Tuesday, January 26, 2010

This way, there be dragons...

In the summer of last year, I touched on self-confidence on this blog and how I struggled with the lack of self-confidence in my writing life. That was back in June of ’09. Now it’s January of 2010. Have six months made a difference?

…that’s okay, I’ll wait while you ponder the vast question…

The answer is, no, not really, but that’s going to change, as God is my witness (for those of you Scarlett O’Hara fans)

So, you’d think that since this is the Paranormal Romantics blog that I’ve chosen to talk about dragons in the paranormal sense. You’re wrong—well, not really. I am writing a dragon book and that’s part of the problem.

Think figuratively, friends. Dragons, in this instance, mean the trials and tribulations that trip us up as we go about our daily lives and chase our dreams.

Distractions.

They can come in many forms, some the obvious of technology, spouses, pets, kids, the day job, whatever. I’ll bet if you really sat down, you could come up with a far longer list than I did.

Being a writer is a solitary existence, and by nature, I think it needs to be in order for said writer to concentrate on all the other people who crowd through our brains. Perhaps two centuries ago, we could easily be considered mad, as we frequently talk to the residents of our minds, ask them to lay bare their souls for us so that we might write about them.

I think writing is like a balancing act. We must gently craft out a plot backbone then skillfully add in characters, tone, emotions, motivation, back story and many other components without falling off the track and getting lost.

However, these things happen. They did to me this week. My novella came to a screeching halt. I was lost, trapped in the dark without a light, afraid, alone, annoyed. So I switched gears and wrote the opening chapter of my dragon book. Went down in flames, leaving the stink of failure behind to hang heavy in the air.

My self-confidence fled to a warm, dark place, away from prying eyes. My old insidious companions Doubt and Panic crept back in to fill the void. I committed the biggest sin a writer can make: I doubted myself and my ability. I chose to believe the evil little voice inside that tells me all the time I’m a hack, I can’t cut it in this business, that I’ll never amount to anything.

I don’t know why this occurs with me because deep down, I know I’m a great writer. Some of the pieces I’ve written are unforgettable, deeply emotional gems.

But you know how it feels, right? You can’t shake that feeling. The one that yells you’ll never be good enough, you’ll never break the edge.

Don’t go there. I warned you there’d be dragons, and this is where they reside, waiting, snaking out their forked tongues in case I stumble so they can snap me up.

I seem to blow off course with the least ill wind and it’s annoying.

Luckily, there was an “intervention” of sorts from my wonderful husband and a good friend, who slapped some verbal sense into me, made me reiterate a confirmation that I could indeed to this calling that has chased me since childhood.

And so, once again, I believe. I’m ready to tackle my taunting dragons and fix the novella, make it better, and write the book the way I know I can.

Now, if only I could make that damn backbone stick permanently. I have no hankering to become an appetizer for dragon-kind any time soon—well, unless he was really convincing…

The moral of this story, kids? If you give up on yourself, so will everyone else. They'll turn their attention faster than lovers in a Hollywood drama. Your faith in your confidence may feel as if it were built on shifting sand, but you gotta dig deep, hold fast to those trusted ones around you and plunge through the fire. It won’t kill you and it will make you a stronger person.

As for me, I’m still working on it. Luckily, I’m perfectly capable of handling my own sword.

9 comments:

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J Hali said...

Sandi, if a writer doesn't sometimes face the dragon, I'm not sure we get the best from them. It's the fight that makes them stronger and better.

Lift that sword and swing away...you're one of the best!

P.L. Parker said...

How true this is! Dragons and demons and all those things that make us doubt. Going through some of that myself right now. Going to get me one of those swords.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks Joann! :-)

PL--you know you can find everything on the 'Net! ;-) LOL Thanks for coming by!

Sandy said...

Sandi,

I can't tell you the number of times that I've faced self-doubt. There were times after getting a rejection letter or a contest with low scores back that I quit for months before I managed to start back again. That's part of the reason it took me so long to get published.

Now, I never even consider quitting even if I have difficult edits. BTW, I love doing edits.

Annie Nicholas said...

A writerks life is lonely. Thank goodness for the Net. I know - wouldn't have made it this far without it.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Sandy--Oh, don't worry, quitting's not a option. Just took a header into the dirt. I'm back on the horse now and powering through it.

Annie--Glad you're on the 'Net! :-)

Author GE Stills said...

When you are facing those dragons of self doubt I want you to take a look to the side of this blog. All of you. Look at the list of published books and pending books. That alone should help you overcome any self doubts. You are all very successful. So each of you, when you face those dragons, and each of you will, just remember that there are a lot of wanna be writers out there but they haven’t published anything. Pick yourself up. Dust yourself off and charge on. Writing may of necessity be a solitary existence but I have made so many new friends over the past months it is unbelievable. When I have self doubts, I look at all of my successful new friends for my inspiration.
Gary

Sandra Sookoo said...

Thanks for your support, Gary :-) It's appreciated