I'm a pretty confident guy, but that confidence is balanced on a precipice that leads to chasm of self doubt. All it takes is a little push and I fall into the depths and I have a hard time clawing my way back out. Years ago I let criticism of my writing push me to a place where I gave up on it altogether. I had spend hundreds of hours working on my first novel attempt only to have it torn down at every turn. Was it good writing? Probably not. Did it need a lot of work? Most definitely. Were they saying it was as bad as I thought they were saying it was (don't judge this sentence...there is a point here somewhere)? Hopefully not. The negative comments left me wallowing in self-doubt, no matter that other people had said that it was good. A few negative words made me forget those compliments in a flash and I stopped writing for the better part of a year.
A couple of years ago I realized that I was giving these people, complete strangers, more power over me than they had any right to. So I started writing again, but this time I kept my writing a little closer to the vest. I let people read it, but I didn't share it with other writers for the most part. The more I wrote, the more confident I became until I decided to start up this blog so that I could share my work with more people. I stopped sending my work to others to get their thoughts and I was enjoying the work. I learned to respect the opinions of other writers, but I finally understood that for every writer or book that says you have to write in a certain way, there is another writer/book out there that tells you the opposite. I listen to what others have to say and I consider their words/corrections/praise carefully, but I don't let myself fall into that trap of needing to prove myself to everyone.
Earlier this year I published my own book. I had a copy editor assist me and I had a couple of authors look over it as well and I feel like I ended up with a pretty good product that I could be proud of. With all of that being said, I still found a couple of mistakes here and there, but I've yet to read a book that didn't have a couple of errors. I correct them on my master copy and someday I will update the existing copies or put it out as a reprint. I don't like seeing the errors, but I accept them for what they are.
Recently I had a friend, who is also a writer, read the sample from Amazon, and all he could talk about were the errors he found. He gave me a couple of concrete examples (which were legitimate errors) and mentioned some items that he felt were problems (I attribute them more to style differences, but I'm willing to accept the possibility that he is correct). I respect his opinion so when he says he hopes I didn't send this to a publisher it cut me to the quick.
I went right back to that space where I started wondering if my work is not good enough Were my hopes of being an author just a silly little pipe dream? Was I deluding myself into thinking I had talent. Were the people around me telling me what I wanted to hear?
No. I'm a good writer. I'm not perfect, but I'm pretty good and I am better than a lot of others. I am not going to let this derail me. I will take his comments seriously, but he was not trying to be hurtful. He was just trying to be helpful and my own insecurities almost got a hold of me once again. I will look at what he has said and I will use it to make me a better writer going forward, but that is all. If you would like to take a look at the preview of my book you can find it at Amazon or Smashwords. If you give it a read and like it I hope you buy it, but if you think it is riddled full of errors then let me know. I'm stronger than I was a week ago and I welcome your input.
- So, are You a Writer or What? (moniquerockliffe.wordpress.com)
- Can Copy Editors Really Save Amercia, and Does Amercia Want Saving? (theatlanticwire.com)
- Letter to a writer who is losing confidence (nailyournovel.wordpress.com)
- Writer's Block is a Myth (amightypen.net)
- new criticism (aminahalathas.wordpress.com)
- Don't Smell the Sweat Stuff (ginalawlessbooks.wordpress.com)
- The Drill Sergeants Of Prose! (musetracks.wordpress.com)
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