Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tea and confidence make everything better

Ever since I discovered that the deadline for the Dark Faith anthology was at the end of this month and not at the end of March, I've been working on the story every night.  Unfortunately, as mentioned in a previous post, my writing discipline hasn't been good lately, so though I'm better at sitting down to write, my trouble now is staying focused.

I'm currently working on the characters. I tend to come up with plot ideas first rather than characters.  Actually, I feel like I'm really weak in characterization skills (looks hopefully at fellow Prosers in case one of them might make a post with great character development tips).

 I couldn't think of a picture appropriate for this topic, so instead, 
please enjoy this photo I took of baby shorebirds snuggling in their nest.
 Anyway, it's been a while since I've started a new story, and though I'd like to think that my writing has improved over the past year, I still have those stereotypical writer's self-confidence issues.  By Monday, I'd reached Level 2 in the Five Stages of Writer Insecurity:

1) I never have any good ideas
2) I have an idea, but it sucks, and it will never become a story
3) I have a first draft, but I hate it, and it will never become a final draft
4) I have a final draft, and it's terrible, and no critiquer will ever like it
5) My critiquers didn't hate the story, but they found 100 million flaws and I'll never be able to fix the story and no one will ever publish it.

I wrote the following on Monday night:
"Mind you, those are just the deepest parts of the valley.  Trouble is, it takes a lot of effort to get out of those valleys, and when I'm down there, it seems like I'll never get out again. I invariably move on – a few months ago, I was sure I'd never, ever be able to come up with the faintest idea for this anthology (stage 1).  But boy, is it ever dark down here right now."

The whole thing is a little silly.  By Tuesday night, I was out of the valley and coming up with ideas faster than I could type.  Anyway, now it's Thursday night, and I'm still planning, going in 100 different directions at once. But the self-doubt is still seething around down there.  I wish I could make it go away completely, but until I figure that out, I'll have to take the same route I did on Monday night.
-Drink lots of tea
-Pet the cat
-Keep writing, no matter how hopeless I feel. 


  1. LOL, I definitely have my own levels of self-doubt that keep circulating.

    I think some self-doubt is good. It makes us examine our writing and forces us to keep striving to be better. But too much self-doubt can be defeating. Don't let it get you down.

    Keep going Sabrina. You can do it!!!

  2. Ha! Those five stages of writer insecurity are so perfect! Yes, yes, yes, that's me. Thanks for reminding us all that we're not alone as we try to wrangle the perfect pictures in our heads into presentable words on a page.

    You can do it, Sabrina!

  3. Love your list of 5 stages! So true. There's an image I saw circulating a while ago called "Blood, sweat and tea" - how writing gets done. And petting cats. It helps.

  4. Oh man your Monday night list sounds like my coping mechanism through the hopelessness. <3 I just started the Querying Agents stage - which I didn't think could be worse than your 5 Stages of Writer's Insecurity - only to discover that it's my least favorite stage of all. No wonder writers are known to drink. Too bad I hate drinking. Must pet more cats to cope!

    Good luck with your story!

  5. Thanks, everyone! Maybe add 're-read encouraging notes from friends' to that list. :)

    Marisa, I hate querying more than anything else on the planet. One possible solution? Find a writer's conference where you can query in person. I promise letters will seem much less daunting afterward! But since conferences can be expensive, let me know if you'd ever like me to read a draft of your query letter. And if you're looking for internet advice, here's one of my favorite query letter links:

  6. Sabrina, I totally relate. Just keep writing is the best advice, I think. I had a terrible time getting back into the swing of things after Christmas break, and I didn't think I could ever get back to the flow I'd found before then... but once I finally got my butt planted in the chair (and Netflix off), it didn't take that long to start to get excited again.

    Ideas never seem to come to me until I'm already writing. I spend a LOT of time in Stage 1, and I've never made it all the way to stage 5 (a complete draft plus critique feedback... working on it!).

    Thanks for the encouraging post. May have to go make some tea now...


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