and work on something that you like better.

Something else I’ve learned is to not go with the first idea. The first idea you come up with has probably already been done, so if you feel like you’re a derivative writer, then look at your first idea and change something fundamental about it.

For example: you want to write a story about an alien sneaking around a space ship and killing people.

That is obviously the plot/concept of the movie Alien.

But what if……… the alien was cute?

This is something I tried, and it actually went over really well with my classmates. In fact, one of my classmates actually drew the alien on her copy of the story.

It’s also okay and important to mimic the good writing you’ve seen before. Learning from other people’s good writing is one of the best things you can do for yourself. If you like the movie Alien, then ask yourself what you like about it. Is it the suspense? Is it the characters? Is it the concept? Watch the movie and comment on the things that you like.

Do that with books and everything else you consume–including what you don’t like. What is it you don’t like? Why do you not like it? How could it be better?

Ask yourself questions as much as possible. “What if….?” is one of the most useful questions there is. What if the Hunger Games happened twice a year? What if Harry Potter was paralyzed by Voldemort when he was a baby? What if Luke Skywalker had grown up knowing that Darth Vader was his father?

Obviously, these are examples of things you could write fanfictions about, but there are endless possibilities. What if everything about modern society was the same, but we didn’t have cars or buses or anything like that? What if our emotions created tattoos? What if trees were three times taller?

It is okay to be a new writer. Everyone has to start somewhere. All you have to do is develop yourself at your own pace.

Take the criticisms you’ve received and distill them down into something constructive. If someone insults your plot device, your ending, your characters, then what is the core of their issue? Are your characters Mary-Sues? Then figure out how to create characters that are less perfect and special.

It takes time and practice to become a good writer. Haters gonna hate. There will always be someone who hates your writing. But you aren’t writing for them. Write for yourself. You need to write more to improve at writing.

Your writing will feel like it sucks for a long time. But you can’t get better if you don’t write. You don’t have to show your writing to other people. But it helps to get constructive feedback and to do so in return.

You might be a terrible writer right now. It’s possible. But if you don’t write more, then how can you become better? You can’t learn to drive without driving.

Writing is a craft, just as much as woodworking is. Practice really will make you better. But you have to be aware that if you want to take your writing seriously, you have to keep going and keep improving. You will never be perfect. Constantly improving is part of the territory. You have to brace yourself for the fact that you need to take the time to improve every time you feel like you’re stagnating. It sucks, but that’s just part of it.

If you want to learn to play the piano, then you have to suck at playing the piano for a while.

Writing is the same.

I’m sorry you feel like you suck right now, but I promise that you will get better over time. Practice until you feel exhausted. Then practice some more. It is a long journey, but it is a rewarding one.

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