Writers are neurotic. Don’t you think? I am, and it seems to me every other writer I’ve met – in person or by email – is as well. Often, we get swamped by self-doubt.
We ignore twenty great reviews and agonize over one bad one.
We check Amazon numbers even though everyone tells us they’re not a good indicator of anything at all. And when our ranking drops, we’re shattered.
With each book we write, we hit a point where we think our characters are stupid, our story is stupid and, most of all, we’re stupid and will never be able to turn this pile of c**p into a book.
How do we survive without slitting our wrists? [g]
That’s my question for today? What gets us through the bad times? (And hey, I won’t restrict the question to writers. If there’s anyone else out there who’s just as neurotic as we are, please feel free to answer.) Let’s share our tips, tell what keeps us motivated. Maybe we can learn something from each other.
Speaking for myself, there are a couple of things I try to remember when I’m wallowing in self-doubt:
1. I actually do know how to do what I do, and I can do it again [g].
2. I have good reasons for writing. I do it to bring the characters in my head to life, and to give readers something that entertains them, moves them, and maybe even makes them think.
I have a number of techniques that help me remember these things. One is to frame my book covers and hang them in my office, along with the awards my books have won. On my bookcase sits the vase of silk roses that my local RWA Chapters award for book sales. And something I plan to do is set up a scrapbook where I save little motivational items, so I can turn to them when I’m feeling down. Like, the contest judge who said, “Susan Lyons is one of my favorite writers.” Wow! The sailor who told me one of my characters reminded me of his wife, then shared the terrific story of how the two of them met. The readers who tell me that I gave them hope when I wrote about a plus-size woman finding a man who believes she’s truly beautiful. All these are reminders of why I do what I do – and that I do a halfway decent job of it too!
How about you? How do you keep yourself motivated, especially when you’re going through a period of self-doubt?