Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Insecure Writers: Self-doubt

I try to hit the mute button on my inner critic while I write. In the best of times, I sink into the story and let the flow take me away. Other times, it's more of an effort to craft the story, and it plods along. I go with that, too, because I know it's most important to get that first draft down. Revisions always follow. Multiple rounds of revisions. Followed by multiple critiques, after which there are more revisions.

Lately, I've been locked in the grips of self-doubt. It goes way beyond writer's block, which I always manage to write around by switching to another story until the problem blocking the other story comes clear. My self-doubt is so overwhelming, I couldn't write for most of December.

I forced myself to revise a story I wasn't quite satisfied with, and now it's much better, but I want readers to love it as much as I do.

This self-doubt is absolutely paralyzing. I'm simply lost. Have you ever dealt with such writing fears?

Forgot to add this earlier! Visit the rest of the Insecure Writer's Support Group here.

17 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Like you, I am very critical when writing that first draft. I hate that it's not perfect. And the doubt tends to slow me down.

Arlene said...

Hell, yes, Cate. You, a fantastic writer, arent alone. And once that story is out there, the best you can force yourself to make it, how nice would it be to jump with excitment if you get a review instead of cringe, tremble and swallow nausea as you open it to burst into tears of joy, resignment or fury.
I hate being insecure. I love being so immersed in a writing time has no meaning, and I hold tight to that feeling whenever it happens. Life is too short to do otherwise.

Miranda Hardy said...

Yes, absolutely. I didn't write in Dec and half of Nov after I got my edits back. Talk about discouraging. I'll get back into it. Good luck getting over the bump. Just keep pluging on and keep the doubt out. I'll try to take that advice too.

Cate Masters said...

Alex - thanks, it's good to hear I'm not alone. :) And thank you so much for putting together this group. It's a huge help to know others are in the same place, if temporarily.

Arlene, you are one of the most unique and imaginative writers I know, and it's only a matter of time before the hoards of appreciative readers find you.

Miranda, edits can be grueling! But they'll make the story better in the long run, so hang in there.

Karen Walker said...

Yes, oh yes, that monster, self-doubt lives and breathes inside of me as well, Cate. I've learned to tell it to go away. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. Thanks for your honesty. And your visit to my blog. And your comment.
karen

Cate Masters said...

Thanks Karen - I'll have to learn to be more stern with my self-doubt. :) I appreciate your comment!

Mary Aalgaard, Play off the Page said...

Yes! It's one of the most debilitating human traits. We all suffer at some time with those darn self-doubts. I have to employ every trick in the book sometimes to shut them up. My friend and I call them "the committee." Tell them to meet some other place, your creative brain has NO VACANCY for them!

Nancy Thompson said...

Hey Cate, new follower here via Alex's IWSG.

I've never experienced that type of self-doubt...yet. I do worry, however, now that I'm beginning my second novel, if it will fly along with the ease the first one did. The story hasn't come to me whole as it did the first time, so I am concerned. But I'm just gonna keep writing until I can't write any more. What else can I do?

Knowing there are others out there who share the same or similar fears is one way to get over the hump. You are not alone, Cate!

cleemckenzie said...

In answer to your question: Just about every day! That's why I need feedback from trusted and keen-eyed readers. I'm very lucky to have those people. They encourage, but they never let me get away with anything shabby in my writing.

Thanks for stopping in at the Write Game. I always appreciate new visitors.

Tonja said...

You are definitely not alone. I was doing fine until I did NaNoWriMo. It didn't work for me. I didn't like what I wrote. And the paralysis set in.

Marta Szemik said...

Cate, I have it all the time. Sharing my work with others takes most of my energy away, but the love for writing keeps me going.

Angela Brown said...

Oh, the self-doubt is truly terrible. But you are great to buckle donw and do what you need to do.

You've got great books out and I look forward to more coming from you.

Cate Masters said...

Mary, I love that idea. But I'd rather disband the committee entirely, tee hee.

Nancy, thanks for the follow!

Clee, my crit partners are gold to me too.

Tonja, my NaNoWriMo story was partly to blame, I think because I hadn't quite fleshed things out before beginning. Live and learn.

Marta, thanks. And hang in there.

Angela, you're such a sweetie. Bless you. :)

Ciara said...

Great to meet you via the IWSG. I love your blog, and I'm now following. :) Most writers suffer from insecurities, I think it happens to most creative types. :) Don't let doubt slow you down. You can do it.

Cate Masters said...

Thanks for the follow, Ciara, and for your kind words.

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I have really personified my inner critic so I can see the look on her face when I tell her to shut up and other things I'm not going to have recorded on the internet :) This has helped me tons! Good luck - new follower :)

Cate Masters said...

I'll have to try that, Tasha. Love that idea. Thanks for the follow!