I have been absent for a couple of weeks – and my thoughts about that absence follow:
I had hoped that taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo in April would kick start my flagging writing routine. It did for over half of the month. I wrote 2/3 of a novella I hoped to enter in a contest. But then, once again, self-doubt reared its ugly head and the writing slowed. I did not finish the novel; I did not enter the contest.
I joined this second round of ROW80 and offered to sponsor with the hope it would provide the accountability to keep writing and pursuing my goals. During the past several weeks I have done little to advance my writing goals, although I have read lots and created art.
Self-doubt is like a spiraling cancer that eats away at one’s self-esteem.
I had won a critique from a charity auction and I looked forward to some honest opinion. What I got was constructive yes, but a blow nevertheless. Added to another I had in January, it has been putting a pause on what I thought I could do – write romances. One criticism was that my voice did not come through.
Last night, at one in the morning, I decided that what was important was that I just write and to stop worrying about the end until I got there. Just finish the damn thing. Revising and editing can do wonders – but that is later.
I also need to return to my picture book writing as I have a writing retreat in July to attend and a supportive group of women I need to reconnect with. So I need to look forward, get back the control of my time and my writing once again.
This week I will write every day!
Self-doubt is the biggest killer of productivity out there, and it’s so pervasive…
One of the ways I’ve managed to keep it down is by remembering (and tell yourself) that “I can’t please everyone, so I should focus on pleasing myself first and others later.
If you don’t mind a bit of coarse language, Chuck Wendig recently wrote a great post about this: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2016/05/10/defy-reality-become-an-artist/ It might be the kick you need to feel better about following your dreams and not giving into criticism.
That said.. healthy critiques are good, and sometimes they are even a bit rough. Give yourself some space between the process of creation and the process of review/critiquing (if at all possible, give yourself a month or two before putting your work out there for the world to consider… it softens the effects of criticism, allows the piece to feel less like a newborn who needs to be protected from everything and more like a middle-schooler who grows stronger from the occasional scraped knee and playground gibe).
Thanks so much Eden – great advice and what a powerful article. I needed that – so thanks again.