Honestly, my writing is one thing that I rarely struggle with regarding insecurities. It's not to say that I don't have them, and that I don't have those times of am I ever going to be able to write any decent?. Because I do. We all do. But writing has always been my escape. It's been what gets me away from other insecurities, how I deal with others, how I sometimes ignore or face other kinds of doubt.
But self-doubt is a sneaky asshole that lurks and waits until you are most vulnerable.
This, I believe, specific self-doubt is, as Carrie said, Debut Jitters. Regardless of the name, it's still there and, frankly, I'd like it to GTFO.
Fierce comes out in less than two weeks.
I've started rewriting (like, completely; Literally rewriting, not just revising) an old book of mine. My first book. Already, I'm putting to use what I learned in this process with Fierce. From my own writing (I have a horrible addiction to the word "just"), to story, to character. From structure of one sentence to the structure of an entire novel.
And it's fantastic.
It's also terrifying, because I already feel like I've learned quite a bit and it's having a positive influence on this book. True, it's a different beast because it's paranormal (my heart lies with the fantasy, and I've been a fantasy writer long before I fell for sports contemporary). There are differences between the genres, no doubt. However, even the bare bones--take away the plots, the subplots, the foreshadowing etc--and just the writing is different. Improved. Far from perfect, of course, but improved.
I was talking to my husband about it this morning, and the fear of putting something out there that isn't the best thing I could ever write.
I know, that sounds stupid to most of us writers, but I'm sure we've all shared the thought a time or two.
My husband, who isn't a writer (or even much of a reader), looked at me and said, "Of course it's not going to be the best thing you write. It's your first book [that you've published]. Your next one will be better, and the one after that will be better. If this book was going to be the best thing you'll ever write, there's a problem."
And he's right. As writers, we want to improve. We want to grow. I always want to be improving my craft.
It's still nerve wracking to start that journey though.
I look at the few chapters I have of the other book, and I see growth. I see things in Fierce that I would change. It's true that books are never finished; they, instead, are simply due.
It makes me feel guilty, though. As though I'm somehow not being my best, even though I am for the current time, for the current me. But knowing that I'll (hopefully) continue to grow and learn and get better at my craft, makes me feel almost guilty for the now.
My husband had a good point about that, too. It is the best completed work up to this point. My craft and stories will improve over time, and I'll learn more over time. But right now, I am putting my best face forward.
I do know that I would never put anything out there that I didn't deem should be. I'm not in a hurry. My CP Bailey knows this as we have discussed it. I knew my old book wasn't anywhere near ready, and that's why it sat in a file for over a year, never being opened. It's why I've abandoned other projects.
I've picked up books that seemed rush. I've picked up books that I wonder if they were written the night before. I've picked up books that made me wonder if the author really cares.
Know that I do care. That I'm not one to push something out there into the world, before it's ready.
It's this feeling--this care not to let readers down, the fear to not to give my best--that causes this self-doubt. Of course, other things can give the self-doubt steroids. Not having support, getting criticism for the sheer point of someone wanting to criticize, people not understanding why you do what you do. All of those things can egg it on.
Know that I am putting out there what I think is ready. I've taken the time and steps to make it worth your while to read it. I've bled into that story, truly. I've taken pieces of myself and the life I see around me, and inked them into the pages.
FIERCE is the best I can offer you right now. It's got heart and soul. I hope that my writing does improve. I hope that this other book continues to grow my craft and be better than the last. I hope the one after does the same, and so on and so forth.
Fierce is funny and serious. It's a love story and a story about moving forward. It's a story about romantic relationships and non-romantic relationships. It's about being yourself when no one wants you to be. It's about passion, and having a passion that drives your into world.
Fierce in many ways is an embodiment of the saying "You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice." Except there are other choices, and those are heavy decisions for these characters.
I guess self-doubt is often the beginning of a new journey. I've looked at it. I've studied it. I've accepted it has a place, sometimes even a purpose. For those occasions when I can't kick it out, when I can only get it to back off, I know I've got some wonderful people who can help me make peace with it.