This last week has been an incredibly busy one, and for the first time since entering the blogosphere, I’ve reworked and am recycling an early piece. I wrote this back when Google+ was uncharted territory and before I discovered the land of Twitter, so I don’t think too many people have read it. Please excuse my lapse and enjoy the post!
Demons and Angels
You’ve discovered you can write a sentence. You may even be writing sentences that show an excellent command of language. Yet this won’t prevent the devil of doubt rearing its head to ask if anybody is ever going to be interested in reading your sentences?
The difficulty is finding people who will be honest with you. Friends always like your writing. Even if they don’t, they’re unlikely to say so; after all, they’re friends and don’t want to offend you. If you’re a member of a local or online writing group, you may find they can be meticulous about the inaccuracy of the mathematical equation you quoted, but they won’t tell you the truth. Even if you have the disposable income to pay for a professional critique, no one will say don’t bother.
You have this story living in your imagination, and you’re crafting it from your mind onto the page. You’ve given people the outline of your idea, had feedback, may even have taken a writing course, and are convinced there’s a smidgen of talent connecting your inner world to the outer one.
Doubt is insidious, and once it gains a foothold questions begin to appear. Is your writing good enough? Is your story original enough? Is your voice distinctive? Will you ever have the courage to send it off to an agent/publishing firm or self publish? 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. Doubt can paralyse, and prevent us moving forward.
What can you do to get rid of this disparaging suspicious companion? I think the answer is on the page. If, when you re-read your work, you become so absorbed your critical mode switches off, this shows your story has taken you into its world. Scientists have demonstrated that we have a bias towards our own creations, but the possibility exists, that 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 to the next level. Hope for improvement is the reason none of the above mentioned people will say your work is rubbish. Both hope and doubt influence us deeply, and as writers, I think the role of doubt is to prevent complacency, while hope gives us the courage to persevere.
Being part of last week’s Magic Realism bloghop was a thoroughly enjoyable experience, and I was enlivened by visiting the other participants, and meeting new bloggers. A big thank you to everyone who read my story, especially to those who commented. Positive encouraging feedback is priceless.
I’ve spent the last week on a quick read through and (seemingly endless) tweak of An Unstill Life, and am on the brink of deciding to either sign that contract or not. Depending on the decision, I’ll hand the story over, or go the indie route and publish it myself. Mentally I’m moving down parallel tracks, switching from one scenario to the other depending on whether I’m hungry, whether it’s sunny or not, or any other totally inconsequential happening that randomly occurs throughout the day. Hence the post on doubt seemed appropriate. I know there’s no guarantee of anything whichever route I take.
In the meantime, I’m making the manuscript the best I can. On the positive side, I’m 99% certain I have, at last, the title I want!
up by the North Sea
children dash in to the waves
shrieking at the shock
Certainly some things to ponder in this post.
A lovely helpful post full of tips for published and unpublished writers alike:
I’d love it if you popped over to Wattpad and read any of my posted stories... just click on the links to the right. I’ll be posting Ivy Dreams on their site shortly.
Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku
Thanks for visiting my blog, and please do leave a comment.
To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.
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