Monday, 1 November 2010

Paranoia and Negativity

There are a lot of things I should be doing right now that I'm not. I should be revising book one to submit to the US. I should be progressing further with the activities for my university course. I should be tidying my house top to bottom - I'm not a perfect housewife, I'll admit it, and I'm not so house-proud that my home is spotless - I have kids! You can guarantee that five minutes after I vacuum the carpet to the point of being threadbare, it WILL be covered in crumbs, or torn paper, or bits of grass, or even all three plus a box-full of toys and at least one odd sock. It kind of makes it seem pointless, you have to admit.

But I should be doing something constructive. I'm not going to get published unless I submit, am I. So why am I finding it so hard?

Part of it is doubt. Each time I go back and revise a section of my manuscript, the old ghosts of Paranoia and Negativity sit on my shoulders, overlooking my literary efforts with a disparaging eye and muttering in my ears:
"Call that a story? More like drivel."
"You REALLY believe someone would want to publish that? Buy it? What are you thinking?"
"There's no plot."
"Your characters are two dimensional...."
"Your descriptions are weak...."
"Your dialogue is dull...."
"Call yourself a writer?! Ha ha ha, don't make me laugh!"

I swat them from my shoulders and grind them underfoot, but their words remain. Am I mad to even consider subjecting myself to this? To allow something so close to my heart, taken from my soul, to be equally crushed and ridiculed in such a way? Why? I'm not after Fame and Fortune, and to be honest, neither of those is guaranteed. It isn't so much seeing my name in print either - I have a pseudonym! Even though I would know it was me, no-one apart from close friends would have a clue.

So why am I battling the demons of Paranoia and Negativity, trying to reach the fabled lands of Publication? Well, I guess because I love to write. Although love isn't a strong enough word. I need to write. I have to write. Because if I stop writing, it will be a little like dying. A little like not breathing. The simple act of writing, watching the words flow, is both a torture and a joy. Like any true addict, I simply can't give it up. And once written, I can't leave the words to fester and rot in a drawer or on a disc somewhere. I don't want them to go to waste.

So tomorrow, I shall sit down and stare at the pages and try again. No doubt my two little demons will once more sit on my shoulders and keep me company. But there are always earplugs and an MP3 player with the volume set to maximum at hand......

@authoralchemy: 'You have to believe in your self and your work more than you believe in quitting.'

'In the end, the only people who fail are those who do not try.'--David Viscott


  1. I think you just have to be too stubborn to quit. Never give up. Hold fast. Grind 'em down. Make them throw up their hands and give you what you want just to get rid of you.

    Your writing is good. Passing thru that valley of doubt and darkness is hard. Clench your teeth, set your jaw, narrow your eyes, and keep going. It helps to carry a battle mace for those whispers, but you can ignore them if you prefer.

    You'll do this. You've got skill and strength, and it takes a sh-tload of both.

  2. Ah, Lauri, thank you. Stubborness, in this case, is definitely a bonus. Tho the battle mace sounds tempting.... :)

  3. How about a big hammer? ;-) ... You certainly aren't the only one doubting your work. I'm still tearing my story apart (in my mind) because it's not good enough. But don't anyone else dare to do that! LOL ... but seriously, Just keep working on the story. It is already a really good story. We believe in you - now it's time to believe in yourself. xx

  4. Thanks Laurel I couldn't have got this far without you. :)


I always love to hear your thoughts.