That Monster Called Doubt

There are a lot of things I do, think and feel, that I believe is reflected in all new writers.  I doubt.  I over-analyse.  I think about how difficult a task it will be to get my creative work out there.  It helps that I am realistic about the publishing market, but it doesn’t help my confidence.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m confident about my talent (but not in a ‘this is a masterpiece’ kind of way, but more-so a ‘this meets publishable standards’ manner).

I feel like getting published is literally half the battle.  Yes, literally, not figuratively.  The battle for unknown writers comes in two parts.  It’s not enough to be published but it is enough to be published and read.  I’m not expecting millions of copies worldwide (even though I fantasise about it).  I’m not expecting translation into any languages other than the one I’m writing in.  I’m not anticipating huge success, but my goal is to be moderately successful.

The idea of success is flexible.  People are satisfied with different levels of it, so I’ll clarify what moderate success means to me.  It means that I’ll be recognised in writing circles.  It means that I will be able to release not only the first book of the series I’ve written, but all five – that sales will be high enough for the publisher to keep investing in me.  It means that I want a little bit of impact.  I don’t even mind if the impact is a slow burn, or a light ripple in the waves of readership and recognition.

I understand that even this modest desire is quite a difficult achievement.  I understand that it is possible, that with the right tools, I could do it.  But the monster lies in wait, and it’s always got teeth.

I’ve been to author talks where they talk about the highs and lows of the creative process.  Where you feel like your work is fantastic, and on other days you believe all of it is rubbish.  I always assumed that they were talking about the work that they’ve done that day, but my perspective has shifted.  I think they’re talking about their work in entirety.  I think they’re plagued by similar monsters.  The difference between them and myself is that they’ve won the first battle, and now have a support team behind them, championing their work.  They have knights in shining armour, wrapped in publishing houses brand name cloaks.

This is where family and friends help people like me.  A writer can’t always trust their advice on how good the work is, but it’s nice to hear that they’re on your side.  They are the knights in plain clothes, the ones that defeat your monsters with kind words and sometimes a kick up the backside.  When I dream, I have big dreams.  When I doubt, I have big doubts.  I have to remember this, and wait for the next surge of enthusiasm and self-belief that it’ll work out.

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4 thoughts on “That Monster Called Doubt

  1. Pingback: Doubt kills Creativity | papermashed

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