If you don’t have doubts about yourself, then it’s very likely that you’re not entirely human. This is especially true if you’re a creator of any kind. In my experience, we, as creators, are always prone to looking for the minutest flaws in our works and when we end up finding them, we tend to get upset.
More than upset, really, if we’re being honest here.
Today I was going to make a blog post about how to write an original story and whether or not originality is all that important in the makings of a good story, but then I read through the second draft of my WIP and began to have doubts about my authority on the matter. You see, some of the stuff I had written was cringe worthy and the story had plot holes the size of a floating island and for a brief moment I wondered if I was on the right path in my life. If I had the chance to be somebody in this world over-saturated with amazing books at all.
It was rather unsettling, that moment. Hollowing. And why wouldn’t it be? It’s terrifying to face the prospect of your dream, the only thing you’ve worked so hard to achieve, failing. Failing in face of all the years you spent hunched over the laptop and pieces of loose paper. Failing in face of your family’s trust in you. Failing and falling into the void of grey normalcy.
Sound a little depressing? Well, it kind of is. So, like any normal person, the first time it happened (did I mention it’s a recurring event), I took to the internet to see if I was the only one grappling with these fears (much like you are doing now). It turns out, I wasn’t. But it didn’t make me feel any better at the time. I wanted to know whether I was good enough, no, better than good enough. It turns out, nobody had the answer.
In fact, to this day nobody has the answer but it doesn’t mean there isn’t a way to banish that hollow sensation and write in peace.There is. I’ve found a few myself.
1) Read the first line of every book in your genre
Since the opening sentence is the hook of every book, I found that by reading it, I can reassure myself that my writing can be just as good AND I can gain insight about what’s working and what’s not. Field research, is how I like to refer to this. Try it, you don’t even have to buy the book.
2) Let someone you trust read your work
Call a friend. It’s as simple as it sounds. Although if you’re thinking of someone who knows next to nothing about books, your genre, or writing, I wouldn’t deem that as a very great idea.
For me, my critic is my sister. I know that I can trust her to tell me when my work is not up to par. However, I don’t usually let her read it when I’m in the process of writing a first or second draft because I feel like criticism blows a hole in my writing muscle and summons writer’s block (which may explain why I’m second-guessing my WIP at the moment). If you’re like me and can’t write after someone tells you how much your Mary Sue makes them want to bang their head against the wall, then it’s better to finish your draft first and then seek that bittersweet reassurance.
3) Vent out
If you don’t feel like showing your friend, sister, beta-reader, the internet, your work, then vent out your doubts out loud. Like I did in the very beginning of this post. Whatever works for you, as long as nobody gets hurt.
4) Know that you’re better than good enough
Even though nobody may tell you that you’re good enough to succeed, know that you are. Hard and clever work have a way of paying off. We are creators and even if one story doesn’t work out, the fifty second one might (assuming we don’t starve to death by then). Just remember, J.K. Rowling got about a dozen rejections before her Harry Potter series was launched into stardom. Be persistent and don’t let fears of failure stop you from pursuing your dreams.
So come on, don’t wait for me to say any more wise words. Go read, vent, write, do something. The world is waiting for its next great creator.
Posts with tips, reviews, and stories every week. Join the club.