EDIT: To write this kind of stuff when you’re upset is cathartic…not so much so the next day though…but I’ll let it stand if for no other reason than to maybe help soothe others in knowing they’re not the only ones with doubts and insecurities.
So anyway, let me let you all in on a little secret: I lack confidence. Confidence in my writing. Confidence in my intelligence. Confidence in being a “good person” (no, no. I know I’m not the Devil incarnate -I dislike the heat too much- but I’m sure I could be better). Confidence is being good at just about anything. Well…OK that last one is not exactly true. I know I’m “good” at many things, but don’t think there’s one I actually excel at. Hence why I consider myself a jack of all trades, master of none. I suppose it’s not an awful thing to be, but it’d be nice to know you’re really good at at least one thing in life, right?
I find many other authors struggle with having confidence in their work. I’m not exactly sure why that is. Is it because it’s an art form and art is so subjective? Is it because people have a habit of picking our work apart? We ask for that! It’s supposed to make us better writers.
So why do I get so knocked down when someone does what I ask? They aren’t mean about it. In fact, some of them are overly nice about it, trying to soften the blow I suppose. I know they mean well. I know they are being helpful so I can put out the best piece of work that I can…yet it still seems to cut me to the quick and revert me to the 12 yr old I was when I stopped writing for years because some stupid computer program told me I only wrote at a 6th grade level (little did I know at the time that that is not such an awful thing…).
How do you keep it all from weighing you down? I don’t know. I do know I’ve come too far to give up and shove my novel in a drawer somewhere. But I admit there are times where I am so afraid of failing that the idea of putting it in there so it never sees the light of day is extremely appealing. At least if I do that, then no one can tell me it sucks, right?
So, do I live in fear that people will hate my work and call me a failure or do I just suck it up and push ahead because I’ve already put in a disgusting amount of time and energy into all my writing? I think the answer is obvious, but it’s still not easy. Am I going to cry when people tell me they don’t like something? Probably. I’m a bit of a cry baby like that. I might be thick all over, but the skin is pretty thin.
I guess I’ve just got to keep telling myself that even if no one likes it (and I honestly don’t think it’s going to be a case of no one liking it, since I know some people have enjoyed it or at least not totally hated it) I can be proud of myself for working hard on it and getting it out there. I know there are a lot of people out there who talking about writing a novel but never do it, so at least I’m a step ahead of them, right?
I suppose I just have to go with the old “fake it ’til you make it” scheme. I can put on a happy face when I get criticism and be gracious and say thank you (because I really do appreciate anyone who seriously takes the time to offer the criticism) and then go cry in the corner until I get over it and then work to make the corrections. Maybe it’ll hurt less with repetition. Maybe I’ll need to buy stock in Kleenex. I guess time will tell.
I promise I’m not going to go weepy and all “woah is me” on a regular basis, but I kind of felt like I just needed to get it out and it’s been a long time since I used a blog post as a diary entry. If nothing else, maybe some of you can read this and know you’re not alone, or use it to make yourselves feel better “Hey! At least I’ve got more confidence in my work than that silly chick!”. Either way is cool by me.