Thursday, April 22, 2010


Do you have any? If you are a writer and say no, you are also a liar. But then again, all fiction writers ARE liars, aren’t they? Another post for another day. Today, let’s talk about doubting your ability. We all do it. We worry that we won’t write a good book, or that we won’t get an agent because we aren’t what they want in a writer, or we worry that our book will be perceived wrong, and so on and so on.

It has to be the fear of failure. No. Maybe it is the fear of success? Either way it’s out there and now we can talk about it. What do you do that helps you feel more secure in your writing life?

Here is a short list:

Don’t read your own work once it is published.
Don’t go to Amazon and look to see who’s reviewing you and if the reviews are good.
Don’t keep up with the naysayers who tell you that it is impossible to get published in today’s market.
Don’t keep redoing your website over and over to avoid getting on with writing the book.
Don’t keep rewriting the first part of the book thinking it has to be perfect.

This is only a tiny tidbit of things not to do. There are way more that I could say TO DO. But I’d rather spark conversation and let you decide.

SO. What does a writer do to keep hope alive?


C. Margery Kempe said...

I find the most important thing is to surround yourself with positive, creative people -- they know that pain, too, and they encourage you to keep at it. I know that network of support is what keeps me going.

Lauren Doyle said...

Ah! I did that last one for a good while. I kept looking at my book shelf, looking at other first pages. I kept thinking: Why can't I write like Russell Banks??? Answer: I'm not Russell Banks - duh!

Jess said...

I agree with K. A. - surrounding yourself with positive people is huge. Also, being encouraging to others. It gives you a boost back.

Look at where you were a year, month, week ago and figure out at least one thing you've accomplished/progressed in.

Reread old favorites, the books that made you fall in love with words.

This is corny, but believe anyway or in spite of. Even when I read something of mine that I KNOW sucks, I accept that maybe not yet, but I WILL make it. Tomorrow. My goal today is to get that far.

Kim Smith said...

Great comments yall. And kudoes to you for being so positive. I believe that there are tons of ways to have our dreams stolen out from under us. The key is to fight those ways with all that we've got.

Marta Stephens said...

Well, Kim, you know all of my little doubts LOL I suppose mine stem from knowing that the next book has to be better than the last and the fear that I can't deliver so I work it until I can't read it any more. Ugh.

During those times though, I've found my sanity in friends like you who let me bounce ideas around and never lose patience (or at least you don't show it, ha!)

On the upside, doubt is what keeps me going, keeps me working at it, and pushes me to look outside of the box for answers.

Kim Smith said...

Good way to look at it, Marta. Never thought about how doubt can be a motivater.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thank you for this confirmation, Kim! You couldn't have picked a better subject. And amen to your timing!

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Oh, yeah, Kim. I am plagued by self doubts from time to time. Especially when rejected by agents. LOL. They make me feel like "this* big. The last rejection I got wasn't even a form letter, they just put my original paper letter back in the SASE and mailed it back to me with no jotted down, "thanks, but no thanks," etc. Geez. But I guess that's better than never hearing from them. That appears to be the new norm now.

BUT, what restores my confidence is when readers contact me out of the blue and tell me they love my books. Damn, that helps a LOT! Like right now, MAZURKA is being used in a college class at Pfeiffer U - I'm making comments on the student's reports and also answering their questions as well as asking them questions. Quite a few of them told me MAZURKA was the best book they ever read. WOW. If that doesn't restore confidence, I don't know what will!!! ((Hugs))

s.w. vaughn said...

But Amazon is my only friend!!! LOL

These are great things to do, Kim. I don't think any writer can ever escape doubt - but sometimes I think that's not really a bad thing. Because the minute you know you're awesome is the minute you start to stop caring about the work you're putting into your writing. And nobody's that good.

The trick is to not let that doubt stop you from pushing ahead. Of course, that makes us all masochists. *G*

Terry W. Ervin II said...

I'm not sure I'd classify all fiction writers as liars...maybe storytellers, but not straight out liars ;)