On Giving Ourselves A Break

Yesterday my soul sister Claire wrote a post about patience and perspective and what she’s gonna do to give herself some.  It’s a good post.  You should go read it.

Claire and I have in common the fact that we have EXORBITANT expectations of ourselves, which I’m pretty sure no one who isn’t an android who does not sleep could achieve, and then proceeding to beat ourselves up over our perceived failures.  We are champion self boxers.  Totally not healthy, but that’s not actually my point.

Self-flagellation.  I do it.

I’ve done a LOT of it since I finished DOTH.  Like…probably needed a transfusion from bleeding so profusely a lot.

I questioned my abilities.  My dedication (okay, not really…that’s never been an issue).  I questioned whether I tried to write something too big and beyond my capabilities.  Whether I could ever do this story justice.  Whether I picked the wrong book to write last year and whether I should have written something else instead (though, honestly, nothing else was asking to be written).

And I had an epiphany over the weekend.

Yeah, I did a lousy job with DOTH.

Honestly, I think I would’ve done a lousy job with anything last year.

It was a rough year creatively, lots of stresses, lots of distractions.  And while that is absolutely the nature of life and I need to figure out how to write through them, sometimes just just CAN’T.  I KEPT writing, which was important.  I learned things from the failure that I wouldn’t have learned had I just taken the year off and given myself the mother of all cases of page fright.

And yeah, I know it’s disappointing to readers to not have something new.  But I would way rather have a year of releasing nothing than subject them to the disappointment of reading something subpar.

I can come back from a long absence between releases, rebuild momentum, reconnect with old fans, and find new ones.

It’s a LOT harder to come back from bad reviews and fans who think you’ve lost your touch and put out crap.  They tend not to forgive THAT.

It’s been a strangely freeing realization.

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2 comments

  1. You know, I can’t imagine that anything you write would be crap. Can’t. Imagine. But if YOU think it’s crap, then it’s crap to the most important person. What YOU think of DOTH is more important than what anyone else thinks. You won’t be happy until it’s fixed. And you WILL fix it. And, with the help of the Pink Hammer, you’ll get it right. I could probably read it in the original state and think it’s a great book. But YOU have to think it’s a great book. Hopefully, this year will be better and full of more writing and fewer distractions. This could be THE year for you. 🙂

  2. Had the same epiphany (though it took me actually pushing stories onto KDP to realize exactly the bad :)).

    Which led me to pull the books and lick the wounds and figure next steps. Which then led me to drawing and now back to writing.

    Ultimately – we only learn from doing. The book can be fixed. Or reclaimed. Though – also , it’s why I’m starting to really dig the Snowflake method. You figure out early on where the story needs work. Or maybe just doesn’t work.

    Finally just remember Stan Lee didn’t create Spider-man until he was 40. And he’s 90 now. You have time :).

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