Doubt

I read in a book, I think it was by Orson Scott Card, that at some point in every novel he’d call his agent and say he was quitting his novel project and he had something else he’d rather work on.

Sometimes I wonder how common that is among writers, and if we hit that wall of doubt in similar places. I suspect we don’t.

I’m finding my doubts coming through lately, slowing my pace considerably. Rough drafts I can knock out without much trouble, and I always tell myself it doesn’t matter what kind of shape it’s in, I can fix it later.

It’s after that when the doubts settle in. When I’m trying to change those stubborn passages until they work within the greater whole. When I’m working on the subplots that just popped up and took too much out of the main story. When the thing stares at me and just won’t do what I want it to do.

A couple of my short stories are similarly stalled at the moment. I’m at a loss how to pick up and go from here. I’d rather not start something new, but I don’t want to be doing nothing, either, when I’m so stuck on the current chapter of my book.

These niggling doubts hold me back, but I can’t just dismiss them. Well, I’d like to, but they won’t go away. It probably doesn’t help when I read about how tough it is to break into the publishing markets (nevermind that I’m already published, I still worry).

How do you deal with doubts?

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5 Comments

  1. cherilaser said,

    22 June 2010 at 08:17

    Hi! Your post addresses one of the many things all of us writers share in common. And I’ve found that stewing in my self-doubt can become a never-ending cycle (sort of like doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results). So the best way I’ve found to break that cycle is to get input from others. Writers who understand what you’re going through are generally very open to “taking a look.” And getting that fresh perspective is sometimes all that’s required to remove the roadblock. Good luck with the moment! –Cheri

  2. ransomnoble said,

    22 June 2010 at 08:49

    Thanks, Cheri! I appreciate the advice.

  3. Virginia said,

    22 June 2010 at 09:31

    Great post. I constantly doubt myself. What draws me back is that pull to find out where it’s going to go, especially with the first draft. I’m too curious to let it go. I’ve finally decided for me, my writing is for me. If somone else gets something out of it that’s great but I have to enjoy the process or it’s not worth the time.

  4. ransomnoble said,

    22 June 2010 at 10:19

    Thanks, Virginia. A curious mind is a wonderful thing!

  5. cherilaser said,

    22 June 2010 at 10:30

    And I enjoy following your posts! Have a great week!


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