Thursday, 7 March 2013

THE DEVIL OF DOUBT




So you can write a sentence. You may even be writing sentences that show an excellent command of language but this is where the devil of doubt rears its head because the the question is, does anybody want to read your sentences?

The trouble is honesty. Friends always like your work. After all, they want to stay friends with you. Your writing group - if you have one - who can be meticulous about the inaccuracy of mathematical equations quoted in your work, won’t tell you the truth. Even if you have the disposable income to pay for a professional critique, you won’t be told don’t bother.

So you have this story living in your imagination and you’re crafting it from your mind onto the page. You’ve taken courses, given people the outline of your story, had feedback and are convinced there’s a smidgen of talent connecting your inner world to the outer one.

Now doubt is insidious and once it gains a foothold you end up wondering if you have the ability to transcribe the vivid world you see in your mind’s eye, into a form where others can engage with it. How do you know what you’re creating is good enough?

And what can can you do to get rid of this disparaging companion? I think the answer is on the page.

When you re-read your work and you become so absorbed that you don’t realize your critical mode has switched off, it means your story has lifted you out of yourself. And if you can be moved by your writing, so can others.

And so you arrive at the other side of doubt - hope - because if there’s a devil on one shoulder, there’s an angel on the other.

Doubt enables you to pause long enough to hear and learn how to progress your work to the next level. And hope for improvement is the reason why none of the above mentioned people will tell you your work is rubbish.  Both hope and doubt influence us deeply so until you’re a successfully published award winning author, I say, keep doubting and hope will give you the courage to keep trying.


Today’s Haiku

SURVIVAL

Red winter apple
bobs at the end of a branch.
Blackbird neatly pecks.


Don’t look out for my upcoming haiku collection ‘Haikus Galore’ - at least not yet. I’ve had some good feedback but this week have been too involved in a throw down wrestling session with the order of events in one of my chapters to lavish any attention on the poetry. I hope you’re enjoying reading the haikus I’ve been putting up.




Here are a couple of websites about writing whose advice helps me in my writing;


And if you haven’t read Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing’, I would suggest you do.

For all book lovers out there, I wish you good reading and for those of you who write, good writing.



4 comments:

  1. If you want an honest review of your work, feel free to drop it in 'Critique Submissions' of the Writer's Community on Google+ (I know you're already a part of it, that's how I got here).
    I review a lot of stuff there, and always do so with the utmost honesty & respect that your work deserves.

    Just DON'T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. I had one guy start harassing and insulting me because I called his work 'boring'.

    So I say two things:
    1) Only submit if you are prepared to hear what's bad about your work.
    2) Only submit if you want people to read your work
    [ie, if this is a novel you want to publish, don't post more than maybe three chapters. There's copyright to consider here!]

    But you're clever, and a good writer (from what I've seen of your blog), so I don't think you have much to fear.

    Keep on Writing, mate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Matt,
      Thanks for letting me know about the review option - I'll definitely be taking advantage of it at some point.
      Re: giving feedback - anything which can help lift your writing out of the slush pile in someone's office needs to be given consideration.
      And thanks for your kind comments about my writing. These are the things which keep us going.
      Best wishes

      Delete
  2. I am battling with the doubt devil now, myself. I like your comment about if your writing can move you, it can move others. I hadn't really thought of it that way and it's a nice contrast to all the objectivity advice out there. Thanks for the post!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for your encouraging feedback, Amy.
    I think we just have to keep on persevering. After all, what's the alternative? At least we are trying to make our dreams come true.
    Best wishes

    ReplyDelete

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