Sunday, December 12, 2010

I begin to doubt....

Now, I'm generally a pretty optimistic person. Glass half full, if you will. I try to keep a smile on my face and when things go wrong I look forward to better times.

That being said, I have constant doubts about myself as a writer. Tonight I read through part of my manuscript. It was all right. Not great, not even good, but just okay. Now, perhaps if I read that section again tomorrow it will seem a lot better. Perhaps it's all a matter of perspective. But when I finished reading this evening, I sincerely began to doubt whether or not I'm cut out to be an author.

It's hard to write books. Really, really hard. It's hard to revise and kill your babies and listen to critique and stay up late on school nights because you have to finish another page. Everything about writing a book is hard. And the thing is, it never stops. Agents reject you. Editors want a seemingly endless number of revisions. You pull the book apart piece by piece, in the hopes that when you splice it back together things will still make sense. And if you're lucky, the story will be better for it. Once the book is published the critics will tear into it and point out all the logistic flaws you missed while writing. Some readers will hate it. And then you go at it again, sitting down in front of a blank page on a computer screen, ready to subject yourself a second time around to the same emotional torture.

Okay, so I'm being dramatic, but you get what I'm saying. Writing is hard. I've always wanted to be an author, and I never questioned the legitimacy of this sentiment until recently. Because when it comes down to it I'm not sure if I can pull this off.

Discouragement. It's part of the process. I guess the real question is, how far are you willing to go before the discouragement becomes too much to handle?


  1. I relate, but you CAN pull it off. I know you can. Your feelings are only proof that you can. You know when you're not there. You know what it takes to get there.

    And let's just remember that you're 17 my friend. It takes some people years and years just to get where you are and some people never even get that far. You have room to grow.

  2. Ignore the fact that I've been anonymously stalking your blog. I have something to say (since it kind of seems like you're lost):

    1) Every writer has doubts sometimes. EVERY WRITER. That said, what you're going through is normal and expected. Just don't give up on yourself.

    2) As the person above me commented: YOU'RE 17!!!! And you have an editor from SCHOLASTIC!!!!!!!! AN EDITOR FROM SCHOLASTIC! (I felt the need to repeat that). I don't know much about the PUSH contest, but it seems like a really big deal. You must be very talented to have won that contest AND have an editor from Scholastic AND have David Levithan (who I adore right now) personally call YOU.

    Just food for thought.

  3. I totally agree with Liesl; you've achieved a lot--and you're so young! I've always been a writer, but I certainly wasn't ready to be published in high school. I WANTED to be, of course, but my writing--while precocious--was unfocused, pretty-but-thin, and had no bite to it. And let's not get into the structural problems a novel of mine would've had at that age!

    On the other hand, it's never comforting to hear, "Oh, you're young. It'll happen." I always felt like, "BUT I WANT IT TO HAPPEN NOW!"

    And I think it can. It may take a few days or weeks to chew on the discouragement, but it won't get you down forever; real writers write. It's compulsive--I'm sure you've felt it. And you'll keep writing, keep improving, and make it there.

    Also, Rachelle Gardner's got a great post on her blog about hating your novel. She says that everyone goes through it, that everyone gets to the point where they just want to shuck it out the window. Maybe that's a bit of what you're feeling, too.

    In short, chin up! You've got it in you.

  4. Liesl - Haha, thank you for putting this in perspective for me. I definitely need a dose of reality every once in a while :)

    Anonymous - Passing over the stalking (which in all honesty, I totally don't mind :)), I'm glad I'm not the only writer who feels this way every once in a while. I don't have many writer friends (being 17 makes it somewhat difficult) so it's hard to know how other aspiring authors handle the disappointment. And yes, David Levithan is pretty awesome :).

    Shayda - In all honesty, I'm not sure if I'm ready for publication. I've certainly gotten some good attention from publishing professionals, but until one of my books is officially acquired I'm not making any assumptions. I guess I'm just driven by a need to be perfect. I've never lost at writing. In the past few years I've won every contest I've entered, but the thing is, it isn't going to last. Agents will reject me. Editors too. I know my perfectionism is irrational, but it's not something I can necessarily control.

    Anyways, I'm rambling now. Thanks for the thoughts everyone :).

  5. I'm very much aware of what you're feeling, Kate. I've thought this many times and quite often in the last month as I haven't been about to draft as much as I would like, but thank you for sharing your feelings. You've already got an amazing start, and the truth is, not everyone is going to like your writing. That's impossible, but think about those who will! You're writing for yourself and for those who can't wait to see what you come up with next. With each ounce of effort comes a pound of improvement. You may not feel ready for publication, but you'll never know until you take the plunge. Dive in whenever you're ready.

  6. write because you love to, not because you have to.I completely understand how you are feeling and when i look back at my work, in my eyes, it isn't the best it could be, but that is only because we are our own worst critic. Just keep remembering why you love to write and things will get better...:D