I didn’t watch all of the Oscars on Sunday. One, I was super tired and two, Gravity had just won for best sound and the movie prided itself on there being no sound in space. But, the next day I was told that Robert De Niro introduced best screenplay with the following statement, “The mind of a writer can be a truly terrifying think: isolate, neurotic, caffeine-addled, crippled by procrastination and consumed by feelings of panic, self-loathing and soul-crushing inadequacy. And that’s on a good day.”
I consider myself to be a confident person. I hold my head
high and proclaim my opinion with authority. I don’t like socializing in
crowds, but I don’t doubt who I am (anymore) or that I don’t have to change. However,
when it comes to my writing I am exactly like this statement…except for the caffeine
part. I question myself a lot. I love the “soul-crushing inadequacy” statement
because that’s what I do. I think I’ve said before, no rejection letter has
torn me down as much as I can. In fact, the only reason why I am still writing
at all is because I talk to other writers and guess what—they have the same
I think the reason for this is because writing is as
personal as one can get. It is a part of our identity. It not only stems from
my fantasy but it also includes pieces of me inside. No matter how much I try
to avoid it, each character has some part of me inside them. It may be
amplified or exaggerated, but I don’t think writers can help putting themselves
into a piece. I’ve slaved over the piece, manipulated and struggled to make
every plot twist work. It is me placed on display for the world. No wonder I doubt.
These feelings obviously don’t cripple me, so I thought it would
be good to close by giving a few tips on how to finish a novel.
I have a great support system with my family and
friends. I have people who I trust. They will tell me when things don’t work
without tearing me down. Therefore, I believe them when they say things work. I
don’t use other writers to help calm the critic’s voice because they tend to be
more critical by nature—not that this doesn’t have merit.
No one looks/critics my work until I am finished
unless I am stuck. Everyone has an opinion and they are more open to it if the
work is not finished. Not to mention, this fuels my doubt.
Don’t practice critiquing other work while
trying to write. That puts me in the wrong mindset. First create, then critique.
Finally, ignore the voice. This is the hardest
to do. But, the more I ignore my doubts and move forward…within reason…the
smaller the hate in my head. Listen if it sounds logical, but if it is just
tearing down then shut that part off and continue forward.
What are your tricks to overcoming?