Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Self Doubt

This is a toughie.

Most writers will experience this at some point in their writing lives, and a lot of new writers will experience it frequently.

It can happen for a number of reasons, and it is a completely natural way to feel. The most important thing to do is to conquer it, and move on.

I woke up this morning, thinking about what I wanted to sit down and write about in my Novel. A little doubt popped into my head, and it actually inspired me to write this little piece for the blog. But, it is now late afternoon, I'm in work, and I'll be damned if I can remember what it was that inspired me. It's a shame really as I wanted to use it as an example.

Never mind.

Instead I am going to write some examples of why self doubt may crop up, and then I am going to make suggestions on how to conquer it. Sound good? Well it does to me right now. So, we'll have to see how it turns out when we get to the end.

Trouble with a particular passage, description, dialogue, characterisation etc.

  • Read! Go and read a book that you've enjoyed, one that you know is good. The sort of book you want to write. Learn how it is done by reading. You'll come back to work inspired and full of ideas.
  • Google it. Others will have come across this problem before. They will have joined forums, and asked the questions for you, so you don't have to. Be cautious here though, make sure you check out a wide variety of sources before deciding on the best way to achieve things. Styles vary, and like fashion, things can go in and out of style very quickly.
You go back and re-read a passage, you wrote previously, and you think it's crap. Hey this happens. The general advice on this is that first drafts are allowed to be crap. The first draft is where you get all your ideas out onto paper and then you write it.

  • So what do we do here, do we revise it or leave it alone? Well, if it makes you fell better once you've tidied it up a little, revise it, but don't linger on it. You're job as writer is write something, sell it, and then write something else.
  • If you want to leave it alone then leave it alone, but bear in mind the advice above.
  • Excellent advice on revising here on Holly Lisle's site.

You read something like this.

This is tough. It may not hit you now as you read it, but it will come back and haunt you. I've described what I want to achieve to my family as being akin to becoming a pop star or a famous actor. It is a tough business. The only advice I can give here is to stick at it, and follow your dreams.

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