Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Still no word

I've worked out what's wrong with me. I'm in denial. That numb, nasty feeling you get when faced with something you can't cope with. Deep down, I don't believe the book is good enough. Do we ever believe something we've created ourselves is good enough, though?

I have doubt. Doubt whispers in my ear. 'You aren't very good. They are all being kind, and polite, and dishonest.' I couldn't pitch my book because I didn't believe in it. Deep down, I can't believe something I made up is worth publishing.

Now wonderful friends and family have told me otherwise. A couple of them haven't much liked the book, and that was helpful too, because even if it was brilliant no book can be universally loved. But somehow the external messages don't really help, do they?

I need to deal with my denial first. It's not about my writing, really, it's about the difficulty we have really loving and celebrating ourselves. It's so...British. Human maybe, I don't know. It's easier to say: 'Oh, that old thing? It's OK, work in progress, just a good yarn.'

So I looked at the book (which I printed off in Lulu so it looks more like a real book) again. I tried to imagine what I would say if it was someone else's novel. A friend is reading it at the moment and is giving me lots of positive feedback. So I looked for the bits she highlighted and thought, yeah, it's good there, that bit's funny/atmospheric/clever. Then I think about it objectively, and if it's like that in the first few chapters it's like that in the rest. I have written a good book. I am a good writer. I have masses to learn, and will continue to improve, but it's all there somewhere.

So, if you have doubt, and are not blooming with self-belief, I suggest you look at your own writing as if it was someone else's. Stand back and celebrate your work. Give yourself feedback, make a list of all the positives. And, guess what? That feedback makes all the good things others have said seem more real. So, yes, I'm impatient and in denial, but less so today, because I've lit a little flame of pride in my own book.


  1. This process moves so slowly! I can really relate to this! (Hopefully I'll be able to tell you why very soon!)

    1. It's frustrating, isn't it? Looking forward to your news...I assume you're hanging about too! Trying to be patient...

  2. I try to give myself the same advice I would give my children.

    I bet you would tell your kids to keep writing - if it doesn't get published this time, it will next time or the time after that. Everything doesn't depend on this one person's opinion.

    1. You're absolutely right, Tonja. I can't stop anyway, it seems to be a compulsion!