Writing

Doubts and Fears In-Between My Ears

I’m dealing with impostor syndrome really heavy this week, friends (I think).

I don’t like it.

I’m not really sure where it’s coming from. Last week, I had such a stellar writing week and I’ve finally reached the point I wanted to write about the most in this story. This is the climax, this is the end game! Yet I’ve struggled to write the past two days, barely reaching the 600 word count goal required to keep me on track to finishing this book by my self-imposed deadline. I feel like I should be flying through this section, barely having enough time to write and wanting to sneak in more and more words.

Not barely being able to finish a paragraph at all.

I’m really not sure what’s brought this on. I think it’s a combination of things, but mostly? I think I’m just terrified of the idea of both not making it as a writer…but also, making it.

I like using Twitter to connect with other writers and authors. It’s a great community. But it’s also filled with advice from all sides and angles and sometimes, that advice just…causes me to lose momentum, I guess. Even though I know, mentally, that every bit of advice is subjective and what works for others won’t necessarily work for me; if I don’t listen to a piece of advice, doesn’t mean I’m going to fail–or succeed–as a writer.

Even still, I read a piece of advice the other day that I’m completely not following. Basically, it was, “Don’t write the sequel to the novel you’re querying, write something new.” And I can totally see it’s merit and that’s what I’m doing now…sorta. I ended up writing the second book of a quintet while the first book was being considering for it’s first round of queries (so, didn’t follow the advice there), but then, after finishing the first draft of that second book, I’ve now moved along to a standalone (so now I am, in a sense, following that advice). I wanted to do it because I thought it’d be a good change of pace from the other series and after learning that the market for the series I really want to be writing isn’t truly there yet. But I also have every intention of going back and polishing that first book again, before going through and editing the second one. So now I feel like I’m doing something wrong, because I want to work on this series, even though urban fantasy isn’t in right now and, by doing so, I’m not doing myself any favors of actively writing something that will help start my career and help me become published.

And that’s sorta a shitty feeling.

Add on, too, with the book I’m currently writing, I’m just so terrified who I am going to offend by writing it. It’s a book I really want to write–and I know you can’t please everyone–but this book is risky. Really risky, with how the culture is based around periods, talks openly about them and is set in a tribal setting of which I have no cultural connection to. As I near the end of the first draft, I think I’m just scared that, once it’s finished, that means it needs to be edited. Then beta-ed. Repeat as necessary until I’ll finally reach that next step: trying to take it out into the world. And I want it to make it out into the world. I want to tell this story. I’m just terrified of how it’s going to be received and I think that fear is causing me to drag my feet in regards to finishing this draft.

*sighs*

I know this post is all over the place. It’s not very coherent and it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Basically, I’m just…I’m so tired of overthinking everything, when it comes to writing. I just want to bloody write, but I keep getting hung up on the politics of it, the desire to be published, questioning if I’m good enough, if these stories deserve to be told. And it’s effecting my writing, more than it usually does. I miss the days where I was a bit more naive about the industry and the politics behind it and, because of that naivety I was always killing it with my writing output. But, on the flip side, I was writing novels that would never get published, because of their quality and their problems. Yet, then again, I was writing with a love and passion that is weighed down by stress and doubt and pressure, now, and I’m not even published yet…

I just want to write, dammit. I want to write stories that I love, characters who I care about and do so to the best of my ability, each and every draft. So brain, can you please just let me bloody do that!?

Cheers.

5 thoughts on “Doubts and Fears In-Between My Ears”

  1. I can definitely relate to your experience of “too much information/advice” and times where, for whatever reason, writing moves more slowly. It’s also a bit cyclical. The doubts and anxiety further hamper good writing, which in turn re-feed into those same feelings.

    I think there’s an odd dichotomy between the need to “keep at it”, to try and to push ourselves, and the need to be patient with ourselves, and recognize that sometimes, because of where we are, writing even 100 words is a victory, because it’s 100 words we didn’t have yesterday. As long as we keep “turning the wheel”, we will eventually complete the story.

    I also think there may be some merit in sometimes “taking a break” from reading all the online advice. I’ve heard some advocate that they allocate a certain amount of time, on specific days, to reading online content. Some pick certain days, others work on their story first, then read online content, but in every case “the story” takes priority.

    But most of all I’m a firm believer that all one should worry about is “doing one’s best”, whatever that is. Sometimes we’re not as productive as we’d like, but sometimes life itself can be more challenging, more stressful. For my part, I have to keep reminding myself that some days I’m coming home from a long day at work, and then trying to write, and that is a far cry from waking up, well rested, and starting on writing first thing in the morning.

    1. Ahhh, Adam, I’m sorry! I read this comment right when I was leaving my computer and then completely forgot to respond!

      But, as always, thank you for such a detailed and thought out response.

      I was actually talking about this problem with a friend the other day and I think it’s one of the those cases where you just got to do you best at trusting your gut and knowing yourself; knowing when you’re just not writing because you’re being lazy and you need to push through that or knowing when you’re having a bad day and you truly need that mental break. And you’re right, it’s so important to not take all writing advice to heart and to remember that it’s all subjective and various for every author!

      I hope your own writing is going well!

      1. Well…I’m doing what I think is my best, so in that sense it is.

        Thank you. I hope today is proving to be a better day.

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