For Tuesday, May 17, 2016:
” … The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”
“Your only responsibility as a writer is to be true to the story that has chosen you as its writer.”
Jean Little, via LiteraryLighthouse.com
A story sits before me right now: the hardcopy proof of my novella. This is my last chance to catch typos and make changes before it’s released to the world, so I’ve been going through it with what I hope is the editorial equivalent of a fine-toothed comb since Friday.
I loved the story and its characters as I wrote and when I went over the digital proof. I still do. Now, though, as I progress through the physical copy, I find myself wondering if it’s any good after all. Is the writing as good as it can be? Is it effective? Does the storyline make sense? Did I tie up all the pieces, connect all the dots?
This is where I have to trust. I have to trust my early readers, all of whom say it’s a good story – and yes, according to them all the pieces come together, everything makes sense. I have to trust my instincts now. I have to trust the characters and their parts in the story. They definitely chose me, not I them – and they’re still speaking as I embark on the second story in their collective series.
Another thing I have to do is not compare this story to other novels. It’s not a thriller, it’s not jam-packed with action or brilliant technological details or sex or horror or … whatevers. I can’t write those books and I don’t want to. There are plenty of others who can and do, so I’m not going to get stuck wishing I could.
I can edit such books – I have, and I enjoy doing so – but I’m just not called to write them for some reason. Maybe it’s because I’m an introvert, but I tend to hear the voices and the stories of the shy, quiet ones, and that suits me fine.
Well, there’s a new insight – I’ve never thought of that before! If I’d not been talking myself out of my self-doubt, I don’t think I’d have reached such a realization. Thank you for bearing with me as I wrote through to this point. Now I can say with conviction that the story is good, and that it seems to have chosen me for a reason – perhaps to give voice to some of the more reserved and taciturn among us. I can do that.
That being said, I’m not sure how quiet I’ll be when it’s time to announce the book’s release in a week or two … but that won’t happen if I don’t finish going through the proof. It should go a little faster now that I’ve worked through the doubts.