In the tapestry of life, we must compete all the time. This is especially true to writers. We battle against the tried and true best sellers and the millions of would be writers vying for a coveted spot on an agents list. But, mostly, we contend with the little devil on our shoulder; self doubt. Henceforth known as SD.
Its big, and ugly and weighs more than you. Indeed, it is so large; the mere weight threatens to crush you with its mighty force. When your creative muse bolts out the front door, you want to throw your computer at the wall. Ok, maybe not that bad, I do have a Mac and I won’t even let the hubby touch it, but you get my drift.
Suddenly, you finished your MS. Woot. Do a jig, the happy dance; pump your fist in the air, Jersey style. Then the devil appears and whispers, “You suck, lady. Don’t quit your day job.”
To which I reply, “F*ck off, I’m over educated and unemployed. This IS my job.” Self doubt eases up for a while, sometimes, you even forget its there. Until it rears its ugly head again.
“Didn’t I tell you to go to hell yesterday?” You ask.
“Been there. Done that.”
That’s right, I’m having a conversation with SD on my shoulder.
“That’s an understatement.” You reply, flicking SD of its shoulder perch.
Your muse returns, and you get back to work. Inspiration pours from your fingers. You write a kick ass scene, peeps love it. Your high on creativity, then 2 form rejections slide into your email box. One agent tells you, oh so subtlety, you need to take a second look at how to write an effective query letter. Wonderful. So in a nutshell, agent says, while I find your work intriguing, you can’t write a query letter. Um, I get, like everyone else, agents are busy. But really? Who isn’t? Don’t we have lives, careers, and a family? Could said agent have not added exactly what it was that intrigued yet threw her off? Not likely.
“All right, all right. Your right –
SD laughs maniacially and jumps up and down. “I told you. You suc –”
“Not so fast, buddy. I tweaked a few things. Charli did a jig, and I got a partial request from one of my top agent pics. Take a hike.”
Poof, the devil vanishes.
We’re competing, aye, for bookshelves, agents, publishers, and readers. But most of all we’re contending with ourselves. The one that shouts to the world, “I am a writer!” And the one that continuously tries to drag you down.
In the early stages of writing, discovering, learning, you may battle with SD everyday. There comes a time, however, when each writer attains a certain amount of self-confidence in their work, and story telling abilities. Could be through crit groups, contests, publication – anything that elevates them to another level.
Confidence, to some degree, usually sticks, and it only happens after growing as a writer, learning how to flex those world-building muscles. So when SD appears, and looks up, way up, at CONFIDENCE, you smile.
We all experience this as artists, creators. ‘Tis the bane of our existence. But, it’s up to YOU how much you let it impact your creativity.
What sets you off? Why do you hop out on the ledge and wave hello to an irreverent Charli? If your reply is going to be long, I’ll pull up a chair, lean out the window, and have a martini.