The hardest part of writing, for me, is dealing with a recurring crushing lack of confidence. You’d think that I’ve been here enough times before, I could just get over it. It shakes me every time.
See, whenever something good happens — something sells, gets nominated for a prize, receives a good review — I always attribute that to luck. I’m lucky that day. Whenever something bad happens — losing an award, getting a rejection, not hearing any response — I take responsibility. It’s my fault because I’m not good enough or didn’t work hard enough or lobby the right people at the right time. Success is attributable to someone else, but failure is all mine.
Now I’m waiting to get a novel back from its editor. The book has passed the first hurdle already: the editor liked it enough to offer me a contract. Now I’m just waiting to get his changes on it. If I make those changes to his satisfaction, the book should be out in spring next year.
I have to finish the book. I’m so close that I can’t give up now. Still, I’m scared. What if he wants huge changes: a more likable protagonist, fewer points of view, a more linear narrative? What if, in the months since he bought the book, he’s decided he hates it? What if he can’t see any way to fix it?
What if I’m not good enough to do the work?
Writing is easy. Stringing words together is easy. The waiting is hard.
I can’t wait to get to work.