Yesterday at A Writer's Plot one of the plotters told us she'd been to a book launch and came away feeling despair.
She went on to explain why.
And I told her it's normal to experience self-doubt and everything else she struggled with at that moment. And it is.
I don't know a single writer who hasn't had those feelings. They come and go.
Yes, that's right. They come and go. They don't disappear the minute you finish your book, land an agent, get a publishing contract, or hear amazing things about how wonderful that book is!
They don't disappear.
They're always there... lurking... ready to jump out at you.
I have always thought those doubts, fears, etc served a purpose. Because for me they do... they're a reminder that I can't slack off and they make damn sure that I never believe the hype.
But let me just say this... addressing one of the specific fears raised yesterday.
You're never too old to write your first book and experience the events that follow. Age is not relevant in the publishing industry - your ability to tell a story is.
While I'm here... speaking about fears etc.
Don't hold so tight to something that you smother it! And remember, a sense of humor will go a long way.
Also, get some perspective.
It's okay to doubt but don't stop writing because of it.
It's okay to be a freaking lunatic some days... just don't make it an every day thing!
Step away from things when you feel them taking over. Please be self-aware enough to know when that's happening... don't wait for me to yell at you!
Everyone likes to hear nice things about their work (no matter what field they're in) but people don't have time to dish compliments out every few minutes or hold your hand all the way through a novel - just so you feel secure/better/whatever. You need to be able to get on with your writing/work without having constant reassurance.
It's time to believe in YOU.
Yep, that's right.
You have to believe in yourself and in your ability to tell YOUR story, your way.
Also, accept that self-doubt will always be around. Embrace it. It's there to make you work harder, learn more, and keep you on your toes.
It doesn't get easier.
(I just got better at covering the self-doubt with a thin veneer of self-confidence.)
Now go write something.