Writing a book! Doesn’t that sound like fun? You can invent a story, make up some characters and send them on a thrilling journey in a fictional world you’ve created. Or maybe you have an important idea, feeling or message you want to share with the world. To be able to write is truly a wonderful gift. And yet too often, writers find themselves wracked with self-doubt and frustration. If you’re looking to get published one day, or even if you are a published author, you may find yourself asking one or more of the following questions.
Will I ever finish this book?
It seems to be taking years. Because it is taking years. And just when you think you’re finished, you find a massive plot hole. Then the rewrites take longer than the initial writes. You wonder if you’ll ever write another book because this one is taking so long to complete.Unfortunately, it appears the only way to finish writing your book is to keep going until you finish writing it. The Self-Publishing School offers 8 Actionable Steps to Finish Your First Draft, including having a schedule, setting realistic goals and avoiding burnout. Plenty of writers have said it took them years to write their first novel, but with persistence, they all got there in the end. So don’t give up!
Why am I doing this to myself?
You might ask yourself this question when the rejections are coming in thick and fast but the acceptances are few… or never. There’s nothing quite like that awful sinking feeling after you get a rejection, where you question yourself and wonder if you’ll ever be capable of producing something worth reading. Or perhaps you’ve read work by other amazing writers (and there are a lot of them!), both published and unpublished, and think you’ll never be as good.
This insightful blog post What To Do When You Hate Your Own Writing at Writing and Wellness talks about the two times it’s normal for writers to hate their own writing. It’ll make you feel a bit better reading about other writers who feel the same as you. And again, with hard work and perseverance, your writing will get better and you’ll start to feel more confident in your abilities.
Who is going to read what I’ve written?
Congratulations on completing a polished piece of writing! But what happens when you send it to publishers and agents and don’t hear back? Or when someone gives you feedback that isn’t constructive and you lose the will to show your work to anyone else? Who is going to read what you’ve written when you don’t even want to read what you’ve written, and you’ve run out of family and friends to ask? Should you give up?
Paul Angone talks about his own experience as a writer trying to get published in an article on The Write Practice called How to Keep Writing When No One is Reading. He states you can’t be a writer only motivated by success or by being published (because unfortunately, there’s no guarantee those things will happen).
“You know you’re truly a writer when it’s simply something you can not NOT do.”
Sound like you? If it does, then I’m sorry, but it looks like you won’t be able to give up. You’ll have to push through the rejections, self-doubt and and never-ending rewrites. Keep writing stories and remember why you started in the first place. Because you enjoy it. Writing IS fun and as cliched as it sounds, if you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect anyone else (agents and publishers included) to believe in you?