Don’t Worry About It: My Biggest Struggle as a Writer and How I Overcome It

There’s nothing quite like the feeling of pure, undeniable inspiration.  It’s as if the stars align, the sky opens up and a beam of sunlight shines down on you, your computer, and the brilliance in your head.  Your fingers are typing faster than you thought humanly possible and your thoughts are spilling onto the page as you smile down at your brainchild.  It’s magic in its purest form.  It can’t be contained.

If you’re anything like me, this happens about once every never.

I wish that I could say that I can read my manuscript and smile, but I just can’t.  I know that I can string words together to form coherent sentences (sometimes) and I know that I love to do so, but that’s about it.  As much as I hate to admit it, I spend more time grimacing at my work than smiling at it.

It’s taken me a long time to understand this and an even longer time to accept it.  Hating your own work is a horrible and twisted thing to think.  You produced it, you designed it in its entirety, you gave it life.  What’s not to love?

Believe me when I say that you’re not alone.  I’ve had to learn the hard way that worry and self-doubt are a plague to writers because of the nature of our craft.  Writing is an art form that is subjective at best.  If we can’t see the good in our work, who will?

I think it’s more than that.  I think that we are supposed to question what we write because it indicative that writers are insatiable.  We want more from our prose, we want better for our characters, we want to create something vivid that ensnares the reader for better or for worse.  We want to tell the perfect story in the perfect way.  No pressure, though.

While there is no cure for our ailments, there are things we can do to make dealing with them just a little bit easier.  I will probably never eradicate the fear that my writing is “all wrong,” but what I can do is remember this: people are rooting for you.

I saw this phrase and discovered the core of my problem: I wasn’t rooting for myself.  I wasn’t making strides or taking chances: I was wallowing in the idea that I would never produce work that would meet or surpass my unattainable standards.  I was letting myself stay stuck in the doubt.

So I decided that I would root for myself.  And if I couldn’t muster the confidence, I would remind myself that I have a life full of people who love me and are looking for my first novel to hit the shelves of their local bookstores.  I have an army of friends, teachers, neighbors, and family members who can’t wait to get their hands on my story.  They’re rooting for me when I can’t root for myself.

So go, little writer.  Tell us what you have to say.  I’m rooting for you.

XO, Annie

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