Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Working Through The Self Doubt

I was chatting with a writer friend of mine recently, and was sharing that as I have been going through what is hopefully a last rewrite of a manuscript, I’ve been at turns thinking to myself, HACK, BRILLIANT, HACK, HACK, BRILLIANT, HACK, HACK, HACK. As in, whom am I fooling?

I’m still pretty new to this writing thing. Yes, the title of this blog indicates that the writer is a FLEDGLING WRITER. It has been suggested that since I have a contract for a book coming out in the spring the word “fledgling” no longer applies. Au contraire. This hack, brilliant, hack, hack episode just proves my point that I am still a fledgling.  At least I think it does. Maybe.

As someone who is still learning the craft, I have my moments of self-doubt. Plenty of moments of self-doubt. Hence the whole hack, brilliant thing. But, do the more seasoned writers suffer from this affliction too? I’ve read that they do, but I cannot help but believe that it isn’t the kind of panicky, self-flagellation-inducing, uncertainty that those of us less seasoned writers tend to experience. 

Always one to look for the learning experience, I’ve asked myself “Monica, what can you learn from this?” I came up with the following:

  • Though you are still learning the writing craft, you have learned enough to recognize writing that needs work.

  • When you come to a scene or page or paragraph you think is brilliant, take a moment and celebrate. Then look at it again and see what you can do to make it even more brilliant.

  • Don’t forget that every writer, in fact every artist of any kind, has her/his moments of doubt. You aren’t special.

  • Remember when you were in high school drama and you learned that the best acting happens only after experiencing stage fright. Over confidence on the stage often leads to poor acting. Now apply that to writing. 

So I continue to learn and grow as a writer. I’m currently working on a prequel to the novel that comes out in the spring. Though I’m happy with the writing in the to-be-published book, I’m much happier with the writing in the new work. And I’m getting happier with the manuscript mentioned at the beginning of this post. Learning…still learning.

Happy writing!!!


  1. I look at my work and say the same thing. I think the day I stop questioning my writing and believe everything I write is brilliant is the day I should stop writing all together. The joy is in searching for the perfect turn of phrase, the right word and feeling the impact of a tightly written scene. I always believe I can do better :-)

    Good post, my friend.

  2. You always make me smile, Kylie. And you are quite talented with that perfect turn of phrase and tightly written scene.

    Excellent comment--I'm so happy you stopped by. Thank you Kylie.

  3. You may have had moments of self-doubt, but I have never doubted your abilities, imagination, and talents.

    Love, DH

  4. Ah, Dear Husband, I'm so lucky to have your continuing support! Thank you for believing in me, even when I might doubt myself.

    Love, M