Pursuing a career as a writer is all about having confidence. Problem is, the confidence is often shaky or downright missing. Two+ weeks away from the computer has left me shaken, of course. To be expected. Receiving my comments from the Harlequin editor on my 2nd place entry in the Great Expectations contest only rattles the cage some more. Though she loves the idea, she finds problems in the execution. Specifically, she likes my hero better in the query letter than in the entry.
Believe it or not, I don't really have a problem with that. I just haven't figured out how to fix what she wants fixed yet. In the past, I'd have fallen apart over someone not liking an aspect of my story or one of my characters. Not now, which makes me pretty pleased with my growth as a writer. Still doesn't help me figure out how to fix the blasted thing though.
My entire point of this ramble is that sliding back into the blogosphere, surfing my favorites, reading what other writers are up to–and reading a couple of good old fashioned romances–is the best confidence booster I know. When I question my own writing, when I think it's not my best and I should have never let it get out into the world that way (both my serialized short story and my story that just came out in SC2), something comes along to make me read with a fresh eye. And I'm often surprised by what I find. I find that I do like what I wrote and it's not the hopeless dreck I'd come to believe. I'm still embarassed over what I might have changed or expanded, but I don't feel hopeless anymore.
This week, over at Murder She Writes, they're talking about writing through diversions. Some of those diversions are self-directed, like Allison Brennan talking about getting frustrated partway through her stories and starting new ones (before she finished and sold THE PREY, which I've now read and really enjoyed though it scared me too).
See, I think distractions are also about writing confidence, and I think we all suffer from wavering confidence in one form or another (not all at once and not all the time). I read a couple of other things in blogs today that I felt were variations on the theme, but now I can't remember where I read them. 🙁
But, my confidence is returning as I visit my favorite cyber haunts and hear others talking about their writing. Reading those romances, as I said above, helps too. Because if these ladies can write their stories, so can I. And I don't mean that in the usual nasty way of “I read such an awful book that I just knew I could do better!” I mean it as a compliment, as an homage to the hard work that I know goes into each and every book. I mean that I know I am just as capable of putting in the work, that I've done it in the past and will find the means and confidence to do it again.
So thanks for being there, ladies and gents. Thanks for writing your blog entries about your own struggles and triumphs, and for writing your stories that I enjoy so much. You help me without even knowing it. 🙂
Lynn, I think you’re totally right–distractions ARE about writing confidence. I was easily distracted because I never thought the story I was working on was good enough. And now I know when I’m slipping because I get bored with my story. That’s when I go back to the beginning and find out where exactly the story turned south.