I get the writer’s doubt every day. In fact this is why I rarely write anything anymore. I have several blogs and most of them have not been updated in years, some I even have deleted because I thought I would never get around to write anything. Yet I have plenty of ideas. My mind is buzzing with stories to tell. I have so many drafts on my computer and when firing up Microsoft Word on my iPad, I can actually see how many drafts I have scattered around…
And now I have a novel written and the follow up story is already in the works. Some days I get really excited about becoming an author, other days I feel like crap, even terrified, and I try not to think about it, forcing myself to completely forget I have a novel sitting on my hard drive and backed up on several clouds.
Two of my closest friends are writers. And boy, they are such awesome writers! I love how they come up with the right words always to convey an idea or an emotion. I am so envious of their writing skills. But what is so good about both of my friends is that they never criticised my writing. They will correct me and help me find the words but they have never put me down. And I guess this is my biggest fear: being criticised.
I don’t mind constructive criticism but as I read comments on Goodreads, in my head goes “no way I’m publishing anything”. In his book, Writer’s Doubt: The #1 Enemy of Writing (and What You Can Do About It), Bryan Hutchinson says: “The reality is harsh criticism most often comes from those who have never put themselves out there. Maybe doubt is holding them back. It’s always easier for someone who has never taken the risk themselves to tell you what you’re doing wrong or what you should have said. That doesn’t mean all input about your work will be unhelpful, but harsh criticism doesn’t come from people concerned about being helpful. “
And my biggest excuse to not write is this one: English is not my first language so I’m not good at it (even when for the last 20 years, I speak, think, and dream in English 95% of the time. I use my French only when it’s necessary).
I am not writing for a Pulitzer Prize. I write because I enjoy writing, as I’ve always have or at least since I can remember. Even though I like to keep my childhood at bay, I do remember French classes in primary school. I loved writing essays, I loved getting good grades in French classes and I would get furious at myself for a spelling mistake which I knew I could have avoided if I had checked my work more thoroughly. But at least French and English were the only two classes I excelled and made up for my poor grades in all other subjects.
I love writing because it is therapeutic. Usually I am playing first person shooters games on my Xbox for therapy and it really helps with stress, but writing is a different kind of therapy. Shooting invading aliens is to sooth physical stress. Writing will silence the voices, the internal dialogues and clear my mind of conflicts with myself. Granted, you can talk to your close friends, and I do that often. But with writing it is different.
I like to write about things I am passionate about or things that bother me. I’m not competing. I’d rather learn about becoming a better writer, meaning it’s ok that II still make mistakes, and sometimes I write with a French mind. I also have a very active mind and putting all my thoughts down can be confusing. That’s why I’ve used a ghost-writer for years and sometimes I can just imagine her shaking her head in disbelief thinking what the f#*% is this? Lol. But somehow she always managed to re-arrange my thoughts the way I would have done it if only I knew how to do it.
When I play video games, I get frustrated because I can’t get any kills. Well, I don’t get as many kills as the other players and I’m most of the time last or second-to-last on the leader boards. I know practice makes perfect. You want to get better at something; you have to learn some new skills and practice. I keep telling myself: okay, from now on I will do at least 3 matches a day. I also have to take into account that I am fairly new at gaming compared to those who have been playing every day since their teens… I’m older, so yes my reflexes are not as sharp as those of the kids who play religiously every single day for hours (they don’t have the worry about earning enough money to pay the bills either). And I am not as competitive as most players, I prefer to play purely for fun. But I’ll admit it would be nice to be at the top of the leader board for once, or even in the middle.
Writing is the same, I need to practice. I keep putting it off. I start something and never finish it. So in a way, I’m amazed I managed to finish writing a novel, this is a big achievement for me. But I need to make it a daily thing. I need to find myself and make it a habit. I need to find the confidence to write and keep on writing.
I’m also studying: Certificate IV in professional writing and editing. Not that I intend to become an editor. This is one of the many writing courses I will study for the years to come. I don’t intend to become an editor. Actually that course has definitely turned me off wanting to be an editor but I want to learn anyway. And it will still complement my work by offering proofreading to my clients on their website.
On another note, I have decided to push forward the publishing of my book to the beginning of the year. $8000 is a big financial commitment and with Christmas upon us, I don’t want to stress about money. It may be the best idea to start 2016 with the publishing of my book, as my first New Year resolution.