Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Writer Wednesday: Self-doubt


Right now I'm revising a book that might be my favorite book I've written to date. I haven't revised it in a while, and that distance made me fall in love with the story and characters all over again. Great, right?

Yes and no. If you're like me, when you read a manuscript you truly love, you get that "Oh no! What if I never write another book as good as this one?" feeling. Self-doubt is awful, but we all experience it. After I got my first book deal, I felt unable to write another book. I thought that was it. One book and my career is finished. Of course it wasn't, but that fear can be crippling.

As I revise, I keep trying to tell myself that it's a good thing that I love this book so much and that I should ride this writer's high and work on the next one immediately. Still, doubt keeps creeping in. It's sort of like being on a roller coaster—feeling great one minute and like a failure the next.

How do you deal with self-doubt? Do you push through and hope the next manuscript surprises you?

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

14 comments:

  1. I think that doubt can be a common thing for people- especially among creative people.

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    1. Yes, creative people are very prone to self-doubt.

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  2. A little self-doubt is healthy. It keeps you striving to stay on top of your game. If the next isn't as good, then you revise until it is! :)

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  3. I can relate to your feelings. All I know to do is just keep writing. And have confidence in yourself. Some stories may be better than others, but then some readers may like them better. If you're happy with them, then you've done what you wanted to.

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  4. Having distance and then, upon revisiting, finding an old manuscript to be good, is a "heady" thing. It plays tricks on your mind, because you feel you should be less satisfied (and wonder if you're delusional...) and yet you are so happy to find it is as good as you dared not hope.
    We need to give ourselves permission. Permission to call our writing good. Surprisingly, because it doesn't fit the narrative of the tortured artist, it's harder than finding fault.
    I'm happy you love your old story. I'm sure it's very good. You're experienced now, and you know.

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    1. It IS harder than finding fault. You are absolutely right. I wish it wasn't that way though. lol

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  5. I thought my last release would be my best one and that I can't ever write a book with the same amount of emotional punch. I was wrong, because I have two new ideas that incite the same amount of passion. Doubt is common and we can overcome it.

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    1. Yes, we can. I'm glad those new ideas are going well for you, Medeia.

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  6. I didn't get this insecurity when I was writing my own books. Somehow I know the next one will be even more brilliant, lol. But when I write for my clients and love the stories, I worry if I'd be able to hit this height with the next one in the series. We can only show up for work sincerely and let things fall in place (or not). I don't know if we have control over this.

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    1. We don't really. Not every book will be our best even if we give it our best.

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  7. Every time I'm writing a book, I think, "This is crap! I should stop now." But if I finish it and go back to it later, I think, "This is brilliant writing! Why didn't I know that?" I think that's normal. But then by the time it's on shelves or published online (if it's a freelance piece), I can't stand reading it because it feels icky!

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    1. Yeah, I don't read my books once they're published. The only exception is doing readings for signings.

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