Author, Craft, Doubt, Feedback, Fiction, My Books, Novel, Opinion, Rejection, Writing

Finally, I’m being honest about my novel!

This is a post I’ve wanted to write for a long time. It’s only because of Michelle Davidson Argyle’s courageous post that I’ve written it now. I have a pride problem. It’s not that I don’t have pride in my work because “secretly” I do. The problem is in expressing it.

I believe my problem stems from two issues. One is that “Pride goeth before destruction …” is a warning ingrained in my psyche. Another is that my perfectionism always cancels out my pride. I constantly catalog the faults in everything I do or say.

Before I published Brevity, I said I wouldn’t read any reviews it received. My reasoning was that I wouldn’t believe the good ones, but I would take to heart the bad ones. I said those words knowing that not only is that counter-productive—it’s sick!

It’s also dishonest. The truth is—I love Brevity!

But I don’t often admit that, out of self-protection. I fear that someone will read my book because I said it’s good and they’ll hate it. They’ll resent me for wasting their time. As Michelle said, “So I pretend that I don’t have pride in my work so that if they read my stuff and hate it they’ll understand that I didn’t think it was that great either.”

Deep down, I believe the good things people are saying about it. So far, my lowest rating is 4 stars! Yes, of course, I expect to get lower ratings eventually. But you know what? I believe that when I get a 1-star rating, it will be from someone who should never have read my book in the first place because it’s not the kind of story they’d like, no matter how well written it was.

I’ll never write a perfect book. Then again, I’m not sure many other authors have or will. But I have and can write darned good ones. And because I’m owning up to that, in my next post, I’m going to share a couple of my favorite excerpts from Brevity.

If you don’t like them … well … so what?

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Critique, Doubt, Editing, Feedback, Fiction, Novel, Writing

Ooo … ooo … I know this one!

Let’s play a little game, shall we?

Linda: I’ll take felicitous discoveries for a thousand.

Alex: I do have writing talent. Linda?

Linda: What is … What did I discover while editing?

Alex: Correct!

If you’ve been around this blog for a while, you know I suffer from a lack of confidence in my writing ability. It’s largely self-inflicted. My inner critic prides herself in perfectionism. To make matters worse, she’s an expert at rationalizing away any praise that comes my way.

I think most of us lack confidence to some degree. We play that comparison game and believe we’ll never measure up. We get one tiny bit of negative feedback and blow it out of proportion until we see every word we’ve written as garbage. (Or is that just me?)

Today, as I edited my novel, I found myself smiling—grinning, to be honest. Not at any particular “darling” as in, My god, has there ever been a more brilliant metaphor?! No, I was happy because I could honestly say, “This is good writing.”

That may sound like I’m full of myself, but I’m not. What I discovered today is I suffer doubt most when I don’t read my work. When I set aside a work, whatever faults I know it has magnify in my mind until I convince myself I’m hopeless as a writer. I’m discouraged from even starting something new because, well—I can’t write!

When I finally open that file and start to read I see it’s not perfect. I find weak verbs, flabby sentences, bad syntax, but I also find decent writing as a whole. It’s never as bad as I imagined it to be. Yet I’ve allowed my doubt to waste time, fuel jealousy, and even downright depress me.

Why do we writers do this to ourselves?


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