Word Count: 13,684 Editing: 95% done
I've been experiencing sluggishness and self-doubt. As authors, we often have these symptoms, sort of like the Circle of Authorship. It's almost a rite of passage. When you do this job (and yes it is a job, so stop stifling that laugh in your sleeve you in the back) it's difficult to keep things in order. There is no specific set of skills that one needs in order to succeed in it. Well, you do have to be willing to sit your butt down and work and be passionate about it (passion is very key), but other than that you don't need much else. There's no test to gage our moral compass. We don't have to share an experience where we had to overcome a difficult work situation involving a hostile co-worker(unless you count yourself as that hostile person).In these times of confidence crushing moments, we have to remind ourselves why it is we do what we do. Because we love it.
You know what makes these times even worse? Comparing yourself to someone else. Let's be honest, this is a waste of time. All authors are unique. Each of us has our own way of telling a story. A way of conveying a mood or scene. Getting yourself down because you can't write like someone else is pointless. Can you imagine if Stephen King had written the Hunger Game trilogy? (And yes I'm using The Hunger Games in lieu of all the frenzy everyone is in over the trailer). It would not be the same masterful piece of work it now is. I'm sure Mr. King would have thrown in a haunted house or monsterous alien creature in there somewhere, or some other supernatural element, because he's really good at those things. But he didn't write it, Suzanne Collins did. And I can't imagine anyone else doing it. Do I wish that my prose was as beautiful and purposeful as Maggie Stiefvater's? Yes. But it isn't. And that's her thing, it's what she's known for. Do I wish that everything that came out of my characters' mouths were as witty and sarcastic as the ones from Cassandra Clare's Mortal Instruments Series? Of course! I don't know how that woman comes up with such fun exchanges, but she's way good at it. You know the great thing about reading? You can learn from it. How awesome is that we get to read in order to learn? This is the best job ever! We may not be able to get it ALL right, but we can get better at it by enjoying someone else's work, and practicing our own. If I can't write it, at least I can take enjoyment in reading it.
At the end of the day we have to remind ourselves that we are who we are, and we write the way we write. You may hate the way a sentence sounds right now, but you can always go back and change it. That's the great thing about writing and editing.
Nothing is going be as perfect as you envision it in your head. Writing is a continual learning process. I don't think there will ever come a day when one of us says "Finally, I know ALL the things!I'm the master of my craft!' And if you do, more than likely it probably sucks. Yes, there are days when I think "All of this is garbage, who would ever want to read it?' And others where I think "Hey, this isn't half bad.' I don't think I will ever get to the point where I think it's great or even good. But that's the burden we writers carry with us. It's our job to be self deprecating. It keeps us going. And if you have one of these Circle of Authorship moments, make sure you have people around you to keep you going. Encouragement is huge in this industry. We feed off of it. Criticism is helpful, too. But with self-doubt continually looming over our heads like that one grade school teacher that never cut you a break, we need support. So, I support all of you. And I hope you'll support me. I'm not going to wallow in misery, I'll rise above it. Sometimes it just takes time. I'll get back to writing in order to make it more presentable. And some day I'll share it with all of you. Thanks for sticking around!