Writers Doubt I am writing this post for the Writers Crushing Doubt Contest.
I have been told that every writer suffers from moments of doubt, and sometimes it is enough to keep us from writing. I have only begun to take my own writing seriously in the last few years. I spent years on the fringe thinking that I didn’t have enough education or experience to ever be taken seriously. I kept writing and as long as it was for a writing group or website I was confident enough. I could tell other writers what I liked about their writing or if they needed a little tweak and I got my ego stroked when they gave me positive feedback. It kept me going. I thought it was enough.
Now I have written a middle age, inspirational book that I have decided needs to be published. I believe I have something to share. Little did I know that first; qualifying it as middle grade; second qualifying it as inspirational would make it a difficult book to publish. Also, in this world of self publishing this book almost has to be published by someone like scholastic to get to the audience that it is intended for. I thought… you wrote it, you found a publisher, and Waahla… you were golden. Not so!
The anxiety in exploring, and educating oneself is daunting. I have read more YA and middle grade fiction than you can shake a stick at and I have felt more unqualified with almost each book. I definitely have a better understanding of teenage issues: bullying, social anxiety, and pubescent sexuality than I had as a teen. Heck, I think I know more about sexuality after reading these books that I know as a mother of three.
I have lain awake at night wondering, “What are you doing? You are a almost retirement age hairdresser with aspirations of being a published writer. What on earth made you think anyone would want to read what you have written?”
Self doubt is where I live right now. I just keep reading stories of writers who led lives that had little to do with mainline literature. I read true stories about peoples lives that wanted to contribute by telling their stories and I found flaws in some of the literature that I read and thought, “I can do better than this.”
I went back to the writing site where I have explored writing poetry and short stories and read the reviews and critiques and found my voice again. I googled many on-line help sites and I found this whole process exhilarating There are so many authors willing to help me make my book into something that I will be able to share. I have learned that I have to educate myself and invest in myself as an author. I have to earn that title by publishing and I want to call myself a writer.
My turning point was while I was exploring how to write a query letter and I had to fill out a detailed questionnaire.
What makes my story different than other stories dealing with the same topics? Is my protagonist believable. How is my book like successful books in it’s genre?
After reading and really trying to answer those questions I started believing in my book again and decided that I would do whatever it took to make it a book that young readers would enjoy. It may take time to develop my characters more or add a little more word count. I am already starting to write ideas for the next two books.
My handle on twitter is writerwannabe. I want to Be. I can write. I have lived life and I have a story to tell. I want to tell it in a way that young people can feel empowered to believe in God without hiding their faith and become real hero’s in a world of fantasy hero’s.
This is my new adventure. I think as one path ends we must find another to continue to be productive and positive in our lives. I believe this is the path on which God has led me. I will still have moments of doubt but I will Be a Writer. I know someone out there can enjoy my stories and poems and I will publish them.