*Author note: Look for this to be a miniseries on The Writers’ Block Podcast.
Being a writer is a fraught with all types of pitfalls, stresses and doubts. The most uncomfortable of those bedfellows is self-rejection.
Self-rejection the stray dog which keeping coming to your back door even when you don’t feed it. It is the fly in the ointment, the hair in your favorite meal–it is an utter and complete nuisance. Yet, once you have seen it–you can’t unsee it. And then you see it everywhere. From that fear of seeing these disgusting things everywhere, these uncomfortable things, you don’t want to see them–or be where there are–ever again.
Yet, to be a writer of any consistent success you must confront the distraction of self-rejection. I’ll leave you a map when these cycles arise.
Check this out:
I. The Start.
II. The Middle.
III. The End.
The Start. Stephen King said the scariest part is right before you begin. You will always experience this at the start of any new draft, any new page or idea. You will always be afraid.
Remedy: Write scared. Write mad. Write anyway.
II. The Middle. In the middle of a work, you may feel like you want to scrap the entire work! You may feel the need to question your sanity, talent, and anything adjacent to it. However, do not give in to the need to throw it all away. Keep writing!
Remedy: It is completely okay to want to scrap a work. It is okay to not like an idea and want to start over. But you have to value the work you put into it. If the draft has become too hard, put it away. DO NOT ERASE IT. The best thing you can do for your imagination is to let it rest every now and then. Rest. Think. Come back to it.
III. The End. Oh, endings. We as writers beat ourselves up, down and over hot coals about these! It is the desire of every writer to tell a really good story—we almost hate to have the story end! However, even with us ending the story–we often hate it (this happens more than you think it does!). Then we start all over again with the wishing we never wrote it.
Remedy: Do not despair! If there is more story to be told try either writing a sequel (or prequel), or making the story a series. But, keep in mind–every story must end. You must make room for the other stories you desire to create. IF you don’t like the ending–give yourself 3 tries to get it as you want. If none of those fit, leave the original as is. Second, get beta readers! See what they think and take that into account! 85% of writing is the actual writing, the remaining 15% is how it is received. Readers are important–they can help save the life of a book.
IV. Rebeginning. As a writer, there will always be stories to tell. Other things, themes and people to create or revisit. You are going to have to get used to that. Whether you want to make writing a hobby, or just something pursue as a career. Every book brings new challenges. New fears. New things to research, uncover and confront. Not every idea is trash—and you shouldn’t treat it as such.
Remedy: Follow through. With every word you write, every post you publish, every book you finish, you will get better at this. Writing is a having to do mental exercise for the rest of your life! Get used to the jitters, that means you are creating something that scares you a little. This means it will be amazing.