Fellow writers: do you find that your belief in your abilities waxes and wanes with the days? I’ve been writing for ten years, but only this year entered the ranks of the published. I’ve a huge month looming in November–the release of my second novel and my first attempt at NaNoWriMo–and how I feel about everything just keeps shifting back and forth. One moment I’ll thrilled at the thought of the challenge and I’m really excited, and the next I’m scared out of my mind. I start panicking and wishing I had more time to work with “The Magic Council” before I let it out.
I realize as I edit how much I’ve grown as a writer, and while that’s definitely a good thing, it makes me worry about the quality of the first novel I released. Reviews have been good and I’ve gotten positive feedback, but I’m definitely a perfectionist, and I just KNOW that I’ll never be satisfied with the book, even though I spent years editing it, listened to beta readers and their suggestions along the way, and can recognize the time had come to get it out into the world.
THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT
When my confidence really sinks, I remind myself that it’s a good thing to realize my work isn’t perfect. You can’t grow as an artist–heck, you can’t grow as a person–until you realize that no matter the raw talent you possess and the perspiration you pour into your work, you still have room for improvement and always will. Recognizing that fact is the first step to making those improvements. If I didn’t worry about my manuscript and making it as good as possible, I wouldn’t be going through it one last time making minor edits that, honestly, I’m really excited about, because they’re small but I think they make a big difference in making the text more readable.
For me, remembering this aspect of my doubts–focusing on the benefits of not being over-confident–helps boost my confidence back to a healthy level. I’m curious: how do other writers deal with doubting themselves? For me, the worst moments come when I look at a passage I just loved and thought was great when I wrote it, but now I realize it needs a lot of work. What parts of the writing process boost or sink your belief in yourself? I’d love to get a conversation going about this!