Writer’s Doubt: The New Writer’s Block

Today, I decided to do a post on the one thing I consider to be worse than writer’s block- writer’s doubt. Writer’s block. we all know, is when the creative juices just stop flowing and you have no idea what to write next. It can be excruciating as all you want to do is finish your lovely, sparkling piece of work, but simply don’t know how to. Writer’s doubt, I’ve discovered, is even worse. You know exactly which path to take to finish your work, but you lose all confidence in yourself and your writing ability.

I’m the first to admit that this week, I’ve been struck with writer’s doubt. I think it’s good to admit when you’re struggling with your novel; as much as we’d all love to present ourselves as Super Writers to prospective agents, we’re all human at the end of the day and writing isn’t easy. I got to a point with The Dream List and just lost all confidence in my ability to finish it. I felt absolutely awful; I’ve spent the last eight-and-a-half months working on it, let my family and friends read it and let everyone here read it. I just thought that any finished product wouldn’t be good enough. The beginning was clogged with too much happening, the middle would end up the same and the end would be underwhelming.

So I did what any writer would do- start a new draft to make things better. I wanted to make the beginning slicker and get right into the action early. But as I was writing, I suddenly rememebred all the good things about Draft 4 and, more importantly, that I’d made them happen. I had a good read through of it and rediscovered my love for it. I then promptly scrapped Draft 5 and went back to Draft 4 with a renewed confidence in myself. It’s now going better than ever and I’m so happy with its progress.

It’s OK to have doubts about your piece of work though. Don’t feel like it’s a failure on your part or that you’re a bad writer. The best thing to do is take some time out, do some free writing and rediscover your love for what you’re doing. Writing is one of the hardest things to do (character creation, dialogue, editing and that’s BEFORE you submit!) and it’s perfectly natural to have ups and downs with it. That’s partly why I started this blog- to document my writing journey, both good and bad.

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2 thoughts on “Writer’s Doubt: The New Writer’s Block

  1. Joanne Phillips says:

    I really sympathise – and every writer who has ever finished anything has been there, Lynsey! You’re not alone ๐Ÿ™‚ But you did the right thing, going back. It’s so easy to just start again (or in my case, what I usually do is start something else!), but the real value lies in plugging away at your book until it’s finished. Finished, is the key word here! Don’t expect it to be perfect, or even any good, until you’ve finished it and have a first draft to edit. I say first draft because even though this is your 4th draft of the work in progress, when you finish it, it becomes the first finished draft ๐Ÿ™‚ And that’s the time to be critical, and to start making changes.

    Good luck, and thanks for sharing your completely normal doubts x

    • lynseyjames says:

      Hi Jo

      I think it’s important to share doubts because its part of the writing process. I want the blog to be a completely honest account of how I got from a rough idea to a finished novel after all :). I’m doing a lot better with it now and can’t wait to have a finished draft to polish, tweak and perfect (I’m far more critical than any editor will ever be haha!)

      Thanks for commenting and hope TFT is going well. Remember, if you need beta readers for it I will be more than happy to help ๐Ÿ™‚

      Lynsey xx

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