I'd love to be at Turks and Caicos right now, reading a great novel on one of these chairs and gazing at that beautiful blue water, but I'm only dreaming. And waiting.
I finished writing my fifth novel, Junior Missing, and sent it to my editor this week for review. The waiting is always hard. I spent my morning writing time this week on a query letter and synopsis so I can explore traditional publishing before going indie with this one. But the waiting is when the self-doubt comes in.
Maybe this book isn't good. Maybe I've crossed a line with the challenging topics I chose to explore. Maybe it's too... something. I don't know.
It helps that even famous writers shared these problems with self-doubt:
"I don't believe anyone ever suspects how completely unsure I am of my work and myself and what tortures of self-doubting the doubt of others has always given me." - Tennessee Williams
“Writing fiction, especially a long work of fiction can be a difficult, lonely job; it’s like crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub. There’s plenty of opportunity for self-doubt.” - Stephen King
"Every writer has moments of self-doubt, although when it happens, you definitely feel as though you're the only one. When it happens to me, I'm convinced I'm an imposter, a failure. I tell myself my successes have been flukes and I should permanently retire my notebook and pen. I start comparing my career to those of other writers and find mine lacking. When I'm in this mindset, the words start fighting me tooth and nail which, of course, makes the self-doubt even worse. It's an ugly cycle, and the only way to break it is to take a break. Read a lot, watch a movie, go out, do anything but write. When I do that, the negative feelings start to melt away and I remember why I write: because I love it. It isn't about accolades or anthology invitations or even sales; it's about telling the stories that I have inside me to tell." - Damien Angelica Walters
Ah yes! Why do I get up at 3:00 AM every day and do this crazy writing thing in the first place? Because I love it. Because it makes me happy. It gives me joy.
As I said, the hardest part of this time is the waiting. I'm not doing anything creative. I don't like being between projects, but I also don't like starting a new book until the current one is out the door. My editor is great about turning things back to me quickly. I know that the comments will be here soon, and I will have work to do again. I will revise. I will make the book the best it can be and send it to the world, either to agents or to self-publish, whatever its fate. Then I will write another story.
There is always another novel to write. I'm full of them. You would not believe the list of books I plan to write. I hope some of you find some of them enjoyable and entertaining. That is my dearest hope.
For now, I guess I will wait and dream of those white sandy beaches and pretend this is a vacation.