Tuesday, January 3, 2012
IWSG - Where Did My Confidence Go?
It's the first Wednesday of the month, time for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support group.
In a normal workplace, you need to know how to do your job. If you're an accountant, you need to know the rules of accounting; if you're a programmer, you should be able to write programs; if you're a police officer, hopefully you know some laws. In all of these jobs, you have skills or you don't. There's some art to the job, some talent that distinguishes the excellent employees from the mediocre, but usually success is a matter of how hard the employee is willing to work to gain competence at their job.
Fiction writing is the same in some ways. There's learnable skill involved. We need to know where to put that period and when to use a semicolon. There are endless books out there to tell us how to write well. Determination and persistent hard work separate the excellent writers from the mediocre, just like in any other job.
The difference, as we all know, is this - the muse, the talent, the artistic factor. My lingering question, besides Does my writing suck? is this: Will I be able to write with the same quality today as I did three months ago?
Yesterday morning, as far as fiction writing goes, I couldn't string three words together. It may be in part from sleep deprivation, but I think it's really because I took too long of a break from writing over the last few weeks.
I lost my writing mojo, and I really miss it. I know no one can find it for me. I'm worried it will be like that lost remote control that shows itself only after I declare it lost forever.
I miss the confidence I had in October when I finished a novel I had been working on all year. I miss that day my writing made a room full of people laugh out loud. I have felt bursts of confidence over the last couple of months, but they have been very short-lived, gone in a second.
Last night I met with my writing partner. She shared her critique of the middle part of my novel. I felt much more confident when I saw how few marks there were in the manuscript and how positive she was about it. I remembered how much I loved it. I found my confidence (for now) if only about that novel, and I hope to be back to writing something new today. Even if it hurts, I'm going to keep writing until I feel like myself again.
No more breaks for me. This inept feeling really sucks.