Writing and Confidence

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been working on a manuscript I wrote a few years back. I thought it was the most brilliant piece of writing ever when I wrote it.

Fast forward a few years and a lot of studying of craft and learning sessions from many wonderful teachers and a few amazing and patient authors – I took the manuscript out and had a read through. Oh. My. Gosh! Was my first reaction. Quickly followed by – WHAT. WAS. I. THINKING??? You see, I’d actually sent it to a publisher back then and of course it got rejected. I totally understand why. The writing was horrible.

Over all, I still like the story idea so I decided I would pull it apart, rework it, and make it something to be proud of.

I’ve spent quite a few hours on it over the last two weeks and I must say it is looking better. There are a few places where it still needs a lot of help and I’ve made notes in red text where those are. I will go back and have another look. I’ve imposed a deadline of this Friday to have the story finished and ready to go to the coach/editor. Meeting the deadline will be tight but I think I can do it.

I’ve had many jobs in my life but I have to say writing fiction is the one that has the most ups and downs emotionally for me. Most of my past jobs had lots of projects with steep learning curves. Not a problem. A good teacher, a good manual, great colleagues, a bit of practice and I was quite efficient in a short amount of time. Confidence steadily climbed.

Writing fiction, not so much. As I said at the start of this blog today, I thought I wrote the best piece of literature ever. In my mind, it sounded just as good as the current best seller’s books I’d read. Ahh… no.

I’ve learned so much since then and still have a lot more to learn, but as I sit at the computer today there is still worry whether I’ve done the best I can with this story.

The cycle goes something like this. I make changes, pound myself on the back for a job well done. Confidence soars. Then I read it over and my body goes into panic mode picking out spots where more changes would make the story better. Confidence falls. This pattern continues until I just have to say I’ve done the best I can at the time and let go. I’m not promoting writing inferior stories, that’s not my intent here at all. I’m saying make it the best you can, then send it to your coach, editor, critique partner, or friend and have them help you make it even better.

I’m off to make the story better. Here’s to meeting Friday’s deadline!

About Linda O'Toole

Women's Fiction Author
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