Last week I sent in the page proofs for Absence of Alice the ninth Sarah Winston Garage Sale mystery and I’m writing the second Chole Jackson Sea Glass Saloon mystery—A Time to Swill. I get a little crazy when I’m writing — ask my family.
Every writer goes through a number of stages when writing – joy, despair, despair, despair, joy. Did I mention despair?
It starts with an idea. It’s a great idea. A fabulous idea. I am so freaking smart. Starting a new book is exciting. There are blank pages to fill–the idea to expand until it’s fully formed.
About a third of the way through I start to wonder why I thought the idea was a great one. It now just seems okay.
Halfway through I hate the idea. What was I thinking? It wasn’t a big enough idea. It’s not enough to carry a book. Worse, I think everyone has used this same idea.
Three quarters of the way through–I’m a fraud. Everyone is going to realize it when they read this book. I’m a terrible writer. The reviews will be scathing. They’ll say she had a good run, but this was bound to happen.
Near the end. Ooohh, that’s a good twist. No one will see it coming. I didn’t see it coming. Nope, that’s wrong. It’s too obvious. I have that big shiny clue in the middle of the book. I might as well have a neon sign pointing at it. All the reviews will mention how easy it was to figure out who was the killer.
I go through revisions and send it off to my editor. What if he hates it? What if he says I have to rewrite the whole thing. He doesn’t!
The copy edits arrive. I hate it. I love it. That line was brilliant. How did I write that awful paragraph? But I can fix it.
Page proofs arrive. It’s my very last chance to find errors. What if I miss something? I still have a love/hate relationship with the manuscript.
Advance reader copies go out. People like it. They laughed out loud. It made someone cry. Whew. Now on to the next book.
Readers: Do you doubt yourself when you are doing something creative?
I think all writers go through this. Funny how the same manuscript can seem brilliant one day and terrible the next. You would think this process would get easier, but nope. Don’t listen to those voices in your head. I’m sure your latest is wonderful!
It is the strangest thing to think it’s great and terrible!
All of that! And you know what? It’ll be fine.
I know it will be, but I wonder if I’ll ever get to the point that I don’t go through this.
Sherry, I’m at that 1/3 point right now and am having the same serious doubts. What was I thinking? I should ditch it and start all over. Yep. Every time.
And I agree with Edith. It’ll be fine.
Why do we doubt ourselves? We have a few books under our belts.
Every time. I’m at the 1/3 mark with the current book and thinking, “I have no idea what I’m doing, this is awful.” Then I remember what Hallie Ephron said, “Just hold your nose and write.” It will all turn out fine.
this sounds like what quilters go through. i know i do. especially when giving it away
Very interesting! I so admire quilters and their creativity. I’m so lucky to have six quilts my grandmother made!
Most definitely! I think it’s human nature. However, I do think I’m the #1 doubter in myself or my abilities at times. Then I think about it and realize that by being so critical of myself that I make myself and what I do the best me there is. Nothing wrong with that!
2clowns at arkansas dot net
I guess it is human nature — I wish it wasn’t!
This all sounds familiar, Sherry! It happens with every form of growth, I think. As miserable as it can be sometimes I wouldn’t have it any other way!
I was wondering if it was any better for plotters.
The perfect description of the writer’s life. There’s a point in every book where I turn to my husband and say, “Remind me again why I think I can do this. It stinks.” Liz, I’m going to have Hallie’s words embroidered on a sampler. I’d have them tattooed, but I’m chicken.
Laughing — I’d to with embroidery too!
Truth, Sherry! 😊
I’m so happy that I’m not alone in all the crazy thoughts. Did that come out wrong? I’m sorry everyone else is going through this too?!
I’m smiling big-time as I read this. It happens to me, even with short fiction.
In your case, whatever your process, the result is always excellent, always! We, the fans, LUV your work. 🙂
Thank you, Patti!!!! I appreciate your support!
I doubt myself about accounting. Never mind anything creative. And I definitely doubt myself about anything athletic. Basically, I’m a fraud.
So we can be frauds together. 🙂
Laughing! Anyone who does mud runs and plays ultimate Frisbee isn’t a fraud.
One of the things I’m a fraud at is ultimate Frisbee. I’m not that good at it, and I’m a slow runner.
Well this certainly sounds familiar.
I totally feel the same way, Sherry!
Maybe it makes us better writers!
Lol! Hopping on just to say, boy, do I relate! xoxo
Whew! I miss you!
All I can say is, it must be worth it or you wouldn’t do it. And we readers are so glad that you do.
It is in the end. Holding my book in my hand is always so exciting. And having readers glad we write is the best!
All the time!
It’s interesting we all seem to do it!
Sherry, this is so true! I’m just at the stage of thinking about my next novel and I love that I don’t have to commit to writing anything yet 🙂
It’s such a great stage!
Just a great big YEP!
Whew! I’m not alone!
I’m in the ‘this is horrible, everyone is going to hate this book’ stage right now. 🙁
I hope that stage will end soon!
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