I know there’s still a stigma attached to self-publishing but let’s be honest, going indie takes guts. We don’t have a team of agents and editors and publishers concerned with our every move and stroking our ego leading up to publication day. There is no coddling or hand holding. There is no contractual or monetary evidence that we are actually talented.
We are alone and we operate on pure faith. That’s it. And it’s scary.
I’ve spent the last few months making a list of book reviewers to contact when I release my current WIP. It’s been incredibly tedious and since I’m a pretty voracious reader, I can’t help but find myself scrolling through every bloggers backlog and writing down books that sound interesting. It was the sort of distraction that started out innocent but just might end up being detrimental.
See, I look at these other books, at these traditionally published, plot-driven, shiny-cover-having books and I can’t help but feel…like I don’t belong. I usually don’t struggle with confidence when it comes to writing but as I get closer and closer to completing this project, I can sense those insecurities starting to surface. And instead of ignoring them like I usually do, I made the mistake of letting myself indulge in them a little today. I was comparing my story to every synopsis I read and torturing myself with a mental list of all of the ways mine didn’t measure up; of how I could have made it better. I determined that I was never going to be as good as these other authors and that maybe I was wasting my time with this whole sabbatical thing and that I should just give up.
Yeah, things escalated pretty quickly. But the thing is, these feelings are nothing new. Not for me and not for those traditionally published authors I was reading about. Writing is an emotional endeavor; it just doesn’t work unless you know how to be vulnerable. And along with being vulnerable comes fear and self-doubt. It’s inevitable and totally natural. So I can’t blame myself for being afraid and I can’t pretend it isn’t there. I can’t even put a stop to it. Because the fear will always be there. All I can do is feel it, and then keep writing anyway.
10 thoughts on “Keep Writing Anyway”
Reblogged this on literalstarvingartist and commented:
to be perfectly honest… a) I couldn’t have said it better myself. and b) I found that I was comparing my writing to yours…. ! It’s nice to know I’m not alone in the universe!
Wow! What a compliment. But I think it just goes to show that comparing ourselves to others is just a really bad habit that we’ve all grown accustomed to. Instead of seeing our own accomplishments and talent, we’re too busy focusing on the success of others–especially us indie authors. We know we’re the underdog but that doesn’t mean we have to act like the underdog. It’s time to take our confidence back and start focusing on what’s important–writing good stories.
As long as you’re loving what you’re doing, you’re doing good work. 🙂
Absolutely! That’s how I keep the faith.
Gods yes, this post reminded me of a video I saw a while back made by a guy named Derek Sivers. He went on talking about how what is obvious to ourselves is often amazing to others. Grab the bull by the horns and have faith in your own skill, because skill you do have. 🙂
That is such a good point. I always forget that even though I’ve become totally disenchanted with almost everything I write, that it might still feel fresh and new to someone else. Thanks for the reminder!!
I think I deal with it in a way similar to that of folks who have already posted: I’ve been with my story for so long, and I love other stories so much, and stories that admire show up in shadings of my work, but when pen comes to paper (or fingers to keyboard), the ONLY person telling my story is me. The entire literary world, despite my fears, is NOT actually inside my head reading and sniggering at every line as I type it, and I have to believe that someone out there will read my story and go “holy crap, then what?!” which is the best reaction an author could hope for. ^_^ Well, followed by “shut up and take my piles of money,” that’s also a good one, though not one I’ve personally experienced. A girl can hope. 😉
Ha! And here’s hoping! I totally agree. I constantly have to remind myself that what I’m doing, even if it isn’t perfect, isn’t pointless. Even if I’m the only one who ends up falling in love with what I’ve written, that makes it worth doing. Although I do strongly believe that there is a reader out there for every book, the hard part is just finding them.