Saturday, April 04, 2009

Writing and Self-Confidence

I was thinking about writing the other day. Actually, I do quite a lot of thinking about writing, as opposed to actually getting down to work and writing. Anyway, I find that my confidence level is extremely variable.

I'm seldom happy with a first draft but by the time I finish a third draft, or somewhere in that vicinity, I think what I have is really good. If I'm feeling brave, I send it out. Yay for me and all that. By the time I get the rejection - which might be six months later - and look at the piece again, all I can see are the flaws, and there are always lots to see. I'll sneak in a music reference here. I might see the third or fourth draft as a symphony, or, at the very least, a good sonata, when I send it out. Then later (after those six months pass) when I have to look at again, it appears to be a very trite and unsaleable pop song.

It's hard to deal with these fluctuations in confidence. I hope I'm learning to be somewhat more objective. In some ways, I think I've progressed as a writer. I have learned its a long process and I have gained at least a little objectivity about my work. That's a continuing struggle though - as it probably is for everyone else who writes.

Perhaps a bit of early success temporarily spoiled me. It's all a balancing act. Nothing I write will ever be anywhere near perfect. I'm extremely aware of that but I also have to maintain a reasonable amount of belief in what I do, and be able to hear criticism and not cringe, and be able to sort out the just criticism from the less-than-just criticism. I'm working on that. I'll probably always have to work on that.

And speaking of work, I better get back to the fourth draft of one of my short stories.


Julie said...

I fluctuate so much with my writing confidence it's not even funny. I feel your pain. The only thing I can really do is just keep writing, so I do.

Good luck!

-Firewolf from the OWG.

DBReynolds said...

Truer words were never spoken. There's not a single thing I've ever written that I haven't gone back and said, "Oh,gods, what WAS I thinking?" There are always changes/corrections that could be made, but at some point you just have to cross your fingers and push it out the door.


Pam McInnes said...

I've heard that an agent is very helpful in this area...

Ever think about going that route and trying to get one?

Michelle Muto said...

I'm at that 'unhappy' spot at the moment. I think we all go through it.

Falcata Times said...

Hi Diane,
I think everyone suffers with confidence problems during the writing stage. Part of the problem with me is that I keep rewriting it to try and have something that I'm happy with which means that its nigh impossible to get a script written.

Im discipling myself so that I can get a first draft done before I start to edit again so I'm looking forward to it. I think a good crit group and also seeing that others suffer the same problem has helped me a hell of a lot.

So much so, that I should hopefully have something to start showing in OWG shortly.

Julie said...

Working on the whole agent thing. Unfortunately it's a long and subjective process :) Unless you're really damn lucky.