Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Do You Ask for Help?

I'm one of those people that hates to ask for help. Why? Because I feel like I'm bothering people. This is something I've had to overcome over the years, but in certain areas of my life, I'm very stubborn about trying to do something myself.

And, of course, one of those areas is my writing.

Whenever I have a plot point that is giving me trouble or I can't figure something out, I am just bound and determined that I have to fix it myself. Maybe this stems from wanting my writing ideas to come solely from my little ol' brain - which is rather ridiculous when you think about it, considering I get some of my best writing ideas from reading other books or observing other people.

Of course, Rene knows that I have broken down and asked for brainstorming help before, and together, we always figure it out. But why do I resist for so long?

Am I alone in this? Do you resist asking others for help in your writing?

17 comments:

  1. Hm, I wouldn't say I resist, but I do wait till I'm in head beating against wall mode. I think because like you, I want to have come up with it, and because I'm pretty sure I can come up with good plot twists. But sometimes I get to a place where I hate the chapter, I hate the characters, and I want to pitch the whole thing. That's when I send what I have to my CP and say "HELP! Why isn't it working?" She usually asks a couple of insightful questions like, "Why does your protag need to do x?" or "What if you linked up these two ideas?" Then I slap my forehead and move on. She's brilliant that way!

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  2. I don't generally ask for plot help either, but I don't usually have plot issues. My problems are more related to the actual writing. Does this sentence sound alright? Why does this feel flat? Things like that and of course you are the one I go to.

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  3. I definitely think that all of us writers need someone we can turn to when we need help! I usually ask my mom!

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  4. Elizabeth Parker12:38 PM

    I used to go the other direction and ask for help from everybody and anybody, in the off-chance they might come up with a good plot point. Let me say, it wasn't helpful, just a waste of time. Now I prefer to network with other writers for fun and camaderie, but the work of actual writing has to be my own.

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  5. I totally resist asking for help. I hate to ask for help. Of course, it's when I need it the most that I break down. =P

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  7. I don't relish it. But when I write short stories I send them to my sister, my best friend and a friend who is a science writer. I can't afford a professional editor so I ask for their help. There was a time I would not ever ask for help but God doesn't want us to be that independant. For me it was pride and embarassment. Why can't I figure this out on my own. Now I am greatful that they catch the errors I missed and give constructive advice. Help is good.

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  8. I totally resist asking for help. Fortunately, I've belonged to the same writing group for the past 11 years, so I pretty much have no choice; I'm bringing in pages for feedback, after all! :) But I still have trouble extending that to other areas of writing life, like book promotion. I'll be banging my head against the wall, and then--at long last--realize that I could just ask my mentor what she would do. Same with research. Other people think nothing of calling up a total stranger for information they need. I would do almost anything to avoid that--which is terrible when writing historical fiction!

    I'm the same as you, though...I always feel like I'm bothering people. It's something I'm working on...sigh...

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  9. In every other area of my life, yeah, I don't like to ask for help. But writing's different because I have my trusted writing group for that.

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  10. I will ask for help, but only after I've tried, and tried, and eventually failed and then identified the problem. I agree, I prefer it to come from within, but when I'm stuck, I'll brainstorm with someone or a group. And dedicated brainstorming sessions are good anyway for getting new ideas.

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  11. I love to ask for help!! I want to get it right so I do:) If you ever want to ask me anything---do!)))

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  12. I hate asking for help. I always have, but when it comes to my writing, I love to have someone to spring board ideas off of. (I am still training my husband on how to do this effectively.) I had a friend in college who wrote, and we would spend a lot of time plotting and working through different writing issues. I miss having someone like that close by to just go to the coffee shop and talk writing with.

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  13. I guess I'm the exception because I never ask. Maybe because I really don't have anyone to ask! LOL! I don't belong to a writers group and don't know anyone in real life who writes, so I plug along and figure it out on my own. Probably not the best course of action.

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  14. Great comments, everyone. Looks like we have a split between those that don't like asking for help and those that don't mind at all! I'm like some of you who want to try and figure it out on your own - it's a pride thing. Something to keep working on.

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  15. I'm much better than I used to be at asking for help, but it still feels a little strange.

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  16. I do ask for help sometimes, but like you, I find it hard. Sean is often a good sounding board for me. And when I was still in Ottawa, my cps worked well with me too. But I've yet to find someone here who is good at brainstorming with me (other than Sean) and it's showing in my two stalled stories *sigh*.

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  17. I'm getting better at it. I think part of the challenge is finding people with whom you can brainstorm who have your best interests and the interests of your work in mind, and are not fueling their own agendas.

    As you meet people through the web or at conference or in groups or classes or wherever, you start filtering them out to find the ones who get you, will be honest with you, and at the same time are CONstructive rather than DEstructive.

    Initially, we all encounter the DEstructives, and that makes us warier about reaching out in the future.

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