Monday, December 6, 2010

What's YOUR Story?

So today I wanted to share a little bit more of my journey to date with you, and briefly touch upon the ever present self-doubt.

Everyone is different. And although we share this common goal of writing, being published, and we go through a lot of similar situations, the experience is unique to each one of us.

I've been trying to write this novel for about 2 years now... yes, 2 years. You have no idea how much my outlook on things have changed since I started, and it's all for the better.

I honestly used to think I'd write the book in one month, send it out the next, and it would be published by the end of the year... yeah.. DOH... what rock was I living under, right?

I think there are a very, very lucky few of us who actually have a fairytale story of being being able to begin and end our journey in a matter of months because it just all worked out. And kudos to them :)

I started writing my novel back in November of 2008. Then I stopped. Scrapped it. Then started again in February of 2009, then scrapped it too and well... you get the picture.

The first time round I wrote 65k and it took me almost a year of blood and sweat, and then I scrapped it yet again.

Because I worried. And I kept doubting myself. I kept wondering if I was good enough. I'd read books and stories that seemed too similar to mine, and end up in full panic mode because I really loved my story and didn't want to have to change it.

The thing is... all this worry... all this self doubt, was just holding me back. And to be completely honest with you, I still have all these fears. I always will. I am human after all :)

The only thing that's changing (hasn't changed completely yet) is my attitude towards it all. And the fact that I'm allowing myself to move forward regardless.

Right now, I'm still writing that same story--it's changed quite a bit along the way, but it won't let me go.

So what if there's a story like yours?

So what if there are books out there better than yours?

There will always stories similar to yours and there will always be books out there better than yours... that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. It just means you should try harder, believe in yourself, and don't give up.

And remember, only you can write like you... regardless of what the story is.

So give that doubt a run for his money.

You've got it in you. It's your turn to shine :)

What do you guys do when you feel like doubt is threatening to take over? What's your journey been like so far? I'd love to hear your story :)


Tabitha Bird said...

Oh gosh. I so relate. I am in the process of re-writing my book. this is re-write number five. And it isn't easy. When the doubt comes I tell myself that since I am the one with this story then I am the one who is suppose to write it. I think the world should cry over all the books out there not written and I don't want mine to be one of them.

Keep going! Keep writing.

Mohamed Mughal said...

Doubt is an ever-present companion through my journey of literary expression. I think, though, that you've hit upon the antidote: keep writing. Best wishes with your story; I look forward to following snippets on your blog.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You've been following my blog, so you know my story.
Don't let the rewrites worry you. You're just making the story better every time!

Jaydee Morgan said...

I relate to this very much - especially on the time issue. I still have to convince myself often to keep going and not give up on it.

Tamara Narayan said...

I started my book in 2002, got a hundred pages in and quit when wedding-house buying-two children- life took over. Then when my youngest was one, I picked it back up (2007). After a few edits, I jumped into query land way too soon, but have since developed a great letter and gained some invaluable feedback from agents who read partials and fulls. I still haven't been signed, but I haven't lost hope.

Jodi Henry said...

I've recently trunked a novel that I worked on for 18months, had two full ms's and two partials.

Other stories and characters started speaking to me and I found I didn't love my other story enough to continue working on it.

Thanks for the kind words on my 'queryly grief' post the other day. I went to be after posting and woke up with fresh idea -no my three year old didn't help but I have a workable query letter now.

Now to revise.

Do you blogfest, if so I am having one for query letters dec 12to18th. The WIP need not be completed and there's two prizes, (a critique of query or first 500pgs of ms was added yesterday:)

check it out on my blog at


Talli Roland said...

Oh, I so hear you. I think doubt is the hardest thing about writing and from what I've heard from established writers, it doesn't ever go away. My only tip is to just push through it; to get to the end of whatever you're working on and say to yourself it's okay if you don't feel 100 per cent with it now. You will!

The Happy Whisk said...

Trust yourself and keep writing.

Colene Murphy said...

Wow! Just tossed it all those times!? I Would cry. Every. Day! No way! You're right though, everyone is different and al our journeys have/are different. Just can't let anything keep you down!

Jai Joshi said...

If I ever feel doubt creeping up I have a strong cup of herbal tea, rest for a minute, and let it pass. If it still doesn't then I schedule an emergency meeting with my friends and let them do what they do best which is to make me feel better.

Then I get back to work.


Dominic de Mattos said...

Oh boy! I hear you! I have been writing my book in my head for 30 years! It was self doubt (plus all the life things that happen) that stopped me from taking the plunge. But then I followed a tweet to this writerly blogosphere, found a blogfest, started a blog and in my explorations have found such huge encouragement, advice and support I now totally believe I can do it! (Despite all the heartache and set backs I read about!) What I read on your blog tells me that you can do it too!


The Happy Whisk said...

Go you, Dominic. Very cool to read things are improving.

KarenG said...

I think the best solution for writer doubt is to finish the novel. Then write another. And polish your own voice. Because whether you publish or not, you've got to have your own distinct voice and that only comes by writing a lot. And nothing gets published if it isn't finished first. These are the things I tell myself constantly.

Holly Ruggiero said...

Ack! The doubt. It is the creativity killer, isn’t it? I pull myself away for a day or so and do something else so when I comeback I’m in the right frame of mine.

The Words Crafter said...

Yay for not giving up! It took me years to get to where you are.

I had to shelve my first wip because I got stuck on a key element. But my nano story is almost finished....and then the editing begins.

I'm dreading that, but I'm terribly happy because that means I'm doing it!

Terrific encouragement, thanks!

Patricia A. Timms said...

I've been where you're at. I might get there again, one can never tell these things for sure.

I wrote a children's book in the late 1990's and started querying it. I didn't ever hear back from a couple of the publishers and then after I got one rejection that wasn't even based on my book, it was because she was only looking for picture books at the time, I shelved the whole idea of writing book altogether until this year.

Hey, if Stephanie Meyers can sell millions of copies of books with typos riddled throughout, then we can write our stories and feel confident in querying. Perfection is subjective.

It's time to get out there! I'll support you! You can do it!

Melissa said...

Your journey sounds quite a bit like mine - meaning the self-doubt takes over and you end up scrapping everything you've done. It took me two years to write my novel. I, too, started in November 2008 and I just finished this past November. I wrote the last sixty thousand words during NaNo. NaNo forced me to stop the self doubt and just write. You see, my problems always been that I will start reading my work and then get frustrated and delete it. This was my fourth attempt at a first draft.

Self-doubt is terrible, so far, my only advice is that you just have to ignore your inner voice and give it everything you have until you are finished.It's hard but really, all you can do is just do it.

Misha said...

My story is very similar.

First version got deleted because it fell flat somewhere.

Second version got halted because I kept working myself into corners that didn't have a sensible solution.

I figured out that both of the above problems came from me over-editing as I wrote.

So I bought a note book and pen and started in on version three. It's going much better now that I know that editing isn't an option until I'm finished...

Still took me more than two years though. Which is why I want to write 100k words this month...


Anonymous said...

Doubt is always nipping at me, but I write consistently. If one idea doesn't work out, I hop onto another. Staying busy is a great way for me to keep the doubt at bay.

Write Chick said...

Ugh. Doubt is the worst! Sometimes it makes me want to work harder, and other days I want to crawl into a hole. I think the only good thing about it is that we all share it.
One thing that always helps me feel better is being with my writing friends. They get me, and they really have my best interests at heart. AND many times they tell me how fabulous I am. And I believe them. :-D It pushes the doubt right out the door.

Anonymous said...

What witer couldn't relate to a story like this? :]

I first came up with the idea for my story 5 years ago, and I started writing the story 4 years ago. Since then almost everything about it has changed drastically, but I'm pretty sure it's for the better. Now I'm halfway done with what I believe will be my final round of revisions before I attempt to query once more.

All I can say about coping with doubt is trying your hardest to get yourself in a mood in which you really ENJOY the act of writing. And a quote from JFK who said that you can only succeed greatly if you fail greatly. ;]

Here's hoping we all become bestsellers! Because if someone else can do it, why can't we?

Anonymous said...

Oh, one more thing. Even though I started writing 4 years ago, there were weeks and and even months in between in which I pretty much gave up. xP

notesfromnadir said...

Congrats on being 102% done! I've never seen that before.

Your story is your own. Get rid of your doubt but also maybe take a break from writing or reading your own work for a few days & just concentrate on doing something else entirely. We all need breaks from words. You'll be able to see your work differently if you do that.

Shayda Bakhshi said...

I started my WIP in earnest about a year and a half ago, but it's a project that's been with me for over a decade. My best friend and I decided we were going to co-author an awesome book about two BFFs who travel to a magical land and put wrongs to right.

Needless to say, it's much different now.

But what's so awesome about writing is that the project doesn't evolve--we do. And we, in turn, shape our projects. The doubt never goes away, but we grow and blossom into writers, anyway. :)

Anna Zagar said...

Self-doubt is like weeds in your garden; if you let it get too rampant, it will choke out the good stuff. Trust me, I know. :)

Theresa Milstein said...

It doesn't matter if you take two years to write one book or write four books in a year. It's the process of writing that makes us better.

All of us writers are filled with self-doubt. We just have to keep writing.

I wish you the best in your writing journey!

erica and christy said...

It only took me 4 months or so to finish mine. The edits, on the other hand - yeah, over a year now.

I think a barrier is that people do think you should be published in a month or two. My family can't possibly understand what's taking so long - and that contributes to the doubt.

Good luck and hang in there. Soon you'll be worried about churning out your 10th novel!

Draven Ames said...

Keep at it. I just saw someone named Leigh get signed by the Knight Agency. She had scrapped her first draft at 67k words. When she rewrote it, she got an agent. You can do it.

But write other things too. Take a break and do some shorts. Hone your craft on something new. Come back with new eyes and tools. Just a thought.

Good luck.

Draven Ames