Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Getting Past Insecurity and Doubt

So I woke up this morning with a serious case of crippling insecurity about my writing ability. After whining about it on Twitter it appears I'm not the only neurotic writer out there.

It makes me feel better that even successful published writers suffer the same doubts and often suffer the same struggles with their writing process.

Because somewhere in my masochistic subconscious I hold onto this silly fantasy that those same successful published writers sit down and write a perfect polished first draft the first time through and never have to rewrite or edit. On days like today, when I feel like I'm incapable of writing anything "good" and that every word I type sucks, as does the story as a whole, I tend to whip out that little "published-writers-write-perfect-drafts-first-time-out" gem and flail myself with it.

On good days, I know that every writer has to work hard to perfect their manuscripts and they're all as neurotic as I am so I'm in good company. Then I'm able to coach myself with the belief that if there are so many authors out there capable of being published, why not me too?

Logically, I know I can do it, but I think art and neuroses often go hand in hand. So maybe I'll just allow myself the luxury of wallowing for a little while, then I'll mentally slap myself around until I snap out of it.

Either way, I can't NOT write so my only option is to keep at it and convince myself that even if the first draft sucks, that's what revision and editing are for...to make it not suck!

But for today, I'll just keep telling myself: I know I can, I know I can, I know I can, I know I can......

10 comments:

alana said...

I can totally relate in regards to anything I make. Some days I feel great about it all, and others I feel like I’m just kidding myself (I don’t know about you, but sometimes it’s difficult to remember that other people’s talent doesn’t mean I don’t have any).

The important part is to ride it out and pick up the brush again. So good for you! :)

Glynis said...

Oh you wallow all you want! It helps I am sure. I do it, then find I have cleared my mind and start writing with a new view.

Fran said...

I regularly blog about this. It's one of the major complaints of writers - SOME of the time. You are definitely not alone.

ALL writers suffer from self-doubt at some point, even the best-selling published ones - in fact, it's probably harder for them, because they have work to live up to, and impatient editors waiting for the next book.

Consider this part of your calling, like Poets' Angst, and then JUST GET ON WITH IT!

Embee said...

Alana - I imagine staring at a blank canvas is much like staring at a blinking cursor!

Glyis - I think I'm done wallowing now. It only lasted a few hours today. *whew*

Fran - Thanks for the kick in the butt. Going back to write some more this evening!

Cheryl said...

I so know this feeling. Thank God it never lasts long. But I do wish it would stop happening.

Helena Halme said...

Did you just take a look inside my head? I swear by coffee, chocolate, blogging, wine, sleep. In that order and next day you'll be right as rain. It's a promise.

Adina said...

Someone once said : "Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it's so hurtful to think about writing."
After all the cure for writer's cramp is writer's block or the other way around, I don't know....LOL

Angie Ledbetter said...

Your inner editor/critic is in serious need of a gag! :)

Terri Tiffany said...

I think you've just popped into every writer's head. We ALL feel the same way as you do!! Always!

Kathryn Magendie said...

Gawd yes even published writers are scared and suffer self doubt and worry - sometimes even more after they pub their book(s)! And, though with practice, a writer can create a more polished novel after one or two are under their belts, there is always rewritting - no one can write a perfect first draft and say "done" -- if they say they do, they are probably not telling the entire truth! But I've never heard of a writer saying that...*smiling*

Relax and have fun with your writing. Just get the words down and worry about the rest later -- getting the words on the page first without self editing will free you - just pretend you couldn't care less whether you ever published - you are writing for YOU -writing something you'd love to read - so your audience is ONE - you....