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?