Monday, February 16, 2015

Advice For Writers #24: How To Deal With Icky Feelings

Alex Steele here to talk about self-doubt. It's a big thing, and everyone does it, writers and non-writers alike and it's basically impossible to overcome. On that note, let's get started!

So, everybody doubts themselves and their books and writing, over and over again. The question is: how to get past this? The answer? There's no sure way to it. You can ignore that voice in the back of your head, but it never really goes away.

I find I doubt myself most after I've finished my full first draft and when I start revising. Also, most the time it's not while I'm working but when I'm done. When I'm laying in bed at night or in the middle of reading another book, I start thinking how I suck, how my book is nowhere near as good as this. I find some smaller issue, some grammar mistake or something that I think, oh I don't do that, that's wrong. And then I latch on to that, thinking I have bad dialogue or I never use commas right. I latch on to it and it grows in my mind, convincing me that I suck.

The thing is, when I get over it and force myself back to my writing and I read through it again a lot of the time I realize that no, that's wrong, I do do that right, I don't mess up commas in that part, my dialogue doesn't suck as much as I thought it did. I mean, sure, I'll still find mistakes but it never seems quite as big as I imagine it is.

The lesson here? While at times it can seem impossible, you can't let the doubts get to you, can't let it stop you from writing. Sure, at times it will get to you, you'll stop writing for a week or two but then you get over it and you go back to work and you work. Work on making it as good as that book you were reading, work on making sure you have the best dialogue possible, and when the doubts come again remember that sometimes your doubts are there for a reason, they're right your wiring is weak there, but most the time? They're liars!

I write this after essentially spending a week in bed watching Friends and random cop shows convinced that my whole novel sucked, but then I got back up, I looked over things and realized it's not as bad as I thought it was. I honestly have no doubt what so ever that even ten years from now, and even if I've written and published ten bestsellers by then, I will still, at times, doubt every single thing I wrote. But, I know that writing is all I ever want to do with my life, and so I won't let the doubts win.

When do the icky feelings get to you most and how do you deal with them?

Write on, write on.

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