write on wednesday…The Editor’s Voice

July 2, 2008 § 7 Comments

the Prompt from Write on Wednesday: Are you ever assailed with self doubt about your writing ability, or about the reasons for writing at all?  Do you “follow yourself around nagging and suggesting and complaining”? What are some of the negative things your Editor tells you?  What could your Editor say to be more encouraging?   How do you encourage yourself to keep practicing the craft of writing?

Self doubt about my writing? Um, yeah. If it’s anything I’m publishing or sharing. It comes with the job, I guess. But I have learned to stomp on the Editor’s whining and musings, and to ignore that part of me that says: is this piece ever going to be finished?

The reasons for writing at all? I have no clue. I am compelled. Some people draw effortlessly. Others sing, lead armies, make speeches, calculate the likelihood of life on other planets – I write. When I’m in it, it doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad. It’s happening. The self doubt seeps in as soon as I think to share, peddle or publish it. The self doubt sets in as soon as I hit “send.” 

I suspect that as long as I write and publish, I’ll have doubts. It’s kind of like stage fright. You have to have some. It would not be good if you did NOT experience it to some degree. But you’re only allowed the doubt after you’ve worked your ass off and made it the best you can (and then pray your hubs or friend or editor takes it from you and says “it’s good. You can stop.”).

I nag and complain at myself when I am NOT writing. And yet I find excuses to avoid it sometimes; thus, I will actually say this: thank goodness for deadlines!!! Otherwise, I would dust the books on our shelves, clean the fridge, scrub the front steps, make kites, call all my friends – anything! anything! to avoid writing.

Odd as it may sound, reading other blogs can intensify my self doubt. Yet I am glad to see there are so very many compelling writers. (of course I will be singing a different tune once I have a piece of fiction complete. My bylines are all in journalism.)

What should my “Editor” do for me? Above all, I wish my “Editor” would understand that all work does not take an equal amount of attention.  There are little jobs. There are big jobs. There are details that can be attended to later and not sighed and sweated over from the beginning (such as things that may not come easily like a title, or a sidebar, or, a character or a solid point of view.) I have learned to control my Editor so that I can write first. Get it down on paper. And then, rewrite and edit.

Practice writing? It’s a fave. The blog is good for it. As is the 2-pound hard cover journal I carry around.  There is such joy and freedom in practicing the writing craft.  Honestly? As a writer with a full time job, the tough part is getting to the writing.  There are days of self-doubt and the (worry of ) “what am I going to do with this piece?” but fortunately, there are more days when the head is down, the pen is flying and the heart is saying, “it doesn’t matter. Just write.” It doesn’t have to be for a reason. Not now. Not yet.

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§ 7 Responses to write on wednesday…The Editor’s Voice

  • Becca says:

    Welcome to Write On Wednesday! Thank you for sharing this thoughtful, well written reponse.

    You are absolutely right to remind us that some self- doubt is necessary, otherwise we’d be satisfied with anything. It’s that insecurity that prods us to “work our asses off to make it the best it can be.”

    I loved these words:

    “Fortunately, there are more days when the head is down, the pen is flying and the heart is saying, “it doesn’t matter. Just write.”

    What an inspiring word picture!

  • Jeanie says:

    What a lovely post. There’s much to mull here, but I particularly connected with this section: “What should my ”Editor” do for me? Above all, I wish my “Editor” would understand that all work does not take an equal amount of attention. There are little jobs. There are big jobs. There are details that can be attended to later and not sighed and sweated over from the beginning (such as things that may not come easily like a title, or a sidebar, or, a character or a solid point of view.) I have learned to control my Editor so that I can write first. Get it down on paper. And then, rewrite and edit.”

    I believe that, but I’m still working on controlling the editor so I can write first. Some days are better than others!

  • Tammy says:

    I envy a natural born writer like yourself. I’m self-taught but have a long way to go for it to be like breathing. Deadlines are great motivators. Thanks for sharing.

    Welcome

  • oh says:

    Becca, thanks for your note. Such forums keep us in line and I’m delighted to have found yours!

    Jeanie – bytheway, the editor does get out of control, no matter the leash we think we have on it! Today, mine is bounding all over the place (holiday?) so I’m going to read!

    Tammy- no, I’m not a natural…I just love the sound of the pen scritching across the paper and can really get up a head of steam! But oh, the editing that must follow!!! (thank you for the welcome to write on wed.)

  • Redness says:

    Great post where your sense of dedication shines through. You’ve got it so right, practice, a blog … lugging round a two pound journal is a worry … but you sound like it’s going to be all worth it … great to see you here 😉

  • anno says:

    The self doubt sets in as soon as I hit “send.”

    Personally, I suspect there’s no more certain way to realize what I should have said or to see the glaring typo I missed than to do just that: Click Send. Then panic.

    Happens to me every time.

  • oh says:

    Redness, thanks for the welcome. BTW, excellent blog header!

    Anno, maybe we should have a “Are you sure?” button on our keyboards!

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