Hitting A Plateau

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I feel that my writing has come to a plateau for a while. I thought more reading can lift it up from the unsatisfactory stagnation, but that has not happened yet. I always read books with a style that I want to emulate, but for some reason, my reading is not reflected in my writing. It’s still plain old me as I am telling my story, with no trace of anything I’ve read so far.

It Comes Out Differently

Actually in my mind the story is quite vivid, but when it is typed out, it loses its vividness. Not only that, it feels like somebody who wants it to be vivid but can’t pull it off. A nice helpful girl online advised me to flesh it out. It is true that it feels a little skeleton like, a little lack of flesh, dress, and allure. Nobody enjoys it, except those very rare people who love skeletons.

It Is Not Improving As Expected

I thought the improvement should be linear, unobstructed, and perpetual. That’s supposed to be one’s expectation of one’s writing. If one continues to write, one’s stories would advance progressively better in a fashion that satisfies our desire. But that hasn’t been the case. If anything, I’ve seen a perpetual expanding plateau rather than an upward growing line. Progress is only a dream and a speculation; standstill is the norm.

Try To Be Funny, But Can’t

I thought my stories are funny when they are in my mind, but when they come out, they are so … unfunny. I don’t know why it is the case. I mean during the process of coming out, the story loses its spunky-ness and verve. How can that happen? Or probably it is not funny to begin with and I mistake it to be funny.

Cliche Follows Me Like A Shadow

Among the list of frustrations, the platitude is the most annoying. It feels that everything I say is a cliche. I think this is partly the fault of the English language–it has this relentless appetite for something unsaid before. I mean in other languages, quoting an ancient book can be a virtue, but in English, it will only get you labeled as a relic, antique, passé, or worse– a plagiarist.

27 thoughts on “Hitting A Plateau

  1. Popping in! Have always enjoyed your writing as it put a smile on my face whatever the topic! In fact you have a quite original style and I looked forward to your posts. Please keep at it and think of writing a book. You have it in you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I always find many of your stories amusing and funny. I also think you have a unique story telling voice and that’s what you should nurture instead of comparing yourself to other writers. Although they are brilliant they are different than you are and as a writer we must find our own voice.

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    1. So true. Thank you for your encouragement. Our own voice is very hard to develop and feel good about. I feel that my style is not good enough and if I emulate others, I become even a worse version of myself. It is hard to choose the direction… often it is just a mess.

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      1. It’s definitely difficult and I think we can be our harshest critique sometimes. It’s good to be inspired by other writers but trying to write in their style definitely doesn’t work. I think at this point most of us are still figuring out and developing our style byt hopefully we’ll find it soon.

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  3. So much to unpack. First, you tend to be overly self critical. This can be good but not if it depresses you. Second, you are so familiar with your material from mind to paper, thinking about it and writing drafts. But your reader gets the finished product, fresh, funny, touching, whatever. Third, you read great literature and if you expect to get there on any timetable, you are bound to be disappointed. The odds are stacked against you. I remember exactly when I realized I could never be a great writer. I was on the umpteenth draft of my novel while reading Jonathan Franzen’s “The Corrections” and I knew I could never even be a Franzen. But I love writing so it is always satisfying to me. I also love your writing. Unfortunately that is coming from a non-great writer. But you are ahead of me and way younger. Enjoy your writing and see where it goes.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was thinking of replying to this comment earlier, but I have to gather my thoughts to do that. It is hard to have a balanced view on criticism–either it is in short supply or it is overboard. LOL. You are right. I am bound to be disappointed. I just feel that I will never get there and my writing is quite disappointing. I say this with a laugh. My disappointment often makes me laugh for no reason. Well, who’s Jonathan Franzen. Let me read him so that I can find the best reason to give up, which I’ve decided to do anyway. This will be just a confirmation.

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        1. Thank you for your kind words. I know I’m too naive to think that I can reach whatever I imagine. Knowing the reality, I am thinking of changing the direction of my writing to something else, for example, writing language learning posts or books. I mean my level is good for that and I just need to make a plan to do that.

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  4. I like this post and actually laughed at a few things you said only because I can relate! I think your writing is wonderful. But I understand your dilemma because I went through this about 4 months ago and only recently did I get over this hurdle and delve back into writing.

    My problem NOW is that I’ve been under the weather and don’t have the energy to write as much as I wish.

    I hope this feeling passes for you as it did for me. Part of it might be getting “burned out”. It was this way for me.

    After taking some time off from my writing, it enabled stronger fervor when I returned as does a much needed vacation.

    I didn’t leave my writing entirely during that time; I still kept my toe in the waters by posting a few extremely short posts now and then, but they were few and far in between.

    It turns out that my feeling of being burned out wasn’t from writing, but from my lack of purpose in life in general.

    I’m sorry for rambling. I have since done something different though since I’m writing again with renewed vigor. Not sure the reason, though.

    I hope you aren’t leaving us!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. i am glad you’ve overcome it. For me, I am thinking of giving up writing altogether. i suffer from the same issue. I think I have a purpose in life, but it is often the purpose of survival. I somehow feel that this purpose is too low for my taste, but for certain reasons, I was wired into it since my depressing childhood. It is not that I don’t have a purpose, but rather I don’t believe the purpose I think i should have is a good purpose.

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  5. This entry is fluid and vivid. Writing about the plateau is a good thing. Just like in weight loss, a plateau is an experience one must undergo. Keep going. You will eventually get through this phase.

    While mimicry is one of the ways to learn and muting your own voice is part of your technique, you will find that at the end of the imitation the most valuable thing for a writer is the original voice.

    Joy and light 💜

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  6. As for funny, it could be that other people are finding things funny that you may not even have intended to be funny. I have a certain mental picture of you and I do find it funny to read about the way you interact with your environment. I mean that in a good way!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I find that when I attempt to be funny, I’m not. But when I’m just being my self and not trying to say something funny, people laugh their heads off. It’s still a mystery to me.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. While we should always try to improve our skills you should still just be yourself. I enjoy reading your stories and find them fascinating and sometimes educational. The very prolific short story author, O. Henry, said, “I’ll give you the whole secret to short story writing. Here it is. Rule 1: Write stories that please yourself. There is no Rule 2.”

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    1. Thank you for saying this. I have nothing to write today and has to go to my last resort–venting frustrations. LOL. And that is sweet encouraging words you have there for me. The problem is one’s old plain self is something one is not satisfied with. One wants improvement, but only succeeding in the delusion of progress. That’s just life. Yes, you are right– just please oneself and let it be…

      Liked by 1 person

  8. You are what you are. Does anybody else write exactly like you? Could anybody else write exactly like you? I doubt it. Maybe the best that any of us to do is to put forward our unique take on life and see if people resonate with it.

    Having said that I guess it is a problem if you yourself don’t like what you’ve written – in the sense that it is demotivating. I sometimes/often feel that way. I think I sometimes get fed up with the persona I have created – the persona behind the writing. I suppose I get fed up with myself.

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    1. Yes, you are right. The plain old self is too familiar and too boring and too predictable. How to make one love oneself unconditionally? I mean it has to be an unconditional love no matter how defected we are in reality. I am like that person who expects to see a pretty image in the mirror, but only sees a plain old face staring back at me. That is not me–I want to say even if I know it is me. And with the passage of time, the image is not improving. Sadly.

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        1. Hmmm, yes, I need to find something I can believe in. Sometimes I feel that I don’t believe in anything. I believe in skepticism. LOL. Wish I can change, change, change.

          Liked by 1 person

        1. I grew up trying to please people who don’t like me (actually don’t like children in general). So it is a struggle to love oneself when one always has the fear that one is not lovable.

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