Being a writer can be hard. Especially when you are just starting your writing path. I should know: I have published a lot of short stories and poetry in various collections and online, but still haven’t gotten around to publishing my first novel. That’s why it is sometimes hard for me to even think of myself as a writer. That’s why I sometimes struggle and wonder if my book is ever going to come out.
The truth is, I have written several books. But I am still struggling to reach out and finally release them into the world. It is not the actual process of publishing a novel that I am worried about, but what bothers me the most is the teeny tiny voice in my head that whispers: “You are not ready. This novel sucks. Nobody will ever read your book.” And so I procrastinate, write some more, and put off publishing my writing ad infinitum.
Of course, none of this makes sense. Besides being a Writer in Wedges, I may also be a Worthless Writer, but hey, the only way to find this out is to actually publish my writing. If I never publish my novel, I will never know how it might have turned out. More importantly, I will never have received the criticism that is necessary for me to improve my writing and to make my next novel a good one.
I must admit, I am a perfectionist. It is real hard for me to finish my story and just be done with it, even after extensive editing. I just find it hard to accept that the editing process cannot go on forever. The old saying that “perfect is the enemy of good” is truly the story of my life. Despite the fact that many people have praised my writing, some of them already acknowledged authors, I still doubt my ability to write fiction. This may not be a particularly useful blog post for those looking for writing inpiration, but at least I’m keeping it real.
What gets me the most is the comments of my family. Like, I have written some really dark stories. I am talking murder, violence, crime etc. When my Mom reads them, she always says something like “Why can’t you write about something more cheerful? Why are you so obsessed with those criminal minds? Why can’t you just write about regular, happy people on a sunny day?” Now, I know that my Mom, even though well-intending, is hardly a literary connoisseur: she likes feel-good stuff which helps her relax after a long day. I am perfectly aware of the fact that she does not understand the basic laws of writing fiction (there has to be a conflict of some sort), and is in no way qualified for literary criticism. However, since she is my Mom, her comments get me every time.
Also, if I write about a character who has family issues, she always finds a way to make this about her and invent a reason to be mad at me. Often times I have to explain to her that not all my stories (in fact, almost none of them) are autobiographical and are based purely on fiction. Because that’s what writing is, basically: inventing stuff. But she still refuses to believe me. Ugh.
Anyway, dealing with self doubt can be really difficult. It seems that one negative comment about my writing can ruin my day, especially if I am already in a bad mood. Those days, I wish I could just dig a hole in the ground and hide in it. Unfortunately, that’s not how life works. So I push myself forward, even when I don’t feel like it.
When I am particularly frustrated with my writing and feel like everything is going wrong, I like to do something relaxing that helps me recharge. Being around people is no good at those times, so I usually go for a walk or a run. Nature allows me to gain some perspective: it also magically fills me up with positive energy so that I feel that everything will turn out just fine.
Also, when I need some reassurance of my writing abilities, I like to read my beginner stories. They are just so bad that it’s funny. Comparing them to my newer work, one can definitely see progress. This gives me hope that, one day, I will look upon my current writing and laugh because it will seem terrible in comparison to how I will be writing then. But for that moment to come, one thing is sure: I must keep writing, and not allow the bug of self-doubt to bring me down.
Have you ever felt this way? Hopefully I am not alone in this. Do you have any reccomendations on how to get out of writer’s blues?