Monday, February 11, 2013

The Pain of Writer's Doubt

Writer's doubt feels a lot like this

I mentioned before I'm taking a brief hiatus from VOODOO QUEEN due to creative difficulties. While I'm waiting for the answer to my dilemma to magically come to me, I decided to start revising HUNGER.

As a recap, HUNGER is a paranormal romance by my alter ego, Catherine Swift. I wrote it for Nanowrimo two years ago and at the time thought it was marvelous to the point of being intoxicating. I remember days when I'd try to work on it and would end up reading it instead, in wonderment at how incredible it was.

Needless to say, I was pretty optimistic when I opened the document to work on it for the first time in years.

Imagine my disappointment when after reading the first page, I realized it was the worst book ever written.

Obviously you can't expect a masterpiece when you write the rough draft in only 30 days, but still, there was so much to fix that I didn't even know where to start. I felt so overwhelmed I ended up closing the document in despair.

It's no wonder artists are known for being emotionally unbalanced. I think every writer goes through this despair at least once (if not multiple times) for each book. It doesn't just suck. It's downright painful.

Luckily, I felt better the next day and didn't feel too bad about myself as I worked on the first four chapters. Then I sent the chapters to a beta reader. I got so depressed by her edits that I cycled right back down and haven't touched it since.

Now I have a hurdle to clear: opening my book again and diving into the scary edits.

One thing gets me through the dreaded rough draft. I try to focus -- sometimes with great effort -- on my original vision of the book. In my head, it's still a masterpiece. If I have faith that I can put what's in my head on paper, I can use that vision as a motivation to continue.

No matter how much it hurts.


  1. Time can be such a mean tart.

    However, consider how far you've come to see what you've learned and how to apply it to revisions.

    My (one and only) NaNo novel was a complete disaster in its first draft. Three years and a lot of rewriting later, it's pubbed!

    Chin up. ;)

  2. Keep the faith! I am editing my book that I poured my heart into for NanoWrimo this year and am now treading water as I make edits, rearrange and weave it all together. It's my first book and it's quite daunting but I'm happy just to be writing (perhaps a bit more neurotic, but who cares?!)

  3. I don't show my work to anyone until I've drafted it at least 5 or 6 times - because I know what the feedback would be! I'm pretty sure the story falls between the two extremes you mentioned here - stay strong and enjoy the process!


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