Writer’s Musings: When Burned By Friendly Fire

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
― Anais Nin

With the pitching event, PitMad, on the horizon, I’ve been working on getting my manuscript and querying materials as polished as possible. This includes going through my manuscript over and over (and over) again to fine tune every little word to near-perfection.

This has put me into ‘editing-mode,’ where every little flaw in my writing pops out like it’s highlighted in neon, and my manuscript begins to look like a mishmash of colors in my mind for all the changes that need to be made. This is great for getting my writing to be the best it can be—not so great on my self-confidence.

The problem with editing for me is that it clashes with my personal anxieties and lack of self-confidence. I see the extent of changes and edits that need to be made, and take it as a reflection of my personal capabilities. In some ways that’s true, but my character is not necessarily defined by my technical writing abilities. Even so, the more I edit and the deeper I go, the more fatigued I get and the greater the hit to my self-esteem.

The conglomeration of this is that I feel like a small fish in a big pond, that I’m kidding myself by letting what I write be seen at all. Despite opinions of others to the contrary, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: I don’t edit my work to its fullest, because if I don’t feel like I am capable of editing my manuscript to where it needs to be, why would I go through the work of doing it at all?

I was reminded by a close friend who is also a writer to have patience with myself, and give myself the kindness of acknowledgement. Two years ago, I never would have believed I could write a novel. I never would have dreamed of being at the level to query one to an agent. They reminded me that growth is something to have pride in, not a detriment, and that recognizing it is a key in building confidence

Another writer reminded me that sometimes you need to be okay with not being sure of the future but have the courage to try regardless. That you’ll never know if you don’t try at least one more time. There’s truth to this: the only thing I have to lose is time, and isn’t that time I’m spending growing and learning? Where’s the drawback in that?

I have no way of knowing if the PitMad event will be a success or flop for me. What I do know is that the time I spend now and in the future can only help move my knowledge forward, and that in and of itself is something I can take pride in.

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