Beating Your Best

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As I’m still working on Heavyweight edits and getting feedback from readers and writers about how much they enjoy it, I’m starting to look at other things I’m working on and thinking “Gah! This is garbage compared to Heavyweight!”  I had a similar experience when I finished Tears of a Clown but then the idea for Heavyweight came to me and I was so excited by it that I didn’t let it get to me.

I am a bit panicked that others things I write won’t stack up.  That’s not to say I don’t like what I’m working on now, but the whole feel of it is different.  It’s a good story but I’m not sure it’ll appeal to people in the same way Heavyweight will. Is that a bad thing? It shouldn’t be because I write for people to enjoy the story, not necessarily take something away from it (that’s an extra added bonus), but I admit, it’s got me concerned.

Did Margaret Mitchell never write another novel because she knew she couldn’t top Gone With the Wind? I’m sure she’s not the only “one hit wonder” with an amazing debut novel and then nothing to really speak of after the fact.

You’d think I would have the mentality of “Hey! I wrote this great book once, I bet I can do it again!” but then the ideas just aren’t flowing and you get sad and panicky and there goes all that confidence you had over the good work.

Creating art of any sort takes talent and heart. Some things will be a hit, others a miss. I think you have to look at each piece separately and try not to compare it to other works (whether they’re yours or someone else’s). To do otherwise will just bring you down and drive you crazy: “I’ll never be as good as whom/whatever”

Perhaps I just need the next idea to hit me, but I’ve got all these other stories that I loved at one point to finish. Maybe I just need to get excited about them again. Maybe I need to remember that they are still rough drafts and the magic comes in the editing. Maybe I just need to smack myself and say “get over it and write!”

How do you deal with confidence issues when it comes to your writing? Do you worry you won’t be able to beat your best?

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4 responses »

  1. We all have the potential to lose our way when we start comparing ourselves to others–even to other things we’ve written. Write and edit the pieces that you connect with, and I suspect your readers will connect with them, too.

  2. I love my current release Loathe Your Neighbor and I’m really proud of it. I was so thinking about Harper Lee that I couldn’t get sstarted on the next one, even though I had a great idea which had been greenlighted by my editor. I totally understand what you are saying, and with your answer to the problem. Write on!

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