This week’s question comes from Angela:
What is the hardest part of writing?
For me, the hardest part about writing is the second guessing. I am constantly questioning if my work is “good enough.” I can see how this would be somewhat humorous. Good enough by what standards? I have readers who have enjoyed my novels, told me they can’t put them down. I have been accepted into The Odyssey writing classes twice now, which they only accept 14 applicants worldwide. One would think this would help my confidence issue. But it doesn’t.
Most writers will say rejection is the hardest part to handle. I would agree, but anything said in a letter is much nicer than what I can say to myself. However, I often extend some of the criticism I’ve heard to tear myself down. I have even been known to use the “tips for good writing” blogs I’ve been reading to tear myself down. I’m not doing that so therefore am no good. Or it may implant a doubt that wasn’t there before. I am constantly asking “is this good enough?”
I’m not sure where the negativity toward my own work comes from. I think it’s partly because I am a perfectionist. And writing is not really something that can be “perfectly” mastered. There is always room for improvement…which is what my mind always tells me. I think it’s also because, when I began writing, I did so in secret. I had already lost most of my friends through girl drama (middle school is a horrible place!). I didn’t want to ostracize myself even more. By hiding my talent in the beginning stages, I never really developed under confidence. Now, even though I have had the feedback, it doesn’t seem to counteract those first beginning years of darkness.
I think writers all have different demons that cause them to struggle. What is important is not that we have difficulty, but that we overcome whatever it is. I have learned to filter my own thoughts. Some are valid. Others, maybe not. To overcome my particular demon, I have to look for outside help. I have awesome readers to assist me. I can throw a chapter or an idea at them and hear what they have to say. They won’t tell me it is good if it’s not. I know this. Therefore, if they tell me my complaints are not valid, I know I am just tearing myself down again. It also helps build confidence. I would be nothing without them.
The key to writing is to power through. It should not be “easy.” If it is, then real magic is not happening. it is through the moments of difficulty that I can push myself to grow.
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