As I have been working more diligently on my book (until this last week when getting the flu made it almost impossible to do, well, anything), I have begun to feel more confident about getting the thing done. I have specific deadlines for myself, and I do not like to miss dadlines.
Of course the other side of this is that spending more dedicated time on my book also brings on the ugly self-doubt monster. It goes something like this:
Me, typing away at what has to be pure writing gold….
Now it is time to review what I just added compared to the rest of the chapter I’m working in.
“Did I get enough detail here to get my point across? Oh, maybe I have too much detail. I’m just not sure, is what she ate really necessary to the story? Do I need to describe the scenery more?”
Continuing on with the work, still wondering if I am vomiting detail on the page or writing a Dick and Jane story here…
I begin to check out some of the books in the same genre I’m writing to see how other authors handle these questions. This is when I notice just how many new books are out there. I also notice many with so many spelling and grammar mistakes that it becomes fairly obvious they self-published with no one to edit their work for them. On to self-doubt number 2.
“With so many new authors out there, how can my work stand out in the sea? Is it worth it to try to publish when my work has the chance of drowning under all the other unpolished books out there? Does my book look like that? I definitely need to make sure I get an editor. Should I really spend so much time on this? What if I publish the book and no one reads it?”
After reading excerpts from other works, I decide to go back to work on my own story. Now this work includes back-tracking to check previous chapters for obvious spelling and grammar mistakes because apparently they are easy to make. (You don’t know how many times I have seen sense and since used incorrectly).
As I go back through my previous chapters we get to self-doubt moment number 3:
“Oh, is a 2000 word chapter long enough? maybe I need to add some more detail here. Did I end this chapter in the right place? I wonder if I should change the name of the villain. Anyone I know with a similar name might get offended thinking I was writing about them. Should I really mention the bigfoot society? It might detract from the story. But that is just too interesting to let it slide. (My story takes place in an area where there is actually a bigfoot headquarters in case you’re wondering about that one).”
After letting these self-doubts slow me down in my progress, I finally have to take a step back from my work and give myself time to get back on track instead of moving backwards in the story.
Does anyone else who writes ever have similar moments of self-doubt? What do you do to get yourself back on track?