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Dino Speaks: Stress, Writing, and You.

Fri Feb 23, 2018, 11:47 AM


Feeling Stressed?


    If you haven't noticed, I haven't been posting a ton of stories these past couple of months-- finishing school, having a full-time job, playing on a ton of sports teams, and going out with friends all contribute to that. However, I've recently come to terms with all that and have been able to tell myself that it is NOT my obligation to stay updated with this aspect of my life 24/7, and that it is perfectly okay to take a break.

    With stress increasing in everyone's lives, I wanted to cover a couple topics today that I've seen are prevalent within the writing community especially, and my thoughts on them. These are things I've thought about and tried for the past little while, so I figured I would share. This journal may end up going in a hundred different directions at once, but at the end of the day, I just want you to be able to consider that your utmost responsibility should be to yourself-- the community is always still here when you're ready to return, so take things one step at a time, and be patient with yourself. ♥

A Writer's Rights and Responsibilities


Sounds almost like a tongue twister, doesn't it?

Anyway, one of the first things I wanted to talk about is this-- YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO PLEASE ANYONE. And I feel hypocritical saying so, because I try my hardest to please other people sometimes. But in regards to this journal, what I mean is this-- you are NOT obligated to publish something regularly, and you have the right to take breaks!

This is obviously easier said than done, but I personally needed to hear it at some point in my life. You are taking time out of your day to do something you love, and no one should be able to dictate that. Not only that-- you're doing it for free, and on your own time. If you're stuck on a chapter and really want to write something else, go do it. Yes, it can suck when someone has an amazing series but hasn't updated it in a while-- but you don't know what's going on in their life, and I don't think anyone just stops writing a series to spite someone.

Now of course, you shouldn't take your watchers for granted and assume more people should be reading your work just because you published one. That means not holding your stories hostage either-- "I won't publish the next one until I get at least 5 different commenters!"-- and look, I do agree people should show appreciation more because you never know how much it can mean to someone, but doing that is annoying and not the way to go.

That being said, people have no obligation to comment, just as you have no obligation to update even if a billion people are commenting.

I think a slight exception to this would be if you're paid to do something-- you can let the customer know you're having a hard time thinking of something to create, but you should strive to finish it in a timely manner and keep them updated. If they're actually paying you to do something and you're supposed to do it-- that's when I think it's fair to ask someone to complete something on time.

Yes, sometimes you should push yourself to finish a story and yes, look to improve your time management if you procrastinate a lot. But at the end of the day, it's your health and your writing-- something you do for fun shouldn't make you stressed, and you should be able to take things at your own pace!

The world will go on without your stories and art, so let yourself relax once in a while instead of overworking yourself. You may even find that in the end, it's more productive to take a break and come back to things with a fresh mind.

Sorry Vs. Thank You - Lessons I've Learned


Screen Shot 2018-02-13 at 8.37.21 AM by dinosauruses

I wanted to share this Tumblr quote I found above, because I feel this has helped me a lot in thinking positively and help me feel better about myself. If you're Canadian like me or just find yourself apologizing a lot, consider this-- after all, there must be times where you're thinking, "why is this person apologizing to me? I know they're doing their best!" So don't you think that at least sometimes, someone is thinking the same about you?

An example on this site specifically could be when someone comments on my profile asking where I've been because they miss me and care about me, and I usually respond with, "I'm so sorry! I've been so busy!", which perpetuates the idea that I have the obligation to be keeping up with everything. Instead, a, "Thanks so much for checking! Just a little busy but I'm working on some stuff" accomplishes the same thing in a positive way.

One more is when I post a fic I'm unsure of, and say something like, "Ugh I'm sorry for this piece of trash lmao and making you read it", which obviously is a bit of a joke, but even if I think my own fic is bad, why make others have that preconceived notion? I also feel like at that point, it looks like I'm fishing for compliments and it can make it awkward for the reader. So instead, I'm trying to go with, "Thanks so much for reading this piece-- I'm trying out some new writing techniques, so let me know what I did well and also how I can improve!"

Obviously, this applies to cases where you don't have to apologize. If you've truly wronged someone, this isn't the advice you should be taking, haha. You'll still catch me saying sorry at least 10 times a day, but making this small change is definitely one of my current goals, and I hope I can inspire some of you to try the same!


Some Last Thoughts


Now, one thing I didn't cover much in this journal that was consistent with the theme was the topic of mental health and how it relates to mental illness. This is something I have been having problems with as well, but the topic is so big that I want to cover that in a separate journal(s) and after a bit more thought.

And obligatory... these are my opinions and experiences. What may have worked for me may not work for you, but I just want to get across that forgiving myself for not always updating and learning to say thank you more have both really helped me personally.

What are your favourite ways to de-stress? How have you been trying to improve your self-positivity and love? What do you think of the thoughts and techniques I've shared above? I'd love to hear your answers, so comment or send me a note about this anytime.

Love, Dino. ♥


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:icontrynxx:
trynxx Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
i completely forgot that you're canadian and now i realised that my "roast a bitch then apologise like a canadian" comment got x10 better wow

i really like that sorry vs thank you thing??? im gonna start doing that wow its so much,,, better. huh.

honestly when it comes to stress i literally just nope the fuck out lmao. my fight or flight response usually goes for flight, not gonna lie. in phsyical encounters i'll probably fight but in stress or emotional situations?? hit that run button quicker than tryna flee from your fifteenth rattata in five minutes. this isn't the best method but honestly it's whats kept me sane all these years. whenever something is stressing me out, i take a break from it. this has let to shitty situations such as when i admined a group and it was dying bc the admin wasnt doing anything bc i was too stressed to and when i went on an official hiatus everyone literally left the group (which was p heartbreaking, tbh.) and its also made me forget about a couple commissions until even the commissioner forgot or just procrastinate for weeks. but its been really healthy in other circumstances too, it helps me sort things out and stop stressing so i can get back to it....or completely forget about it. its a 50/50 really.

recently i've been trying to work more on my way of dealing with stress because im under so much of it and i cant just run away all the time, sometimes you just gotta get your shit together and do it. which is hard, bc usually that involves me doing it then find more ways to run away. but at least im getting it done. i'll get there.
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Mar 30, 2018
LMAOOO I honestly thought of that when I wrote it, seriously. Loving the Canadian / Australian friendship we've got going on here, hahaha.

Yeah, I've found it really works for me-- not sure if it's for everyone, but always worth a shot!

Honestly, I think sometimes the best solution is to take a complete break. When I take half-breaks (like I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing, but I keep thinking and worrying about it), it just gets SO unproductive. So sometimes, I just need to step away from everything and I don't think there should be anything wrong with that. But I get what you mean, I think I can be like that with conflict, haha.

It's a journey yo, and I believe in you every step of the way! <3
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:icontrynxx:
trynxx Featured By Owner Apr 3, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
honestly i have a theory that canadians can become friends with anyone

i mean yeah breaks are healthy but most of the time when i do them i just end up not getting anything done. my breaks are constantly the half-breaks you described bc when i willingly take a break from something my mind is like "youre choosing not to be productive and fuck around and thats all you ever do you lazy fuck" and its really like. discouraging, lmao. i honestly think taking a break is my biggest problem, i need to be put into a forced environment like a classroom to get anything done. i have too much freedom at home. only at school i dont do anything bc i give zero shits about the content (outside of drama) and we're too broke for extracurricular classes in the areas i actually want to work on. fuck me, honestly. money would literally solve 90% of my problems rn sigh

thank you! its encouraging to have people rooting for me haha
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2018
Hahaha, I think your theory is correct! You should see us at hockey games or at Tim Hortons... people will strike up a convo anywhere. Then again, I've heard Australia is hot Canada, except instead of the cold trying to kill you, it's the bugs!

Yeah, that's fair. I had a similar problem when I was a teenager, I just couldn't take breaks without guilting myself. But I think that's just something you learn as you grow older-- I can now take breaks and be like, okay. I'll be ten times more productive now that I'm not blaming myself. But waaaaaay easier said than done and it took me years to get there. But man, I'm sorry to hear. I don't think it's very inclusive of the school to make extracurriculars and stuff paid. I think that needs to be more accessible for people, but I hope you're doing well.

Here for you, homie. <3
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:icontrynxx:
trynxx Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
lmao where did you hear that? not true in the slightest, the heat tries to kill you, the bugs try to kill you, the animals try to kill you, the ocean tries to kill you, the marine life try to kill you and even the fucking plants try to kill you. and we're not super friendly with strangers either, it really depends on the person but its a pretty normal place in that respect, not super nice like canada but not like outrageously rude, idk we're the country that uses "cunt" the most so idk what that says about us LOL

yeah, even when im not taking a break i end up doing nothing productive anyways, i really need to work on my work ethic. which is ironic, bc that requires work. please fling me into the sun im so done with myself oml. honestly yeah im mad that theyre extracurriculars in itself like if it can get us a job, it should be just as important as core subjects don't you think? its so stupid and now im angry and broke. woohoo for being a temperamental hormonal teenager amirite??? please end my suffering
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Apr 19, 2018
LOL fair, I guess I've just been really fortunate to meet a lot of nice Australians, hahaha. I mean like, for the most part they seem a bit blunter than North Americans, but really nice about it. Like, they'll tell you the truth straight to your face which I guess could sometimes be seen as rude but it really just seems more honest to me and then after there's not really any passive-aggression. ANYWAY I might be generalizing lmao but for the limited number of Australians I've met, that seems to be the case.

You live and you learn, ya know?? I think it can be hard to motivate yourself when it's something you don't love to do either. And personally, I need like, encouragement and approval from others to get motivated. So it doesn't come super easy, but I think you'll find a lot of motivation to do what you love eventually. And yeah, extracurriculars matter a lot more once you get into the real world (as in, the people skills you learn from them, etc.) so I think they should be more accessible and focused on.

Anyway dude, let me know if you ever want to rant or something-- I probably won't have great advice but sometimes you just need someone to listen and validate your feelings, ahaha. So let me know if I can ever do that for you. Tough times, but it'll be worth it in the end. <3
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:icontrynxx:
trynxx Featured By Owner Apr 21, 2018  Hobbyist Digital Artist
oh yeah, australians don't sugar coat shit lmaooo. very blunt. obv its a generalisation but its pretty accurate for the most part.

validation is a very good form of motivation tbh, so i try my best to reassure people as often as i can. i know it can go a long way. i'm still getting there, not quite fully motivated yet, but slowly and steadily im working on it. something that's actually helping me a lot is this personal development program my dad gave me access to - because he's a professional developer/personal developer/business coach/whatever other fancy name you wanna call it. i was skeptical at first especially since im like, 14 lmao, but apparently the target audience was teens and up with no real limit and he said i'm more mature than your average teen my age so i gave it a shot. turns out, i really see why people spend a lot of money on this stuff. really opens your eyes from a new perspective, i feel like im being called out by a recording lmaooo but it goes through things like developing passion for things and perseverance, so not directly motivation but if you can master those things, well, it links up quite nicely. and focus, that was a very helpful one for me. its a really good self-growth program and i'm already realising what i need to do to start getting shit done. anyways that was a ramble whoops idk i thought you might find it interesting or smth

thanks for that man, it's always good to have someone to ramble to. same here, i dont have much experience to base advice on but i'll always try my best and im here for moral support mate <3
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:icontsuyuekii:
tsuyuekii Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2018
Enough with “I’m sorry!” And much more “Thank you!”. I’ll take that advice. Thank you!!  :)
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2018
Aw, I'm glad! I find it's really helped me personally-- I've really stopped pitying myself and putting pressure on myself. It'll likely help you in different ways, but I think on the whole it's definitely just more positive!
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:icontsuyuekii:
tsuyuekii Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2018
Agreed. After reading your journal it came to me that it's okay to not post regurlarly as I once could and did; I don't have to feel bad about it. I do it for fun and to help me to go through my anxiety crisis, so I do it for myself and this can't, and won't, become a burden. So, thanks! :D
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Apr 5, 2018
Yes, for sure! Do things at your own pace, especially if you do them for fun. I definitely get anxious about not posting and not responding to people as well, and it all builds up. But in no way are you ever a burden to others. Thanks for commenting and let me know if you ever need to talk or anything else! <3
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:icontsuyuekii:
tsuyuekii Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2018
I thank you for posting this Love 
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:iconrialovesfanfic:
rialovesfanfic Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
This was a lovely perspective, with a lot of insight I look forward to implementing in my writing process. Thank you so much for sharing <3
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2018
Aww, Ria! I'm super glad to hear and thank YOU for reading about my experience! <3
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:iconrialovesfanfic:
rialovesfanfic Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Sure thing ^^
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:iconitbeajen:
itbeajen Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Honestly, I think I talked about this at one point when I was also feeling super stressed, but then I also forgot about it.

I remember when I would feel like I was pressured to write for the people. And at some point it drained me. I was completely devoid of all motivation, inspiration, and just will to write. I couldn't do it. I didn't want to look at a word doc anymore. And I disappeared for months at a time so I could have time to indulge in myself. To let myself relax and not feel like I have to write something.

Because for me, it all started with selfishness anyways.

All the fics I've written were initially for myself. I only published them because I had a flame and passion for them and I wanted to share it to the world. But if that flame dies? That's okay. It's okay to lose it. It's okay to let it flicker out, because you know, I don't think it's ever truly extinguished. We may drift between fandoms, because there's no way you could honestly dedicate yourself to one thing in life forever without at some point tiring from it; and that's okay. 

It's great to hear this again though, that we're never obligated to write something. Once I came to terms that I shouldn't be writing because I was told to, or because I was forced to, or because- well, any other reason/excuse that you can come with, it became so much easier to write again. And I've learned to love my works a lot more. Back then, there were some pieces where I've posted it up, but I genuinely hated them. But now after going back to them, I can see where my spark was. I can envision what it was I was trying to convey back then.

But, ah, honestly, long story short, I just think it's okay to take a step away from writing every now and then to indulge in yourself and to take care of yourself. Your health is important, of course to you, but also to those who care about you. And I hope you're doing well and will continue to do well. It's okay to have a rough spot in life every now and then, because you'll get back up, you know? (:
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2018
Thank you so much for sharing this! <3

I think a complete break is needed a lot of the time. Because even if you think you're taking a break, you might have things at the back of your mind that exhaust you. So sometimes, I feel it's best to totally blank out and do my thing for a bit.

That being said, I'm really glad you reignited your passion for writing, and realized, as many others fail to, that you don't HAVE to write for a certain fandom, even if you're "known" for it. I think a lot of people put pressure on themselves and lose the reason they were writing in the first place.

What you said, especially the last few sentences, is super encouraging as well. Thank you so much for your comment, it honestly made my day hella better. You're very reassuring as always, and I truly appreciate that. <3
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:iconwindmeister8:
WindMeister8 Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2018
Ah I totally get it. I think every writer goes through such a period before coming to some sort of realization (hopefully). Some just go through the cycle again lol. ;P

Three years back when I first started writing, I could finish a single oneshot or chapter in a night because tbh my writing sucked. So my oneshots/chapters were pretty short. But when I got a betareader, my writing started improving a lot. Chapters got much much longer and it took me longer to finish them.

Now I know a lot of people dislike marketing and advertising but personally, I love doing it and thinking of ways to better get my work out there. :D So from observation, I figured having a weekly update schedule worked best and I consistently stuck with the schedule. But because it took me so long to finish writing, I ended up rushing a lot, especially towards the end of fics. It was only when my betareader came back to me saying that my latest chapter was dull that I figured I needed a break.

After that semi-hiatus I took, I haven't kept any strict deadlines for myself. It works out better this way because it gives me time to take mini hiatuses when real-life work gets heavy. :) But I think having some sort of flexible schedule is still good for organization. XD 

About the "Thank you vs sorry", err hmm I think it sounds cool but I have to disagree with some of the examples lol! :D If you're late, an apology is needed because you kept another person waiting and that's disrespectful. But I see what you mean. Also, the "I'm sorry for this trash fic" occurs a lot of times on dA. And although a lot of times, the writer means it genuinely, I've seen many cases where they really are fishing for compliments. 

I think if you're really unsure about a piece you posted, the best way is to say "I finished this and I'm not too happy with <how something went> but I don't really know how to fix it. Do let me know what you think!" 
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2018
Definitely had quite a few of these realizations throughout the years, haha!

I think you bring up some really good points. A beta reader or editor would definitely be good motivation as well and help you come out of writer's blocks at times if you have ideas. That's really good that you found what's best for you, and definitely true. I think in the end, it depends on the person-- some people find schedules really help them, and others (like me) like to write whenever they want. So you're right, it's about finding what works best for you.

And fair enough! You're right, I think I more wanted to focus on the fact that some people do expect a response too quickly but need to understand people have things going on in their lives. But you're right, a quick apology but I think not dwelling on it would be ideal. Yeah, I'm still not really a fan of completely just being self-deprecating and I really like the way you phrase that response. It's totally okay to experiment and not like something about your own fic, but taking a constructive approach is so much better for both you and everyone reading. I find people should be saying "thank you" more in general and be more grateful for what we have rather than taking things for granted. So that's more what I wanted to focus on there!

Thanks so much for reading and commenting again! <3
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:iconwindmeister8:
WindMeister8 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2018
Yup betareaders are definitely good to have! :D
And I agree, do whatever works for you because there's no point forcing yourself to adopt something that doesn't work for you. <3

Indeed. We all have our own real lives to focus on and I'm happy that so far, most of my watchers or friends on dA understand that! :love:
Oh yes beating yourself up over something is not good (even though I'm guilty as well when it comes to real life stuff). But yeah we should focus on moving forward and being grateful for what we have! XD
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2018
Hmmm, maybe I'll look into betareading soon. My problem is that I'm so inconsistent with my update schedule and too flaky to do it for someone else. Huh, maybe something to think about though!

That's honestly fantastic and I'm glad your experience has been that way, I'd say mine is pretty similar-- don't think I've gotten mean comments for not posting, haha. But exactly. Spread the positivity! :D
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:iconwindmeister8:
WindMeister8 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2018
Lol i think that's fine! It's easier to do it with friends since you don't need a barter system or deadlines to give them something to read. Would be more like a writing support thing. XD

That's good! I'm glad you have understanding readers too~ :heart:
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2018
Oh true, I like that! Huh, maybe something I'll consider in the future, then. Sounds like a good way to get inspiration as well.

Yeah man, it's really amazing and I'm super thankful for them! <3
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:iconwindmeister8:
WindMeister8 Featured By Owner Apr 12, 2018
Yup for sure! XD
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:iconobscurephoenix:
ObscurePhoenix Featured By Owner Edited Feb 23, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
I really needed to hear this again.

When I first started writing, I pictured myself to be that writer who updated on a specific day each and every week. I like things to be organized or at least semi-organized, so I wanted to apply that to my writing too. It was easy for the first couple of weeks or months. I had miles and miles of plot ideas, character interactions, and time on my hands, and I could entertain myself and other people with my writing; it was a win-win. I think it started happening without me recognizing it--but I started slipping. I'd rush chapters out to meet a deadline, to satisfy someone that was counting I'd update that day.

When I started rushing chapters, I lost that enchanting element to writing I loved so much. I felt disconnected from my own writing, like it wasn't mine, and I couldn't feel the emotional weight while reading my own work. After slipping and sliding between schoolwork assignments during these years, I wouldn't feel the drive to write, but I'd force myself to write, anyway, as long as it could entertain or brighten up someone else's day. This, for me, was the biggest, most destructive mistake in writing I made. The distance I felt with my writing became a barrier I couldn't climb. The fandoms I was in at the time felt like containers instead of communities I willingly visited. This was also the time that I fell out of love with writing. 

Two-ish years ago (give or take) I told myself something I needed to hear: write for yourself first and foremost. This can be seen as partly selfish by some, sure, but my writing is for me first and foremost. If other people like it, that's great! If my followers have any suggestions about anything, that's great too. I appreciate their willingness to interact with me and their voices definitely won't fall on deaf ears. I also told myself that it's okay to float between fandoms and to stop writing for series I wasn't as invested in. Sometimes I feel bad for being so inconsistent with writing and when I post. Sometimes I feel bad my last few pieces are all about the same characters from a series I love. However, since I started writing for myself, I started producing only the content that I thought was good. No more rushed pieces. No more messy plot points. I posted pieces I loved, pieces that resonated with me, and pieces that would hopefully resonate with readers. This was the time when I fell in love again with writing.

If someone disagrees with my viewpoint, that's fine. I just wanted to share what works well for me and what might help others, even if it's a little bit. 

Writing for myself and understanding the changing tides between real life and fandoms was the best decision I've made in writing.

I'm still in love with writing. 
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2018
Thank you so, so much for sharing this.

I think it's a really good point of view to share and I definitely need to incorporate some of these points into my own life. I feel like I get influenced so easy-- from wanting to please people and getting some sort of high off really positive comments just constantly coming in, to wanting to prove others wrong if I get negative comments and improve right away.

I also get inspired by others, and often rely on others to help with ideas. So I think I've reached a happy medium with my requests-- I do them when I want, and change them if I want. But still, I sometimes find myself putting out a mediocre piece because I'm tired of writing it and just want to get it out of the way, and I know someone wants to read it.

I think that you bring up a good point with really just writing for characters and series you love. I feel like your passion for writing and your best work shines through best when you do what's best for you-- whether that's taking requests for some people or just writing what you want, when you want... it's always just important to keep your own interests in mind.

And I'm so so glad you've found that love and passion for it and it's stuck with you. It's always a pleasure seeing you here and reading your writing, so I'm grateful for the lessons you've learned as well, haha! <3
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:iconobscurephoenix:
ObscurePhoenix Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Wanting that validation from others for yourself isn't a bad thing. In fact, it's what pushes us, as artists, to grow, to show various concepts and characters through our defined voices. Validation is one of the main catalysts for progress, for refining our skills and striving to do better, but overextending yourself to please someone can be negative depending on the circumstances. Remember how secure you are in your writing--how distinct your writing, your voice, and your portrayal of concepts are. I think this security balances out the validation we crave like a checks and balances system.

Yes, I agree! While I feel bad for abandoning some fandoms and focusing "too much" on others, I know I'm happiest with my pieces when it's for a character I absolutely love. For example, before you know who I wasn't deeply in love with a character, and when I'd write a story for a character I wasn't in love with, I'd check out what I wrote and posted months later, never being satisfied when looking back on them. Now, however, when I reread my stories from earlier--let's say August--I can skim through it and think, "Hey, that's a good line. I'm glad I used it." This stage of my writing, for me, doesn't feel like I'm constantly fighting my own writing, wanting to throw it away. I feel okay. Secure. And I hope many, many more people feel this way about their writing or come to feel this way about it.

Aww, thanks, Dino! It's always a pleasure to read your writing too!
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:icondinosauruses:
dinosauruses Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2018
I think that's a great point. It's definitely great to share ideas and listen to the opinions of others as ultimately, they're your audience. But yes, bending over backwards to please absolutely everyone isn't the best way to go about doing so. Moderation is definitely the key! I love hearing this kind of advice from you, ehehe. :D

That type of development is fantastic, and I'm really glad you found it. I think that's all part of learning!

On another note, I miss you. Sorry I totally ditched Discord with things going on, but I do miss and love you and hope to catch up soon! <3
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:iconobscurephoenix:
ObscurePhoenix Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
I've missed you, too, Dino! Don't worry, I know you're busy! Let's stay in touch as often as possible!
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