sticking to your guns

I read a great post on the backspace blog about not losing hope and faith in your writing abilities. It’s something that I struggle with often.  I write because I love doing it. I write to bring a story to life. I write to do justice to my characters. But deep down, I write with the hope of being published. Of sharing my stories with others and finding an audience who will love my characters and their adventures.

Last night, I was tired and pushing myself to edit and suddenly this choking fear overwhelmed me. The writing was terrible. I hated every page I read. What happened to the magic that I saw there last week? Was it me or was it my writing? So I put the pages down and watched a dvr’d episode of One Life to Live from last week. Watching their lives implode, made everything better. It gave my mind a much needed break from work and let me relax. Then I came back to my writing later and found it was salvageable.

I think that is one of the worst things about being an unpublished author, you have no book in print to point to and say, “Look a bunch of someones thought it was good enough to become a book.” Instead, you battle all your insecurities in your head. You remind yourself of the comments you got from your beta readers. Sometimes you call or email one just to check that they weren’t being nice. After some eye rolling and sighing, they usually say something that makes you feel better. You puff up your feathers and you pretend you are the best thing since sliced bread. Then you focus and you keep going.

But it’s hard. Writing is a constant assault on your self-esteem. The trick is in picking yourself up and getting back to work.

I find a box of chocolates (minimum half a pound) or a couple pop-tarts seems to work as a good salve on my bruised ego.

What works for you?

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6 Responses to sticking to your guns

  1. berry says:

    The treadmill and punching bag. Great stress relief. Makes me feel great about myself.

  2. Gerard says:

    Being creative and also being satisfied with the end product is very difficult. You never know if it’s good enough or whether further tweeking will make it better or worse. I have a friend who is a songwriter (in his spare time). He writes some pretty nice stuff, but he always second guesses what he’s done and at times just can’t seem to get it right, at least in his mind. I know that when he starts to hate what he’s written and begins to doubt the worthiness of a song, he just walks away from it for a day or two, and then tries to approach it with a renewed energy. Sometimes a break will bring better perspective. Not sure if he uses chocolates, but i’ll mention it to him. 🙂 I’ve read what you posted…it’s good so don’t lose faith!

    • Thanks! I think it’s all part of the creative process. You have to doubt yourself, so that you can find what isn’t working and fix it. Usually when I am dissatisfied with something I write, eventually I go back to it and fix it. But it takes a while to figure out what is wrong. Like last night, I was reading a scene and something felt off. This morning I woke up and realized it dragged and I need to streamline it. Tell your friend not to lose heart! It’s the drive to get it right that will make him a better songwriter. But it can be a bad thing if taken too far. Then you’re just slapping your self esteem in the face and that’s no good for your work. 🙂

  3. Emma says:

    Seems like you were having a tough time last night. Well, let me tell you one thing, and trust me I’m not just being nice here, your writing is brilliant! Seriously, judging from what I’ve read on this blog and on your website, you are 100% committed to writing and you’ve got some great writing skills.

    But when I read through the posts on this blog (and also what’s on your website) I’m kind of surprised that there aren’t more comments. I’m sure that there are more people out there reading your stories and blog posts who simply haven’t found the courage to drop you a line and tell you that what you write really has potential.

    So please, to all you people out there that are following this blog, just leave a small note to say hello and maybe help to build up the self confidence of a promising writer. Trust me, I know how hard it can be if you’re a writer trying to get published and how important it is to get support–and I’m saying this as someone who’s tried to be a writer herself. Let’s help out each other!

    Long story short, your writing rocks and I want to thank you for sharing your experiences with us!

    • Honestly, I wasn’t going to post about it, but then I thought it’s a big part of writing–all the self doubt–and this is a blog about being a writer. I get dips in my self-esteem and my faith in my writing, but I try to come out fighting again. Thank you so much for all the kind words. It’s nice to meet other writers struggling to get their work out there. 🙂

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