This is a really hard post for me to write. Gotta be honest.
See, all around me, wonderful things are happening – to other people. Friends of mine are getting new book deals and new contracts for existing series. Friends are getting agents, people are raving about their work. They are submitting to editors and small presses.
And I, well, I’m not. I feel a little like the kid on the playground standing off in the corner, not really belonging to any other group. In fact, just yesterday I got an edit on a beloved project that was very much a mixed bag and I’m not really sure where to go from here.
Now, to be fair, these are all people who are much, MUCH farther along in their writing careers. And I’m truly, wildly, ecstatically happy for them (no, seriously, I am). My husband tells me this should make me feel better because it shows publishers are still willing to grant book contracts, which is good for my future (we will skip over the part where I think about how 98% of the people I know are finding success in the cozy mystery sub-genre, which is not what I write). And this is all completely true.
And still, I find myself at my computer, a little demoralized and desolate this morning.
See, somewhere in the utopia of my brain (and this place only exists in my brain), I write something so fabulous, so perfect that it is snatched up with glee by a publishing house and I become everything I ever wanted to be as an author. Life is good.
Except that place only exists in my mind.
It’s days like these that I remind myself of a few things. One, every single author I know experiences this crisis. Authors who have written scads of books and earned multiple awards sit down convinced that this time, the magic is over. They’re done, finished, kaput and will never be able to complete a book. But they do. And it’s wonderful.
I pull out the comments and emails from writer friends and editors (again, some of whom are award-winners) who say, “I read this and love it. You are very talented. Keep going, you’ll get there.” I remember the readers who’ve told me they loved something I wrote and they want to read more.
The writing life is not easy. We torture ourselves with visions of what we want to be and distorted pictures of where we are. Our closest loved ones shake their heads, but other writers get it. Every day is a crisis of confidence – or every other day at least.
But at lunch, I will take out my computer. I will go back to the open of the latest project that my critique group said had moments of excellence, but starts too darn slow. And I’ll continue revising, putting pixels and words on the screen. Because this is who I am. I’m a writer. For better for worse, falling confidence or not.
And writers gotta write.