What do you do when you’ve finally finished your novel, but you look back at it and hate most of what you wrote?
I’m sure most writers have at some point in their careers looked at their completed work and decided that it would never see the light of day. A few months ago I just stopped writing. I didn’t write any posts, I didn’t want to look at my chapters and I didn’t want to read other people’s writing. In fact, even in the grocery store I avoided the book aisle like the plague. It was as if I was angry with writing in general and wanted to have nothing to do with it. Then a few weeks ago I decided to take a peek at the opening chapter of my novel. I read it as if it had been written by someone else. And I really liked it. So I read a little more. Then I read the comments from the editor I had sent my novel to . He had a lot to say, some good, some not so good, but all very helpful and encouraging. Then I remembered something I read somewhere and I realized that instead of just dropping this project which I had worked quite hard on, I could work at it some more and make it really good. I was already on the right track and all I needed was to stick with it. But that was the hardest part for me. I have a history of not sticking with things, not because I can’t do them, but because when something doesn’t turn out perfectly the first time I tend to give up. It turns out that I’ve been standing in my own way. So my new goal is to fix what I can fix and then send it out into the world and hope that people like it.
Here is what I have learned from the last few months of wallowing in self-doubt:
I may truly just be a bad writer.
My internal editor may be taking control of my creative side.
I may be a perfectionist, which is pretty much a death sentence for a writer, because who can produce a perfect first draft?
I might be afraid of failure and it’s easier to just give up.
Lastly, I might just be a whiny pants who needs a swift, hard kick in the butt to pick up my novel where I left off and work at it until it’s the best that it can be.
So, today I’m deciding to do that last one. Hope to hear from you about your moments of doubt.