Thursday, January 19, 2012

If Self-Doubt Were a Superhero, What Color Would His Cape Be?


Yesterday, I felt a little bit like a superhero with a secret identity. I was flush with the success of completing a monumental project. A project born from the primordial goo of my imagination, spewed forth like a fish-man-beasty thing crawling from the depths. Okay, that might be a little melodramatic. Still, it felt like a big deal. All day.

Alternately, I was overcome with self-doubt. I shamelessly posted it on Facebook, because, dammit, I can't help myself. I can't keep a secret. Don't tell me any. I sure can't keep something as huge as a novel quiet. People congratulated me all day. It was wonderful. Like a second birthday.

But in my mind I was having this conversation:

Superhero Me: Way to go! You did it! You rock!

Self-Doubt the Evil Nemesis: Yeah, but you probably just wasted your time.

Superhero Me: No Way! It's the journey that matters. Completing the task! Doing what you said and set out to accomplish.

Self-Doubt the Evil Nemesis: Uh, yeah, still a waste of time and probably at least one tree was also wasted with that stack of paper.

Superhero Me: No, it's just as good as some of the other paranormal romances I've read.

Self-Doubt the Evil Nemesis: Really, you think so? Soooo deluded. No one is going to waste time reading that drivel. It's not even a real genre. Paranormal Romance, what the hell is that? Who cares?

Superhero Me: Middle aged women, lots of them. We like that stuff.

Self-Doubt the Evil Nemesis: Does it really make any difference in the world if it exists?

Superhero Me: It made ME happy. So yeah, it does.

Self-Doubt the Evil Nemesis: Self indulgent and weak

Superhero Me: Shut Up, Self-Doubt or I'm gonna rip that cape off and shove it up down your pie hole.


Last night I was determined to start the next novel fresh and new. When I started trying to massage my tiny little germ of an idea, my last unfinished project kept niggling at the back of my mind, "What about me? Finish me."

The last project was also the first real project I had ever started. I retrieved it from the bowels of my hard drive, dusted it off and reformated it to make it look prettier than it likely deserved. I printed that puppy out. Printing it out all nice and double spaced with a title, header and page numbers made it seem a little more official,  more substantial  and worthy somehow.

I bound it together with a colorful binder clip and headed to bed to reread it. I had already completed 115 pages before I wrote myself into a corner from which I couldn't figure out how to escape. As I read through it last night and then more today, I can't help thinking, it's not that bad. Sure the plot is ridiculously complicated and has no continuity but that can be fixed, right?

Apparently there are plotters and pantsers. Plotters tediously plan their storyline and spend hours writing the map of their story before their characters ever even come to life. Pantsers just jump in and write, anxiously waiting to see where the story takes them. For all my planning in my real life, I think I'm a pantser as a writer.

I don't like to be bothered with the tedious details.

On the one hand that's exciting because, I spent a lot of the work reacting to the crazy things that kept happening. Like in real life but totally not. On the other hand, at one point I got my heroine into such a mess, I'm now going to have to delete her back to something less grand. A God, I would not make. Lisa Almighty won't likely be in my future.

So I've decided to work on actually PLOTTING this unfinished work and molding it into something much better than it is right now. See, I AM teachable. In the meantime, I keep trying to kick Self-Doubt to the curb but he's a real bastard sometimes. Mostly he creeps in the minute someone tells me they want to read it. What? Why would you want to read it??? It's a NOVEL for God's sake. Oh, yeah. Right.

I feel like I need to make lots of disclaimers and caveats before I let anyone read it. Only a handful of people have read any of it and that was only the first twenty pages. As long as it's safely buried on my hard drive, and my desktop and my USB drive and my Skydrive and Google Docs ... ( paranoid much?) it's safe and a gloriously unjudged jewel. As soon as it get's read .... well ... I'll be judged too.

My own doing I know. I hear the strings whining as you play your tiny finger violin for me.

Be careful what you wish for ... you just might get it.



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