Monday, 23 November 2015
Facing the Monster
The number one enemy of the writer got me! Without warning, the monster known As 'self doubt' coshed me over the head and carried me off into it's cave. Some of you know this monster, and have suffered yourselves. Like me, you've lived to tell the tale.
Within hours, I wilted, became pessimistic about my writing, bereft, and unusually listless, I couldn't lift myself out of the mood.
How did it happen? Being honest, it was after a critique session at the Saturday writers group a week ago. I took along a short story to read out, which I thought had a strong premise. However, the feedback I received said otherwise, and I knew, with so many experienced writers saying the same thing, that there must be something badly wrong with the piece in question.
I'm no stranger to critique, hell I've been taking it, and dishing it out for years. Normally, I take it on the chin, go away, think about it, then make the necessary changes to improve the writing in question. However, the more I thought about this piece of writing, the more I doubted my ability. Perhaps it was a load of rubbish! Whatever. I let the monster win.
Why? Maybe because, it had knocked on my door before. I read a different story last month, and I got feedback that it didn't work. Folks said they felt cheated at the end, and that I hadn't foreshadowed the story properly. I was disappointed, but mostly agreed with the verdict. I knew what I'd done wrong, I'd tried to re-write my ending in a fantastical way, when the story was more a contemporary one, than an urban fantasy. I'd seen the flash of something then, an impression, a fleeting feeling of doom. But it vanished as soon as it appeared. I was safe, and on that occasion, I escaped with my love for the craft intact.
That story is back in a file, I'm unsure what I'll do with it now. As for the one that caused the latest upset, that is out of sight. In fact, when this happened, just over a week ago, it made me feel so fed up with the whole thing, I quit! Yes really. Packed up my writing life, and let the monster chew a big bite out of my confidence. I felt completely robbed of all joy and passion.
Thank goodness for writing buddies! The good people that are there when the monster is lurking in the shadows. Ready to pounce and nip at your ankles. Wanting nothing more than to bring you down. A couple of my buddies know of my plight and have rallied round with good advice. Take a few days out, regroup, look at things with fresh eyes they said. Don't give up, they said.
I took their advice. Had a rest. licked my wounds clean. This writing game isn't for wimps is it? I'm not the first, I've seen the damage left in this monsters wake before. I've decided I'm not going to lie down and let it win the fight, heck I'm still growing as a writer. I'm going to hang out with my positive buddies, and get back to tapping those keys, starting with this post.
If you're not feeling the passion for your writing, suspect something is lurking in the shadows of your mind, ring a friend, have a chat, talk about it. Get on the email, share thoughts. Whatever you do, don't let the monster win!