I was updating my author loop yesterday morning and talking about how my progress was going with Witches Knot. As it happens I’d been thinking I’d be done with it Friday night but I was about five thousand words shy â€“ I was on the final series of events and while I could have stayed up to finish, I was exhausted and it wouldn’t have been my best work. I finished it yesterday afternoon and began editing it last night.
Anyway, Friday night, I wrote this big emotional scene where you find out the key motivations to a character’s behavior that had plagued her daughter her whole life. It actually made me cry and it reached that point where I do every book when I ask myself the big important questions: do I care about these people I’ve given life to? Are they worth caring about? Are they three dimensional? Am I saying something with any of them?
The answer, to my great relief is yes. And she finds herself worthy to write another day!
And I say the last only partly in jest. The fact is that while I know that I’m a good writer, I have a crisis of faith in my abilities in every single book at least twice. And now I’ve come to discover that when the book comes out, I have another big one as I wait to hear what people think.
Me, strong girl â€“ sits alone and begins to weave worst case scenarios. They’ll hate it. They’ll think it’s â€“ insert adjective here â€“ poorly written, poorly paced, too much sex, too little sex, fluffy, they won’t like that my heroine is a feminist, they won’t like the storyline â€“ whatever it goes on and on.
I was discussing this with several author friends of mine over the last several days and surprised to find out that they all went through it on some level too. It’s ridiculous! Seriously. How can a bunch of people, all published, all good at what they do, be so insecure, even for short periods of time? I began to wonder if it’s something that all authors go through or if it’s just women â€“ of course I have to make a case study out of it because if I don’t pick at it relentlessly, I can’t figure it out and if I don’t, it’ll bug me into eternity.
For me, it’s that what I write, be it fluff or something serious, is like putting myself on display. I’m laying my guts out there. Political stuff is easy, I can argue my perspective and debate yours â€“ if people don’t like my essays, shrug, it’s not a big thing because I can easily see it’s not about me or my writing. It’s about opinion. But my short erotica and my books are mine, these people are part of me, I’ve made the story up out of whole cloth, the onus of it all is on my head for good or ill. I can take critique- “this scene is superfluous” “you need to expand on this idea” whatever, but the other stuff is what I get worried about. People like what they like and that’s fine, but I hate the idea of people not liking my stuff.
Eeek! What a big bundle of issues I am.