Today doubt plagues me.
My novel is too short (76,000 words when it should be closer to 90,000-125,000). It has shades of many sub-genres—medieval, romantic, low fantasy—but none fit like the proverbial glass slipper. It lacks originality. If I changed the setting and spiced-up the plot with erotic undertones it would read like Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey.
Doubt happens to the best of us, right? The trick is shelving it before it paralyzes you. I’ve whittled away countless hours sifting through my hair for split ends in place of writing.
Obviously, I really need a haircut. But here are some other fixes:
- Ingest a Hefty Dose of Inspiration – Think Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” speech.
- Embrace Other Paths to Productivity – Maybe my story needs to simmer for a few hours, a day, or even two. In the mean time, I can blog, do some grammar exercises, catch up on my Writer’s Digest magazines. Even doing Kegels would be more productive…
- Take a Moment of Respite – Sometimes I sit on a pillow in my library, breath deeply, and pretend to meditate. Sometimes I read, watch TV, or go window-shopping (I have to sell my novel before I can actually afford to buy anything). I indulge for a few minutes, an hour, half a day GUILT-FREE. Afterwards, I’m reset and ready to get back to work.
Of course, I don’t always heed my own advice (to my hair’s detriment). But even just in writing this I feel better. Adding a few thousand words of characterization and detail to my novel shouldn’t be too painful. And comparisons do neither myself nor best-selling-author Carey justice. In a few weeks, I’ll begin searching for agents and publishers. The more practice I have staying steadfast and confident the better.
Doubt follows me like a shadow. But I do have a choice to turn my back to it and face the sun.