Sunday, June 19, 2016

A Crisis of Faith

I think we all have the occasional crisis of faith when it comes to our writing. One of mine came yesterday morning from an unexpected source. I like to read on my Kindle while I’m riding the stationary bike first thing in the morning and after opening and closing several ebooks, I finally settled on one that appeared to have all the ear-marks of a good read for riding - Vikings, Highlanders, historical romance ...

To make a long, ranty post short, it was bad. And not just bad, it was very, very bad. There were no Vikings, no Highlanders, and other than the fact the main character lived in a castle and there was no technology, it wasn’t even historical. The writing style was ... weird. Sort of third person, but bordering on second person at times. I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. ;-)

So you’re probably asking yourself why did I keep reading if it was so awful? Part of it was the train-wreck syndrome (it was just so bad I couldn’t look away) and part of it was that I caught myself starting to catalogue all its faults and then suddenly wondered if someone out there is doing the same to one of my books. Or maybe all of them. Maybe I should stop wasting my time and get a real job.

Enter, the crisis of faith in my writing ability.

Self-doubt is a nasty little troll that hides in a dark corner, waiting to attack when we’re at our most vulnerable. In my case I was already having problems second-guessing myself with two of my WIP, the incident just seemed to add fuel to the fire. The inability to fight this troll is what keeps us from finishing that story, completing that novel, it may even persuade us to give up writing completely.

So what can we do about it?

Maybe you need a change of scenery, or a change of pace. Why not try something completely different? If you write non-fiction, try something fiction. Or if you write suspense, try a cute little love story. Nobody except you has to read these, but you never know, you just might find a new direction for your work.

You could try reading a how-to book, just to continue your growth as a writer. Or perhaps there’s class you could take or a writer’s group you could join. At the very least it might renew your enthusiasm for what you’re doing.

Accept that you won’t always succeed at what you do. You’re going to get rejected, you’re going to make mistakes. Accept the rejection and move on to the next project. Your failures weren’t a complete waste of time, learn from them. And above all, keep writing.

The Science Fiction Writers of America have a far more comprehensive article about self-doubt and overcoming it that you can find HERE.

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,719 words total
Up by about 500 words from last week. Guess I was feeling chattier or something. And once again I was able to get my posts done and scheduled on time. Well, all except this one. This one I was up extra late working on because the hubby kept finding good stuff to watch on TV last night and I kept getting distracted. ;-)

Goodreads Reviews
895 words total
And this gets me caught up with my back log of reviews. Whew! What a job. From this point on expect much smaller numbers. I’m going to try and review the books as I finish them, and then update Goodreads at the end of each month.

New Ideas
0 words total
Ditto to last week: My mind’s been a bit of a dust bowl lately. Sometimes the ideas come faster than I can write them down, sometimes ... no so much. But that’s okay, I’ve got ideas a-plenty in my files in case I want to start something new. Which I really don’t.

0 pages total
The thing about editing is, it’s best done in spurts. Finish a draft, let it rest. First rounds of edits, let it rest. Second round, let it rest. An Elemental Earth is resting for now. In the meantime, I need to get some idea about what’s going to happen in the next (and final) book in the series so I can make sure I set it up in this one.

New Words
558 total
These were added to my short piece Dreamer. I’m kind of at odds with myself here. I really want this to be a short story, but I keep writing it like it’s a flash piece. Maybe I should just suck it up and write until it’s done. I can worry about the length once I know what the length is.

I also, while sitting on my deck enjoying the sun, wrote out about six pages of notes (roughly 1,000 words) using a pen and paper. Some of these notes were trying to work the kinks out of Wandering Wizards -- trying to decide whether I should try to cram all action into one novel or spread it out into two. The rest of the notes were ideas concerning my final two elemental books.

This Week’s Goals:
Make a decision on what I’m doing with Wandering Wizards
New words on Wandering Wizards
Figure out how to start Elemental Spirit
New words on Dreamer
Bonus blog post

Last week I only managed to meet one of my goals, and that was to add new words to my short piece Dreamer. But I think all that note writing should count for something. :-)

This week’s excerpt is from Dreamer:

Long ago, before the world existed, there was the Dreamer. It was her dreams that brought the world into existence.

Is she God?

No. I don’t know. Perhaps. Now hush, and listen.

Where does she live?

According to legend, she sleeps in a beautiful temple on one of the moons in orbit around our world.

When I grow up I want to visit the temple.

You can’t. You would have to travel through space to get there.

Then I’ll learn to travel through space.

I surely hope you do not.

Why not?

Because she dreams all the hopes of the world. While she dreams the world is full of possibilities. To awaken her is to doom us all.

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