Friday, January 6, 2017

Season of Doubt (#self-doubt #amwriting #wip)

I have reached that unpleasant stage in my current WIP the stage when I start to question whether it’s worthwhile to continue to the end. Every time I finish a sentence, I feel as though I’ve written essentially the same one a hundred times before. I’m pushing so hard to get my characters to follow my plans that they’re starting to feel like manikins rather than real people.

I look at the book and think, who’s going to want to buy this? What is this, anyway? It’s not really romancesure, my heroine’s going to finally get together with her true love, but right now she’s fooling around with the Devil. It’s not really erotica, either—many of the sex scenes are little more than hot snippets, intended to suggest a kinky relationship without my having to go into endless detail describing it. The book is part satire, part morality play, part guilty confession. Honestly, I don’t know what readers will make of it.

If I have any readers...

When I start to feel like this, I’m tempted to just stop. After all, why bother? However, I’ve written nearly 20K. No matter how bad it is, I’m reluctant to trash that much work (months, given the small amount of time I have to actually write). Plus, I know from experience that I frequently go through this sort of phase, what I call my “season of doubt”. Most of the time, I recover.

I wonder if other authors have the same experience. Some of my colleaguesthe ones who put “USA Today Bestselling Author” on their covers—bang out one book after another. They’ve got a new romance title to flog every month or two. I can’t imagine they experience this sort of existential crisis with every novel. They’d never make their deadlines if they did.

As for me, I write mostly for the fun of following my ideas down the rabbit hole and the satisfaction of the occasional raves from my readers. So why can’t I just sit back and enjoy the ride? Why do I almost always get to this point where I’m so sure my stuff is crap that I’m almost ready to chuck it?

I really have no idea. I’ve felt this way even about the books that I later came to feel were my very best. I try to remember that, as I force myself to write on. I always seem to emerge from under this cloud of doubt eventually.

I just hope that happens soon with this story!


Colleen C. said...

I am not a writer, but I have times like that.... it really bothers me... I just try to stay positive.... give myself something else to focus on for a while to brighten my day.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Thanks, Colleen. Normally I'm a very positive person, actually.

But writing is a sort of lonely business, where you're the only one who sees the progress...and you can be your own worst critic.

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