You've Reached Your Writing Summit. Where to Now? Is the Only Way, Down?

Wire sculpture
Wire sculpture | Source

Striving for Perfection

Most of us always try to be the very best we can in all aspects of life. What do you do if, as a writer, you believe that you have already produced the best writing you are capable of?

It may be an article, essay, poem, short story, non-fiction book, or even novel that has set the bar so high that you doubt your ability to exceed or even replicate that standard again. But if that's the case, where do you go from here?

This is the quandary that I find myself in at the moment. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that my writing is so good that it can't be bettered, but that I have written something that I a so proud of that I don't think that I can ever better.

The Catalyst

The catalyst for my striving to come up with a great piece of writing was actually multiple rejections I received for a number of poems I submitted to a publisher for a national poetry contest here in Australia.(see my hub "Submitting Creative Writing for Contests and Publications").This was quite a kick in the pants for me and gave me the incentive to try harder and to improve my writing, especially poetry.

I also had another somewhat ego-deflating experience around the same time. After receiving generous comments on Hub Pages for my children's fantasy series "Between the Floors" and encouragement to publish it, I decided to submit it to a book publishing website for editing and possible eventual publishing as an eBook. Peer reviews on the site however were far from encouraging and made me realise I had a long hard road in front of me before I had something good enough to publish.

Source
We Go On: Charity Anthology for Veterans
We Go On: Charity Anthology for Veterans

Please purchase this wonderful anthology. All proceeds go to veterans' charities and it contains my short story "Just a Humble Hero".

 

Writer's Block

So, I hear you ask, what is this incredible piece of writing that can't be surpassed or even equaled in quality?

Well before I reveal that let me say that my standard of excellence may not be as high as others who have studied English Literature in higher education or teach or have taught these subjects at school. I have no formal education in the field of writing and in fact I still struggle with the intricacies of grammar and punctuation.

Therefore, although I sometimes write articles about subjects that I am passionate about, and occasionally a short fiction story, I consider myself basically a poet. I am still quite proud of most of the poetry I have written despite the publisher's rejection and comments that they weren't 'perfect', however this must have had some effect on me and I had been struggling to write another poetry hub since, contracting a dose of the dreaded "writer's block."

I had been listening to a program on the radio discussing the Australian B&S Balls and was inspired to write a hub "The Bachelor and Spinsters Ball (an Australian Tradition)".Though this was primarily an informational hub, it did include a poem I wrote on the subject. This actually broke my poetic drought and gave me a jolt of inspiration.

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The Raven narrated by James Earl Jones

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The Bar is Set

The B & S Ball hub had proved quite popular and left me feeling good about my writing again but it isn't the piece of exceptional writing this article is about. A few days later I was sitting at my desk with the intention of writing a poem and a few verses of Poe's "The Raven" kept invading my thoughts. I had intended to write something inspirational, but if "The Raven" was going to be my muse on this occasion it was more likely that whatever poem I produced would be more on the dark side.

The result was in fact..A Midnight Rendezvous - the 32nd Psalm

The first verse:

'Twas midnight when I chose to wander

Down the dark foreboding streets.

For my failed attempt at slumber

Is just one more of my defeats.

.................

King James Bible:Psalms 32:1
King James Bible:Psalms 32:1 | Source
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I have no idea where the idea for the subject of the poem came from but the words just seemed to flow onto the page (I always use a journal or notebook to write my original drafts).

When the main character said "I recite my favourite psalm", I had to pull out my Bible and read through the Psalms until I found one that was appropriate. I thought Psalm 32 suited the moral of the story perfectly. The fact that this character also turned out to be a priest also wasn't planned. I know this seems weird, but It's as though some higher power was guiding my pen. I was also lucky enough to find an amazing old black and white photo on "Shorpy" that suited the poem perfectly and I used as the main image.

It was a difficult poem to categorize being both dark and inspirational, and could also be seen as quite controversial. I was hopeful but not certain that Hub Pages' censorship would pass it, and thankfully they did. Well, as soon as it was published the hub began getting comments and I was blown away with how positive they were and the number that began with "Wow!"

I know most of my fellow hubbers are very kind and rarely give negative comments, but so many of you said that this was my very best. The list of adjectives like "awesome, brilliant, amazing" used to describe the poem was also very humbling.

Where to Now?

Having written this poem on Hub Pages, then shared it on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and Twitter, I sat back feeling satisfied as I read all the accolades and generous comments. But then came the let down. As one hubber said, this poem was a couple of notches above my other poetry. So, where to now? How can I better this or even match it? If this is the best poem I can possibly write, or should I now concentrate on other forms of writing such as articles and short stories?

Or, maybe I should feel satisfied that my poetry has improved to this level and be confident that I can maintain this standard or even improve further?

I have tried to write three or four poems since "A Midnight Rendezvous - the 32nd Psalm" and everyone of them has ended up in the trash can. Should I be less critical and publish them anyway, after all everyone has different tastes and they will probably still find an audience who enjoys them?

Has anyone else had a similar dilemma with their writing, or is it just me that feels this way? I would love to read your thoughts in the comments section below.

Have you reached your writing summit?

  • No, I feel I can keep improving my writing.
  • Yes, but I feel I can maintain this standard.
  • I don't know, but I hope not.
  • Yes, but I love to write so I'll never stop.
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Comments 69 comments

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Hi Jodah,

I'm behind on reading these two poems and hope to catch up soon...however, I am thrilled that you feel such positive pride in your 'babies".

And that is merely how I view the issue of 'can I do better"...do something 'different' and soon folks will be saying..."just when I thought you couldn't do any better..." Write with your heart...I suspect you have much more to say!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Mari for your encouraging comment. I hope this didn't seem as though I have an inflated ego or something. I've just been writing down my thoughts and feelings and was frustrated I hadn't been able to publish a new hub, so I thought I may as well make this into one. You never know, it may help someone else.


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 2 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Far from it... you are sharing understandable feelings that we can all have from time to time in our journey.

I'd like to pass the baton (from Jo Goldsmith's 'Good Words' series) to you with a particular word... if you are interested, I'll e-mail you with more specifics. No pressure and let me know.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

I've written about this before, John, so I know exactly what you are talking about. When I finished my last novel, I went on Facebook and said that this is the best that I can write....which means what? What do I do if I already did my best? But my best changes with time. What my best is now may only be my tenth best in two years. I keep improving, as do you.

I also wrote once, after reading The Grapes of Wrath, that Steinbeck was brilliant for hundreds of pages in that book, whereas, on my best days, I might be brilliant for a paragraph....but those brilliant times increase for me...a paragraph today...another one in three days...then two in one day...that's what keeps me going, knowing that I am improving. I still can't be brilliant for an entire book, but my capabilities and my realities are getting closer to each other. :)


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Around here we use a football metaphor: Life isn't as much about the game as it is every play. Look only towards progress and not toward perfection which will burn you out.


RachaelOhalloran profile image

RachaelOhalloran 2 years ago from United States

Jodah, I want to say something to you and I want you to understand I mean it in love and kindness. It is not a reprimand. It is a long comment meant to make you look at this from another angle. So hang in here with me for a few minutes to read this.

You are always going to get good comments on sites like HubPages because we are here to encourage one another. Most of the comments are genuine, in my opinion - both good and bad. But I also think that if someone doesn't like something, they skip leaving a comment rather than typing something nasty or negative, and move on. (That's why we only see the good stuff.)

You, yourself, know how you feel about a work before you publish it, or you wouldn't hit the PUBLISH button. It would sit in your queue waiting for a time when you worked on it some more, so you felt better about it, to be able to click PUBLISH.

When someone says, "this is your best work" or "this was amazing, I've never seen anything better than this," or "you can't outdo yourself any better than this" -- you need to think about one thing.

They are talking about that particular TYPE of work (because you write all different kinds of poems and stories). But they are also talking about

TODAY.

TO DATE.

This is your best work TO DATE.

It is not that you will never write anything better. It is not that you are washed up and should quit.

It means that on such and such date, it was a gold medal day for producing a good article and for that one day, you felt great and you did great. It means that your inspiration was flowing that day and your poem hit home for the reader.

But you're not done. Because there is tomorrow and many more tomorrows after that, more topics that need to be covered and more poems that need to be written. You need to strive for more of those gold medal days.

You will always use the "best work you ever wrote" as your guideline or your measuring tool, but by no means does that mean you will never surpass it. It should be your GOAL to surpass it.

We all have days where we write something phenomenal and get great feedback, sometimes a HubPages accolade (Editor's Choice, Hub of the Day, etc.). But you'll notice the works you thought were great, don't receive the accolades you thought they would, and the works you thought were so-so, will get all kinds of gushy words or recognition.

It is in the eye and mind of the beholder. And you will grow as a writer as you continue to work as a writer.

Type this up and put it on a sheet of paper over your desk.

I DID MY BEST WORK FOR TODAY.

FOR EACH DAY AFTER THIS, MY BEST WORK IS YET TO COME.

I have it on the wall over my desk and it is my lifeline. It doesn't mean I'm washed up. It means I did great today and I will do even greater tomorrow. It is how we grow as writers. If you read some of what you wrote years ago, when your mind was not as worldly as you are now, you'll see what I mean. You may even had thought or wrote a note on it at the time that a certain poem was the best you ever wrote - when you were 18 years old. Looking back on it, it may not seem that great now because your measuring tool is different because you grew as a person and as a writer. Once you think you are washed up, re-read old work and re-read a recent work and that thought will banish itself, I promise you.

I'm off for a little vacation. See you in a couple of weeks :)


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Hi John,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts of frustration as to reaching perfection, if there is such a thing. All of us go through these same thoughts at some point. I realized that I have not published in 4 months! I have had a lot going on, but in reality I just came to the point that I do not want to publish just to publish without it being inspirational to many or helpful to at least one person. So, we tend to be our own worst critics. I think you have made a valid point that many enjoy different types of poetry more so than the other, and to me all of your poetry is amazing and appeals to many at different levels.

I think when you published your last amazing poem, you drew such great inspiration from somewhere deep inside and it just poured out onto the page. That is how it works sometimes. Please never stop writing by comparing one piece of writing to another.

The beauty of life is that we are always growing and learning. Wouldn't it be such a dull life if that were not the case? Some of the best artists in the world did not produce their best work until they were in their 80s!

God intends for you to use the wonderful gift He has given you, and so I look forward to reading your next poem with anticipation.

Hoping you are having a peaceful Sunday afternoon.


always exploring profile image

always exploring 2 years ago from Southern Illinois

Jodah, i don't know what i can say to make you feel better, it's all been said , but i do know you are a gifted writer. There are days when everything i jot down gets trashed, then all of a sudden i jot something down and find that i like it and will use it. I don't think you've reached the pinnacle of your poetry or stories. Having rejections from publishers must be behind you feeling down, just remember the great writers were rejected over and over again. When i get the dreaded writers block, i write about it, usually blaming my mean ole muse, who lives in the dark places in my home. That cheers me up and i'm ready to try again, and BTW, i love dark poetry and you write it so well. Let's get another challenge going, maybe we'll outdo ourselves. Cheers my friend...


Homeplace Series profile image

Homeplace Series 2 years ago from Hollister, MO

You've elicited outstanding comments. I cannot top them. I can just say, as a writer, or an athlete, you start over with each piece, each at bat, each game. Don't look back. Only look ahead. Do your best of the next piece, because it will be brand new, you've never done it, before. Best wishes! ;-)


jhamann profile image

jhamann 2 years ago from Reno NV

John,

Writing is so frustrating and it takes so much time and energy to create and you fill it with love and then you set it free. Hoping for the best. Honestly I battle a lot of demons about my own worth as a writer. But I do find that the act of writing makes me feel better, what a vicious cycle. Ray Bradbury said that if you read and write you just get better.

I believe these guys, I feel that if I just keep writing, one day I will feel confident enough to try to take some risks. It is really awesome that you were able to even start taking these steps.

Jamie


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Jodah, you express some very interesting thoughts about yourself as a writer. I empathize with you. I wrote a poem quite awhile ago that left me feeling I had reached the pinnacle of my ability to write poetry and wondered if I would ever write a poem again. The poem is deep, dark and very spiritual and I felt I could never do better. I let the poet within rest and went on to other things. Then one day a poem came out of me that was phenomenal and shook me to the core -- I still wonder where it came from, deep within I guess. The point is, I will never stop writing poetry or stories. I now realize that each poem or fiction story I write or have written is my best for that moment in time.

You are a poet, a creative writer, Jodah. It is in your blood. One of these days, you will find that there is another poem that wants out and it will tell you what mine told me: This is your best for this moment in time.

Now, I am off to read "Midnight Rendezvous".


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for coming back Maria. If you think I'm worthy of the baton I would be honoured of course. Not 100% sure how it works! but I'm sure you'll explain that in the email. I'll do my best, thanks again.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for that great encouraging comment Bill. I remember reading that post of yours on Facebook and I knew you would have written a helpful hub on the subject. After here I will go and check your hubs. I love what you say about being brilliant at times...maybe a paragraph today, two tomorrow etc but not for an entire book. It's the same with poetry. When I write a poem there is usually one or two verses that really stand out and although I am happy with the poem overall, these really seem to really carry the rest of the words.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Eric, thanks for that. I know perfection is unattainable but gives us a goal to aim for. But you're right we should only strive for steady progress so we don't become discouraged.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Rachael for that wonderful and wise comment. I love that inspirational saying and will definitely print it out and place it over my desk. I agree with what you say that if someone doesn't like something here on hub pages they usually skip commenting rather than hurt your feelings so you can't really take the comments as a definitive gauge of the quality of your writing. Thanks again, have a great vacation.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Such a kind and inspiring comment Faith. I look forward to reading your next hub as they are always helpful and inspirational. It sounds like you have been going through much the same as myself. You are right, we are our own worst critics and that some people write their best works in their 80s. There are some hubbers like Nellieanna and Max who are testimony to that. Thank you for your kind support. Have a great week.


The Examiner-1 profile image

The Examiner-1 2 years ago

This was very intriguing John, I also congratulate you. What I would do, if I were in your place, is still write poetry and find out whether I can write the same quality again. If I do write more of the same, why did I write that, and can I write better? I voted this up, shared and pinned it.

Kevin


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Ruby, thanks for caring and your kind words. I am already feeling better after writing this and getting it off my chest. Yes, all writers get rejections and we just have to roll with the punches. The same with writer's block. Another challenge may be a good idea, just need someone to stat one. Yes, I can feel another 'dark' poem brewing..lol. Take care.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for your support and valuable advice Homeplace Series. I'll pick up my bat again and try for another home run don't worry. Have a great week.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Jamie, your comment is greatly appreciated and I know you understand where I am coming from. Ray Bradbury was a wise man and I am not about to give up. You just need to get stuff off your chest now and then, and writing it down helps. Thanks.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Phyllis, it's good to hear comments from others who can relate to where I am coming from. I know this hub seemed very negative but it was just writing down thoughts that I would normally keep to myself and eventually get over in time. I will take the advice a I have been given and treat everything a I write as "my best for this moment in time". Please give me the name of those two poems of yours you are referring to so I can read them. Thanks again.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

I agree with billybuc; your best does change. I have removed most of my poetry from here so only followers from awhile back know how my poetry can change and growing in your writing makes that so good. I love when my mind brings me new thoughts and I am inspired many times by such good writers as you. ^+


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Kevin, your advice echoes a lot of the other comments and a I will surely take that sound advice. Thanks for taking the time to read, comment, vote up, share and pin this hub.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Jackie, thank you for confirming Bill's advice. I don't think I will ever remove any of my poetry. It is good to look back on my old writing and see how my writing has evolved. Sometimes we estimate how amazing our minds are and their ability to keep coming up with new ideas and improving our skills. I appreciate your kind words.


Phyllis Doyle profile image

Phyllis Doyle 2 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

Good for you, Jodah. I think you have read the poems, they are Walking on the Dark Side and Shadowy Dreams. Both of them just came with little effort on my part -- it is like the words were there, just waiting for me to put my fingers on the right keys.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean

Jodah, a good preacher may be remembered for his best sermon, and every week his parishioners flock to hear him not because they expect him to do better than this best, but because he always has a good sermon.

That poem was truly a cut above the rest, and it helped to establish that you're good. I for one, will remember it for a long time, and I'll keep reading you not because I want another one like it, but because your poems are always good.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you MsDora, that comment about the preacher was a great example for me. Puts it all in context. I needed that insight, much appreciated.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 2 years ago from Southern Georgia

I'm not a poet by any means so I can't comment on whether a poem is good or bad in most cases. I can however speak for myself in terms of writing short stories and having my own favorites among them. Let's face it John, we write on a site with other writers who want to encourage each other, as well as get encouraged themselves. Not a bad thing at all, but really not conducive to getting real criticism which is needed to improve one's work.

I've not been writing long enough to be comfortable being a critic, but I do know what I like in a story or book length piece. Writing isn't all uphill, one has to go through peaks and valleys to get where one is headed. In other words, enjoy the journey and don't worry about the destination. :)


travmaj profile image

travmaj 2 years ago from australia

Hi John, I'm diagnosing a classic case of Writer's Block. I'm sure we all suffer from it from time to time. Well I certainly do. You have also written a very concise and descriptive piece about the ups and downs of writing. It's a meaningful article and I'm confident most will relate to it with relief, in the knowledge we're not alone when we feel uncomfortable with the muse. . So, clearly, you can still write extremely well. Poetry has a way of reconnecting on its own terms. It will happen. I wrote a hub on the poet Dylan Thomas (his hometown) he wrote the most beautiful words but agonised over every single one. Sometimes for weeks. So we all have our dilemmas. I know without doubt there will be a poem from you soon. I've just rejoined Vic Writers after a break, great monthly magazine, always informative and supportive. If you are not a member already Queensland Writers might help the inspiration. All best wishes, no doubt you will press that publish button soon. Cheers, Maj


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Randy, thanks for reading and the great comment and advice. It doesn't really matter whether you are a poet or other type of writer, the same rules apply. I will stop stressing the little stuff and enjoy the journey.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Travmaj, what an interesting and helpful comment. Yes I guess it really is just a bad case of writers block I am suffering. Maybe I should look into Qld Writers as you suggest. I appreciate your help. Have a good day.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 2 years ago from Central Florida

John, you should never stop writing; you're too talented to accept defeat. As far as topping your last poem, wait until the next muse speaks to you. I know when I write poetry (I started as a poet), I can't force it. I'll get a first line in my head and scramble for the pad and pen before it leaves my head. Sometimes I can keep it going until the end and other times I have to return to it.

I don't think it possible to reach our summit as writers. We grow with each piece. If you write something you're not satisfied with, put it aside until you are. There's no rule that says you have to post every day. Yes, you should write every day - even if it's only for yourself.

You're not done my friend. You've only just begun!


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

I think we can always go onwards and upwards. Your poetry is good; I thought this one was your best but poetry is subjective. It took me by surprise as you'd gone into deeper territory.

I find that my writing is better when I feel passionately about something or when I know a lot about it. An idea might suddenly hit me and it's all there; I have to get it down as quickly as possible as I'm scared I'll forget it.

Good, better and best are in the eye of the beholder. We can all strive for a personal best but I don't think we ever reach it because we evolve and so do our ideas. Each idea feeds on the last, develops and grows.

I agree with bravewarrior. Don't stop writing, whatever you do! Keep the ideas coming, keep trying new ground, keep pushing the boundaries! Inspiration will come.

Good writers do all those things. Sometimes they succeed, sometimes they come up with a masterpiece, sometimes they fail. They still keep going because it is a passion, a driving force, both of which you seem to have in abundance.

You can fly to higher places and we'll all be behind you.

Ann


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

Jodah first great hub..made me go hmmm? I think we all strive for perfection and yet we fall short in our own eyes.. that alone keeps me reaching for the furthest star.. a great way to look at writing progress though voted up and perfect


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

You may have unlocked a door with the piece that got such excellent reviews and was several notches above your typical contributions. Don't be afraid to keep exploring. Expect great and unusual things from yourself.


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Brilliant! You certainly have your way of making all writers and think and do.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

You're trying too hard. The muse is always there and will return when you least expect it. You can't force it out, it will tell you what to write. I love your poems and I know you've got a lot left in you!


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Hi John, looking at the comments to your hub, I think so many of us can relate. I can empathize with the desire for perfection. But I also think perfection is an illusion. Our ability to move others is what makes the act of writing so important. I also think that things move and shift internally for writers as they explore their inner world on paper. And those shifts allow growth. You can't force them, but you can nurture them. Consider joining a writing group that focuses on critiquing work?? I find it most helpful


Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

Gypsy Rose Lee 2 years ago from Riga, Latvia

I agree that the world of writing is like a roller coaster. I love it when I get rave reviews and then think how I can even improve things. I don't think I have yet done all I can do and still have a long road to go. Passing this on.


Anna Haven profile image

Anna Haven 2 years ago from Scotland

I haven't read your poem, I will have to go and find it.

Your honesty was refreshing, I do however think that your feelings are only a small moment in your writing journey.

Every day we experience new things and changing emotions. We continually evolve as does our writing.

In the future you will not only meet but also exceed that high standard that you have reached. I have complete faith in that.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for your kind words of support and advice Shauna. I guess this hub eventuates from your suggestion to write something every day, so that has worked well. I won't give up, especially with all the kind support I have here at HP.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Wonderful words Ann, thank you. One thing I have going for me is that I haven't confined myself to a niche - not saying that's bad, if you are an expert at something keep writing about it. I like to experiment and push boundaries, and I enjoy writing too much to stop. I feel it is my artistic outlet. I think it was the publisher's words that affected me most when he rejected my poems. He said "at Black Inc we only accept poetry that is perfect" he repeatedly said mine wasn't "perfect"...and that got in my head. Is anyone capable of perfection? How many "perfect" poems are out there? I know I shouldn't have taken it so personally. Anyway, I'll keep keeping on.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Frank. Glad this hub made you think about things. I appreciate the kind comment and vote up. Thanks again.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Hi Flourish, I am amazed by the incredible comments and support this hub has generated. This may in fact prove to be my most successful hub judging by the traffic so far, which is kind of weird. I will continue to strive to write the best I can each day and explore new boundaries. Thanks you for your support.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

DDE, thanks so much for reading this and the kind words. I am glad it is making other writers think and consider why and how they write. Have a great day.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

You may be right Mel. Sometimes I do try too hard and expect too much. When the writing flows without being forced the "best" seems to miraculously appear. Thanks for the support and advice.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Audrey, your kind comments echo so many others. I kind of feel silly in a way for writing his, but then again proud of all the amazing comments it has generated, so at least I got people thinking. I may take your advice and join a writing group that focuses on critique. Much appreciated.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Gypsy. I love your poetry. If you can keep improving so can I :). Thanks for sharing this hub and enjoy that roller coaster ride.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for your faith in me Ann. I think the feelings that created this hub have already started to subside because of all the support and encouragement I have received. Thanks for being part of that.


carrie Lee Night profile image

carrie Lee Night 2 years ago from Northeast United States

Jodah: I truly share your frustration. I think sometimes politics have a hand in what gets published. Keep trucking :). Don't give up...some people are never satisfied no matter how much you improve. Everyone has their own preferences :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Carrie, so glad you can relate and I appreciate your support and encouragement. Yep, I'll keep on truckin'.


mary615 profile image

mary615 2 years ago from Florida

I am my own worse critic. I used to write poetry here because I enjoyed poetry, but I have found over time, I'm better to leave poetry to people like yourself who have a true talent for poetry.

I may have three poems left here that I have not unpublished. I will write other types of articles, but no more poetry here.

Good luck to you.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Mary. Funny how most people on hub pages say that if they are hub hopping for instance and coe to a poetry hub they immediately skip it. I am the opposite. I don't care who has written it, poetry hubs are the first I a drawn to to read. Don't be discouraged fro writing poetry if it comes fro the heart. But I can relate, I am my own worst critic at times.


Dana Tate profile image

Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

I understand this Jodah: Part of the reason I don't publish as often is because I must be inspired or passionate about something to write. It disturbs me that I can't just type out something the way I see some authors do. But the bottom line is I can't. My goal is to put out motivating, inspiring work. When someone says " Oh, this is your best work" I'm always flattered because there all my creations. But I don't feel overly praised or disappointed because I know that is their opinion. everyone who reads your work will always have a favorite- different from another- because the beauty of words is they speak to people differently. You wrote a piece that spoke to his soul and his eyes were opened to the fact that you have grown as a writer and the more you write you can only get better. In my humble opinion the world is to big and there is too much to learn to reach the top as far as being an intellectual. You have reached a point where you are comfortable in your skin...just keep writing, and writing, and writing.


annart profile image

annart 2 years ago from SW England

Glad to hear it, John. I don't think any poem's perfect, but again it's in the eye of the reader. Your tenacity does you proud. Ann


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks Dana, for your support. I'm glad you can relate to this and know where I am coming from. I know every one has different tastes especially in regard to poetry, and no one is perfect.Do n't feel bad about only publishing something when you are inspired. It sn't a competition after all, and your work is always inspirational.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 2 years ago from United States

I have always enjoyed your writing and doubt very much that you have reached your peak. I did not read all the previous comments, so forgive me if I am repetitive. The opinion of one publishing house is not something that should be allowed to make you doubt yourself. I think it is obvious you are a good writer as evidenced my your following.

There are many publishing houses ane time is on your side. We all continue to improve, but I know sometime my efforts are much better than other times. After all, we are only human. Keep up the good work! Your are a gifted writer.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for taking the time to read this and for your words of encouragement Pamela. You are right that I shouldn't take the words of one publishing house to heart and I do put more importance in the opinion of my followers and fellow writers. Thanks again I will keep,on writing.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

Jodah, I am so encouraged and inspired by your topic and approach to the subject. From the heart of a teacher, I believe that one never will arrive totally at the summit; there is always more to learn and grasp until the final call. You have some great quotes here and your advice is sound.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you Teaches12345 for that wonderful comment. I was hoping it would encourage and inspire others to continue to strive for the best they can. Glad you enjoyed the read.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

You're welcome, John ...you are so kind as well. I am so pleased to see you are publishing away, and your ode to Robin Williams is beautiful, heartfelt and powerful. Never stop writing for it is your God-given gift! Thank you for your kind words of encouragement to me too ... in you're looking forward to reading my next hub. That means a lot, and has inspired me as I have done so ...I believe I am back in the groove now : )

Bless you and yours


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

hi Faith, it's a sad fact that it took something like Robin William's passing to inspire me to write another hub. The good thing is is that his death touched me so deeply that I didn't worry about the quality of the poem. It was just the thought and tribute that was important to me. Thanks again for such kind words, and I'm glad you are also back in the groove. Bless you too.


Mary McShane profile image

Mary McShane 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Hello John, I've been away for a while due to some family issues, but I'm back trying to catch up on my visiting. I have to say this hub took me by surprise.

When someone says you have written your best work, it doesn't mean you can't do any better. Although they mean well, a writer can take those words as a death sentence - to mean that no matter what he writes after this will be of no consequence. But the person doing the praising is only saying it that way to be able to extol the virtues of the work because they want to convey their enthusiasm for your work.

If critics were (negatively) criticizing all the time, it could work in reverse and the writer would stop writing all together. By praising, it is their way of urging the writer forward to write more - Can you top your last work?

In some respects, our "Press" can work for or against us. Writers bask in hearing "This is your best work!" and then when they come down off that high, they may think as you did when you were writing this hub, that they'll never write anything better.

It was a death sentence to Ernest Hemingway from 1929 to 1937. He believed his own Press clippings, which is anathema to a writer. After he published The Sun Also Rises in 1926, he didn't publish again until 1929 - A Farewell To Arms. When it was made into a movie in 1930, he didn't publish another best seller until 1937 - To Have Or Have Not. He believed he'd always be a reporter and never a best selling novelist. He was a successful short story writer, not a novelist - until later in life.

If he had stopped writing all together, believing A Farewell To Arms was the best he could do, we would have been deprived of For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Old Man And The Sea, Islands In The Stream and so forth - I hope you get the idea.

You will never know if what is deep within you will be your best work until it is published for the public to read.

You are a great writer. Yes, you are. Now get busy being even greater.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Good to have you back Mary. This wise comment is both humbling and inspirational for me. I had written a hub "Submitting Creative Writing For Contests and Publications" after having a number of poems reject for one publication and others failing in contests I entered them in, and was feeling rather rejected. I needed to do something outstanding to lift my spirits and confirm I really have writing ability. This obviously inspired me and I came up with "Midnight Rendezvous - the 32nd Psalm". Well, the comments for that blew me away. However, it also resulted in a writer's hiatus for a couple of weeks and a feeling I couldn't better it..so I wrote this. I decided to give poetry a break for awhile and try writing articles/essays instead.....then Robin Williams died....I had to write a tribute poem for one of my favourite performers...that unfortunate event helped to get me back on track. Anyway, I appreciate your support and advice. Thank you my friend. P.s. If Ernest Hemingway can do it so can I


Mary McShane profile image

Mary McShane 2 years ago from Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Now, you're talking! Yes you can!


sallybea profile image

sallybea 2 years ago from Norfolk

Jodah

I don't think we ever reach the summit because there is always some joy or sadness to write about. I take my inspiration from the outdoors, so a walk in nature refreshes me - perhaps shows me something beautiful or really ugly to write about. Even a bus or train ride can give one inspiration... so my advice would be to keep on riding on buses or trains and taking walks in nature.... that way you will never be short of anything to write about.

Sally


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thanks for reading Sally, and for your sound advice. I know there is always something to write about. I walk in nature often...it is all around me....but it must be 4 years since I rode a bus and at least 15 since I travelled on a train. I used to work for the railways actually... :)

My problem doesn't seem to be finding something to write about but keeping up to the level I feel I have set for myself. I mean I love to write poetry but most of my hubs since Midnight Rendezvous (the 32nd Psalm) have been articles, apart from the tribute to Robin Williams. i need to resurrect my poetry mojo. I can sort of feel it slowly returning.


lollyj lm profile image

lollyj lm 17 months ago from Washington KS

I loved this hub and your personal thoughts. Writing poetry or prose is a labor involving our blood, sweat, tears, joys. After several published books and poetry, I've reached my personal summit, said everything I had to say. But you have more writing in you and I hope you continue writing for a long time to come.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 17 months ago from Queensland Australia Author

Thank you for your kind and encouraging comment Lolly (Laurel). I am glad you enjoyed this hub and my thoughts. I agree that writing certainly involves lots of blood, sweat and tear. Congratulations on having published several books and poetry, but I hope you still find more important stuff to say, even if only in hubs here at HP. I'll continue writing while my fingers can still type and or hold a pen. Thanks.

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