I’m not a timid person. I like to think I have a fair amount of confidence. I don’t know where it came from; I just know it’s always been there. I never doubted my ability to do anything, ever. I just did.
And then I started writing.
And all of the sudden, all these doubts and fears and uncertainties started bombarding me. Are you seriously trying to do this for real? You think people are going to pay for this? You’ve never even read a Danielle Steel novel and you want to be a romance author? What makes you better than Sally Smut or Shirley Sexalot?
Whoa, brain. Slow down.
One neurosis at a time, please and thank you.
I think it’s probably safe to say most writers go through a version of this at some point or another in their writing careers. And, hey, if you don’t/haven’t, send me a note to tell me your all-powerful Yoda ways, yeah?
Whether you’re knee-deep in agent querying, polishing the pages of your very first manuscript before submission, or waiting for the release of your first—or, hell, your tenth—book, these fears can come out of nowhere (or maybe they’ve always been there) and strike at the most inopportune times. Like when you’re on a roll with your WIP and suddenly—WHAM!—you’re blocked with fears and anxiety and OMG how did I think I could ever do this??
So how do you get over it and not let it crush your progress, your spirit, and your faith in your own ability?
For me, I allow myself a day to brood and be Molly Mopesalot, and then I keep my head down and I power on. I write. And write. And then I write some more. And I give myself permission to stop comparing my in-progress works with the collective polished works of authors whom I yearn to emulate. These worlds flowing from my fingers aren’t perfect. And that’s okay. They’re in progress for a reason.
Another thing I think is important to overcome the niggling doubt is to put faith in the people you’ve brought on as your go-to team—your pre-readers and critique partners. You have to surround yourself with a team that won’t just blow sunshine up your ass, but will actually give you constructive (and sometimes hard to hear) feedback on how you can improve. You have to trust they’re going to tell you if your work is a pile that needs a major rewrite or if it just needs a little polishing. You have to trust they won’t throw you to the wolves with a piece of work less than the best they believe you can create. And having those people, that solid support system in place helps on the days when the OMG how did I ever think I could do this?? thoughts really get you down. Because, hey, they think you’re pretty swell. And if that piece you were working on needs a little polish, well, they point out the spot and hand you a rag and let you do some polishing, all the while reminding you of the other parts that are already shiny and pretty.
It also helps to know I’m not alone in this. That I’ve reassured amazing writers that, no, their work is not the pile they think it is and, no, they absolutely should not delete the entire thing and start a career as a shoemaker instead.
So, you’re not alone. You’re in the trenches with all the other writers out there trying to make something of themselves. Keep your head down. Power on. Write, write, write. Forgive yourself mistakes and listen to the people you trust enough with your unpolished manuscripts. It’ll be okay. And you have just as much right to be here as Sally Smut and Shirley Sexalot do.
What gives you the push you need to power through those devils on your shoulder, trying to tell you you’re not good enough for this business?
Olivia hates the singles scene, so when her best guy friend, Ian, offers to be her plus one to a series of weddings she has to attend, she agrees. Although she doesn’t want to complicate their lifelong friendship, she can’t pass up the chance to have a steady date without the dating drama. What she doesn’t expect is to now find Ian so incredibly sexy.
When Ian sees his old friend Olivia dolled up for wedding #1, the boyhood crush he once nurtured transforms into smoldering attraction. It doesn’t take long for their no-strings arrangement to turn physical. But as Olivia’s desire to stay “just friends” becomes clear, Ian’s feelings are deepening. In the time they have together, how will Ian convince Olivia that one plus one can make for a lifelong pair?
Thanks for stopping by and sharing a mimosa with us! You can find out more about Brighton at her various social media haunts…