What the Heck am I Doing?

My biggest fear as a writer is that I suck but can’t see it, that I’m working and submitting and working and submitting and doing my best but nothing is ever going to happen because I lack the ability to discern that my writing sucks. The worst part of this scenario is that I can’t even ever hope to improve, because I can’t see what’s wrong.

At some level, I know this is… not exactly an irrational fear… but a useless one. I can’t not write and I can’t quiet the desire for seeing my name on a book someone else published. So, what am I going to do? All I can do is acknowledge the fear and move on.

Still, it sits in my gut lately especially. I’m in a preliminary discussion about a project that would be pretty incredible and cool and right up my alley. And I’m freaked the fuck out because no one seems to doubt that I’ll be able to pull it off.

No one except me, I guess.

But I have only ever been published twice! What credibility do I even have to say “Here’s my idea and here’s why I think it will work with your concept and…”?

None, people. I have no credibility. I am taking the spot of someone who has credibility. And yet, I am not going to move out of the way for that more credible person, whoever he or she might be.

In other news, I only have two seams left on the afghan. And that intimidated the shit out of me, too. I’m going to need to keep that afghan where I can see it at all times, to remind myself that I can do things that seem nearly impossible to me.

And also, to smother the more credible person with, when he or she shows up at my house to complain I’ve taken his or her spot.

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8 thoughts on “What the Heck am I Doing?

  1. Nobody knows what they are doing. All the maps are wrong because the road is different for everyone who takes it. You write stories that at least some people really enjoy. Maybe they suck and we all have terrible taste. But we’re happy, so who cares? I don’t think they suck or that we have terrible taste, personally, but in the end, I care more about the part where it gives me pleasure to read them. And it gives you pleasure to write them (I assume).

    I mean, maybe, we are all secretly lying to you and are in a conspiracy to mess with your head by making you think you are a good writer when you really aren’t, but that would be pretty weird and I can barely find time to get my laundry done not to mention finding time to gaslight someone I’ve never met for kicks. I’m pretty sure your other readers feel the same way.

    It’s good to care about making your stories better and all, but you’re already way past the “doesn’t suck” point to me and your other readers, or we wouldn’t be here.

    Just my $.02.

  2. emjb is right. Though I have met you, which, I dunno … makes me sort of even less inclined to gaslight you.

    But more than that, Shakespeare had only had two sonnets paid for before he got the third one paid for, you know? Stephen King (to move over to your genre) had only had two stories published before that third one. I’m not saying that you’re going to be Shakespeare in the long run, mind you. But everyone starts somewhere. You have had two more stories published than most people have, which suggests that you’ll end up having more than that.

  3. No, I definitely think that this is why blogging has been so crucial to my development as a writer and why I’ve finally been able to start submitting fiction. Because y’all are tangible proof that the fear is unreasonable.

    For which I am extremely grateful. Every day. As you know, when I get sappy.

    I’m just saying, that fear is there and it sometimes undermines me a little.

  4. Ugh. I didn’t complete my first thought so now that comment looks like I’m trolling for compliments myself. No. What I was fully trying to say is that every writer I know feels that fear. I’ve largely stopped trying to do anything more than commisserate (ie. “I feel your pain”) because more and more of what I read of the work of my writer acquaintences convinces me that a lot of them have absolutely no business putting their work out there. That isn’t the case with you and your work, though.

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