Writer’s Doubt

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Banish writer’s doubt? Or not?

In a recent guest blog post I was asked what my least favorite part of the writing process is. My answer was “getting my manuscript back from the editor.”

I learned I’m far from alone in that aspect. I also learned that even famous authors feel that way.

There are numerous blog posts and chapters in writing books dedicated to writer’s doubt and what all those red marks from an editor do our writer’s self esteem. It pretty much demolishes it for a spell. It knocks a writer on his/her fanny. The important thing is that we get back up. Immediately.

I recently got a manuscript back from an editor with a publishing company. It had a lot of red and requested changes. My initial reaction was…

what

But after I took the time to process the disappointment, I was able to focus on the positive and move forward. The positive comments the editor made held far more weight, kicking self-doubt to the curb. Well, mostly. 🙂

“I couldn’t put the partial down. I rarely say that so sit back, take a breath, and smile.”

“You have a nice, easy writing style and things flow quite nicely. Your gift for dialogue is great. It’s easy and natural like the people are sitting in my living room bantering or fighting back and forth.”

“The thing to keep in mind is that the mechanics of writing can always be fixed, but not everyone can do what you’ve done, come up with such a unique story and make it work.”

After making the suggested changes, I’ll be looking at a contract. (Yay!)

Since writer’s doubt is so prevalent among fragile writer’s egos, I’ve collected the following quotes that help me, and I hope will help you, too.


Don’t try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It’s the one and only thing you have to offer.
Barbara Kingsolver

Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.                     Steven Pressfield, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles

I feel self-doubt whether I’m doing something hard or easy. Sigourney Weaver

I think self-doubt, as grim as it can be, makes me a better writer. Stasis and hubris would probably be the death knell for my career. Kristan Higgins

I went for years not finishing anything. Because, of course, when you finish something you can be judged.
Erica Jong

The writer who loses his self-doubt, who gives way as he grows old to a sudden euphoria, to prolixity, should stop writing immediately: the time has come for him to lay aside his pen. 
Colette, Earthly Paradise

Writing was a defeat, it was a humiliation, it was coming face-to-face with yourself and seeing you weren’t good enough.
Karl Ove KnausgĂĄrd, Min kamp 5

The best writers I’ve read possess oodles of self-doubt, yet claw their way up with each work and remain humble. Boastful ones, not so much.
Don Roff

Bad writers tend to have the self-confidence, while the good ones tend to have self-doubt.  Charles Bukowski


After reading the quotes by Kristan Higgins and Don Roff, self-doubt isn’t all bad. As long as it doesn’t cripple you from creating, from moving forward, and from truly living.

Write on.

 

April (Word) Showers

I’ve temporarily changed the old saying, April Showers bring May flowers,  to April Showers Bring Lots of Writing Hours.

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Last April I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge,  and this year I’ve decided to head to Camp for the month of April. Camp NaNoWriMo. I will still be reading the blog posts of those participating in the challenge, however, and I encourage others to as well. There are such amazing themes by such creative minds, and it’s fun to be part of that community in any way I can. After all, supporting each other is what the blogging community is all about.

The past couple of weeks I’ve allowed myself to become somewhat lazy–okay, very lazy–in the writing department. I finished the 2nd edit of my mystery, Shear Madness, and along with it came the whole self-doubt crash. While it’s something every writer experiences, it’s hard to remember that while in the thick of it. So I’ve decided to let my manuscript cool a couple of weeks before beginning the next edit.

I’ve been wanting to write some short stories for a long time now, something I haven’t written for many, many years (we won’t say exactly how many 🙂 ) I’ve jotted ideas, plots, etc, but have continually put off the actual writing part. Until now.

For April’s Camp NaNo I’m going to let my hair down–or pull it up in a pony tail–and let loose the words to short stories I’ve been thinking about. I’m going to actually write them on paper–or computer–and have fun doing it. I’ve got my notebook, colored gel pens, computer, Camp NaNo coffee mug, my lantern, and the ingredients for s’mores set and ready to go. Heck, maybe I’ll even pull out a sleeping bag. 🙂

NaNo Coffee MugS'mores

It’s not too late if anyone wants to join in the camping experience. It’s among the most fun campgrounds I’ve ever camped. And rather than getting wet by rain showers, we get productive with word showers. That being said, it’s not necessary to commit to 50,000 words as is the case in November’s NaNoWriMo, but rather you set your own word count. While mine’s not set at 50,000 due to April being a busy month, I still set it high enough to challenge and stretch myself as a writer.

So–if anyone wants to join and has questions, head on over to the Camp NaNo website, or simply ask me in the comments section. I would love to help anyone get going on setting up a project. The more the merrier in this camping experience. And it’s one you’ll find yourself looking forward to every year. It’s too late to plan it at this point you say? No worries–and no excuses–there’s another Camp NaNo in July. 🙂

See you at Camp!

 Bonfire-Brainerd

Carpe Diem