Needy writer syndrome

This is not so much a condition as a phase most writers pass through.  It’s the phase where you are bugging anyone and everyone to read your sonnets, screenplay, novella, or whatever.  If you have matured somewhat in your writing, you may want honest critique.  If you have not matured in it at all, you just want them to tell you it’s great.  My own travels through this phase lasted longer than I am glad to report.

Unfortunately, most people don’t want to read it, and they really don’t want to give you honest feedback, in case it completely blows.  Take it from me:  if you give something to someone to read, and you don’t hear back, either they just kinda didn’t do it because they really just didn’t want to, or it was a terrible piece and they are afraid to tell you so.

If you were going to be really smart about it, you’d pick up a copy of Stephen King’s On Writing, digest and absorb its lessons, and then you wouldn’t benefit from this blog post.  However, you probably won’t buy and read that book.  In that case, what you need is a writers’ group–and I don’t say that very often, because I have had very little luck with those.

The benefit of the writers’ group is they are going to read your work and critique it.  Their critique may be fair or unfair, smart or dumb, but they will read it, and you will likely improve.  You’ll get past Needy Writer Syndrome faster because you won’t be after everyone to critique you, and that’s all to the good.


4 thoughts on “Needy writer syndrome”

  1. It’s easy to understand why we all pass through (or continue to live) in this phase. Writing is solitary, but eventually intended to be mass-devoured. At some point those doubts begin to creep in – “Is this at all worthwhile?” “Will anyone ever want to read this?” – and you seek out feedback to push those doubts away. If you seek feedback only for positive reinforcement, you are probably just in an earlier part of this phase.

    I agree with what you say about On Writing. For me, it was worth the read just for what he has to say about adverbs.


      1. That made me laugh, J.K. I occasionally do a search through what I’ve written using Control F with “ly” as my criteria. As careful as I try to be, I find that I almost subconsciously insert a few unnecessary ones in here and there.


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