September 7, 2011

The Doubt Monster

So here we are, more than a week after I've written my novel's outline and I've only written a few pages of my novel--and they're not stellar, let me tell you.

I've found the most effective way to write is to initially just get the stuff out of my head onto the page. I try not to think too hard or make the wording perfect--so the result is dull, chaotic mush. I am an editor, so it's really hard to do this. Later is when I go back and do the editing and revising that makes the work worth reading.

But in the meantime, when I'm in the midst of writing the mush, I'm plagued with the thought--was this all a mistake? Who do I think I am? Why in the world do I think I'm a good writer?

This niggling doubt about my writing abilities in general then transcends into major doubt about my entire story: Is it too boring? Is it believable? Is there ANYTHING unique about it at all? Why should I bother to write this junk? Who is going to read it? What if I work for a year or more on this project and then nobody wants to represent it or publish it?

Sheesh, shoot me now! I'm only a few pages this what I have to look forward to for the remainder of my time writing this novel?

Luckily, I have heard several authors say that they hate the initial "writing" part of writing a novel. They know it can be a painful, gut-wrenching experience. To put your ideas out there is a scary thing, and to put so much of yourself into a project and then have it rejected feels like a rejection of your very self.

The good thing is, there's an end in sight.

Once I'm done proverbially throwing up all over the screen, I can go back through my work and massage the mush into something worthwhile (kind of a gross mental picture, I know). I'm an editor, so that's what I do best. It's just a little more difficult to do it to my own work. Thus the need for an editor and a writer's group, which I've discussed in a previous post.

All in all, I need to remember that writing is a journey, and I'm going to experience several emotions along the way. It's helpful to remember that most other writers feel this way too.

So when the doubt monster attacks, I need to tame it. It's either that, or quit.

And I'm not quitting for anything.

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