Friday, 13 September 2013

The Crippling Self-Doubt of a Writer

All right, I'll admit it. Not exactly the most positive of titles for a thread post, but one that I feel is right for what I want to write about today.

It's something few writers talk about, but something that I think almost all of us feel at one point or another. Even the most self-confident writer out there - the one who can stand up and tell the world 'I've written the best book the world has ever seen' - no doubt still has moments when they wondered if they're really good enough.

I know I do. I'm fairly positive at the moment. I might have self-published my own book (which if you listen to some circles is the ultimate delusion of the bad writer) but I've had steady sales and (so far) only positive reviews, even the ones that were critical were still positive in the overall tone (3 out of five stars is a win to me).

But I still have moments when I look at what I've written, ( or I take part in a pitch competition) and think 'why am I doing this. I'm not good at this'. When a sentence just won't come right or a character is sounding like they're made of cardboard. Or when I can't figure out how to pitch my book in just 140 characters and still make people see what makes it different.

Those are the moments when I lose faith. Those are the moments when I wonder why I dedicate this huge chunk of my time (and it is an insanely huge chunk) to something that in all honesty I might not actually be that good at. All that time when I could be doing something else spent scribbling away or spent online searching for ways to promote my book. Time that could be spent with my boyfriend, or my family and friends. Time walking the dog or riding a bike. Time learning something new, or doing other old hobbies that have dropped by the wayside.

Then I remember, and this is the key bit, I remember why I write. I remember why I cry and scream and drive myself round the bend trying to find just the right word. Why I lose myself in a world populated by figments of my own imagination.

I do it because I don't know how to do anything else. Whether I'm any good or not, I am a writer. It's part of who I am. I don't write for money,or for fame, or even for good reviews. I write because I don't know how not to write. I might go weeks, even months when I haven't put pen to paper, but the stories are always there, the words fighting to get out, the characters begging for their story to be told.

OK, so I can't figure out how to write a 140 character pitch. Who cares. OK so my book has only sold just under 300 copies so far. Means nothing. I will write the sequel, and I will write different book, and another one, and another one. Because I have to. If I didn't I would go crazy.

I have my moments of crippling self-doubt, but I come out of the other side because no matter what happens, I am a writer. It's not a hobby, it's not something I do. It's something I am.

So to my writer friends who might read this, who might go through the same moments of doubt, I can only tell you what gets me through. I write because I love it, and nothing we love can be worthless or bad.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

It's Been Far Too Long

Alright, I admit it. I'm terrible for letting life get in the way of blogging. I swore to myself that I wouldn't let it go too long between posts but the truth is that was never a promise I was going to keep.

And honestly? I don't want to. Because if the choice comes down to writing anther few thousand words of a novel or posting a new blog post, the choice with ultimately be the novel. Writing my novels and my stories will always come first.

Shamefully this time around the long absence hasn't been down to writing. Quite simply I've been too busy.

Somehow grown-up life has finally caught up to me. The job got very busy at the end of our season, and when I wasn't working for my day job I was working on getting the paperback ready to be published. I've also discovered that my previously single lifestyle left me a lot more time for this kind of thing, now I'm juggling other demands on my time (although I'm sure he wouldn't appreciate being just another 'demand on my time'). All of that combined with a trip home to finally meet my six-month old nephew has meant that I have neglegted this blog in a terrible way.

However there is some good to report.

The Last Knight is now available in paperback. And looks amazing! The cover looked great on line but I love it even more in hard copy. The colours are amazing.

Sales have not been crazy or overwhelming but steady as ever. I may near be the next J.K Rowling, but I continue to get positive feedback that is incredibly encouraging.

The as yet untitled sequel is still being worked on, but I have high, and possibly optimistic hopes of having it ready in time for Christmas.

In other parts of my life not related to writing, I have signed up to another year on the tiny island paradise I currently call home. I have a kind of love/hate relationship with the island, love because it truly is a remarkable place to live, and hate because it keeps me so far away from friends and family whom I love. Yet it is also the place that allowed me the time and freedom to finish editing and publish my first novel; I'm hoping it can do the same thing for the second novel.

So there you have it, perhaps not the most exciting of blog posts, but hopefully the start of my return to this particular blog.

So until next time TTFN