Now that the holidays are over I’ve been getting back into writing regularly. I’ve set myself a weekly goal of four hours for working on the story I wrote during NaNoWriMo. I’ve been happily adding and deleting words, doing some research about various aspects of the story and trying to piece it together like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s a long way from being done but I’m enjoying the challenge of getting there.

At the same time I’m usually reading two or three books at a time. Its just what I do. There are times when the books I read are enjoyable or good enough. And then there are books that take my breath away with the beauty of the writing, the cleverness of the plot or with characters so real that they feel like friends.

Those amazing books are the trouble. Why? Because those are the books that make me question my own ability to write. I start questioning myself. I could never come up with a plot twist that surprising or clever. Are my characters like cardboard compared to the fully fleshed out people I’ve just read about? My descriptions are pretty good but to make someone stop and reread them just to experience the beauty of the words? That’s a lot of pressure!

These feelings of inadequacy have been creeping around the edges of my mind lately and at least this time I’m recognizing them before they get out of control and I stop trying. I don’t want to lose the momentum I’ve built up while working on this story.

This time I keep reminding myself that I wrote this story for me. That it’s totally self-indulgent and the challenge of putting it together and getting to know the characters and their motivations is fun. That this is play and not to be taken too seriously.

So far this is working. Mostly because it isn’t anywhere near ready for anybody else to read it which is good if it keeps me going. It may never be ready for anyone else to read and that’s okay too.

Do you experience this?

I would love to hear how you keep that devious voice of inadequacy at bay.

12 thoughts on “Confidence?

  1. Never question yourself against other writers. Just be yourself.
    You will always find those better, and worse.

  2. I’m the same – no confidence. I’ve written many drafts. That’s as far as they’ve gone. I don’t have the courage to try to publish them (even self-publishing). I’m too worried that they’ll get bad reviews. I’ve re-read them, and I swear they’re better than some of the books I’ve bought and read. Still I don’t have the nerve.

  3. Rob says:

    I say, treat it as you would anything else in your life. If it makes you happy and you feel fulfilled by doing it, carry on. When it becomes a burden, something that you don’t look forward to returning to, hour after hour, day after day, that’s when you may want to reconsider how you’re spending your time and energy.

    Also, keep in mind, just because a certain passage or body of work speaks to you, doesn’t necessarily mean it will leave the same lasting impression on another reader, nor does it make it a universal win, even if it made you laugh out loud or weep openly. It’s what spoke to you, in a certain place, at a certain time in your life, but that’s the beauty – and, yes, at times, the beast – of creating and sharing art!

    Who says that your story won’t do the exact same thing? Perhaps there’s that one reader out there who has yet to experience that magical moment and, maybe, just maybe, it won’t happen, no, it’s not meant to happen until they stumble upon (insert brilliant title of your book here)!

  4. Douglas A Hlousek says:

    Keep at it! You are correct; write for yourself! I’m wending my way through what I believe will be the last draft of the memoir. Finding photos and events out of sequence, wordiness, erratic sentences!
    I picked up a couple of James Patterson books that have surprised me. Two from the Heart has two short stories with interesting concepts you might enjoy & short, one or two page chapters! Missing Hunger Games? Try his Crazy House!

  5. Jeff Palmer says:

    You’re an amazing writer , I’m proud of your ability to take your thoughts and put them into words. Keep at it .

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