I’ve talked briefly before about having a lot of self doubt when writing, but I wanted to expand on that today. Self doubt is a normal part of the writing process. Every writer has it. Most can get pass it and continue on writing. I’m not like that.
I used to be that way. I was writing pretty consistently. I finished my first book, finished a a first draft that I co-wrote with Isis, and started a second novel by myself. I had my doubts, but I was confident that with every word I was going to get better so I pushed through them. However, that has changed.
It started when writing my second novel. I loved the original idea of it and the characters, but when I had to develop more of the plot my enthusiasm waned. I still started writing it, but it wasn’t fun anymore. It started to feel akin to torture. So I stopped writing that. I got a new idea, so I developed the characters, but, again, I stopped when it came to the plot. Anything I thought of didn’t seem that interesting or original. I didn’t want my enthusiasm to wane with this idea too, so I stopped working on this idea. The same thing happened to my next idea.
It’s not just my problems with plot that have stopped my writing. I have tried to switch to short stories using prompts as a springboard, but I quit halfway through because I didn’t like my writing. I always think it is dull, and that no one will like it. I spend time looking at writing tips hoping those would help, but then I’m constantly thinking of those when writing and think that I am writing the wrong way.
I have been also writing some background stories for the novel I’m co-writing with Isis. The information is needed for us to move on with the actual novel, but I started thinking that it’s not good and I don’t want to mess up. Especially since it’s been so long that I’ve been working on it. I don’t want to hand it over and have the reaction to it be, “Really? You spent so much time on this trash?” So I haven’t worked on it in weeks.
I have tried to set deadlines for myself to force myself to write. But it’s a repeated cycle of aiming too high with not enough time to realistically finish it, and psyching myself out with excuses. One big excuse I use is research. I always think I don’t know enough about anything, and I want to portray people, places, and things accurately. So I have to do research. The problem is I am never satisfied that I have researched enough. I have to get everything exactly right, and that, in turn, stifles my creativity. The end result is always the same. No writing gets done.
I’m not sure how to fix this problem. Even writing this has taken me three days, and I have thought many times of simply scraping it and not having a post up for this week. Does anyone else have advice on this? Or simply have this problem too? Sometimes just relating to another person can help.