|image by Jennifer Ellison / freedigitalphotos.net|
It's always there. Waiting. Scratching. Looking for a chink to widen.
What if I never find an agent for my novel? What if the sequel to my YA novel is too "adult" for YA? What if I get stuck writing the sequel? What if I don't have enough ideas? Or what if everyone hates my ideas?
Yeah, lots of doubt. So how do I battle it?
I found three things: learning and planning and "the why".
I wrote a book. A whole book. Wow—that went better than I thought.
Then got the notes from my first CP: wordy. Me? No way.
So I did research about words to avoid, phrases you don't need. I found out, I really was wordy. But that could be fixed. After lots of snipping, my novel was better.
Onto the next CP: too much backstory. Me? But the reader needs to know that stuff....
So I did research. I found out, I really went overboard on backstory. That too could be fixed. Minus 4000 words, my novel is better than ever.
I've research grammar and spelling and backstory and showing not telling and querying and agents and response time and number of rejections and publishers and book covers and marketing and a ton more.
And there is still so So SO much more for me to learn.
But I'm making progress every day.
I'm a planner.
One of the items in my plan is Having Doubts. Because if I assume I'll have doubts, I can also set up my reaction to them.
Example: rejections. First off, I once read a writer should aspire to having 100 rejections. On the one hand, that's terribly depressing. On the other hand, it shows you're putting your work out there, proving your dedication. And it even gives you a goal. Another rejection? Now I'm one closer to 100. Fist pump (sort of).
So, after a bit of grumbling about my latest "no", my plan is to check my list of agents, find someone really great I haven't queried yet, and my hopes can soar again.
After learning and planning, doubts can still slip in. When they do, I remind myself why I write.
Not to sell a million copies. Not to have adoring fans. Not to impress friends and family.
I love the lives I create in my head. I love writing stories. I love improving my skills. I love it when I read something I wrote and have to smile because it works.
So if some of those doubts come true—if I don't find an agent, have trouble with a sequel, etc—it won't stop me. I can keep making up romantic, fantastic, freaky stories. I can keep searching for precisely the right word to make that sentence fit. I can keep writing until I'm 103.
How about you? What strategies do you have when doubt comes creeping in to your life?