raising doubts

I’m having doubts again. I haven’t fully recovered from the last year and thinking I should take my writing in a different direction that I don’t feel is right. I love Soriel and Tiger Born for the balance of qualities in them and feel that they are two of my strongest stories, but lately I’ve still been feeling like I’m not doing something right, that I don’t know who I am anymore as a writer.

Then I had a blog reviewer make comments about the writing in Soriel. (I asked her to review it and I appreciate her making the time.) This being one of the stories that I feel is my strongest, the comments hit me hard. It’s like a one-two punch–knock-out! Oh, she liked the story, but had issues with the writing, and she is entitled to her opinion. Besides, she’s probably right and I may have gotten a little sloppy. The review posts on Monday, btw. But certain criticisms can still hurt, even after years of enduring this roller coaster ride. Reader reviewers have said the opposite in their reviews, so I don’t know what to think any more.

I took a walk, meditated on it, and have been trying to pick up the pieces from the floor by reminding myself that the majority of my readers like the book. Why can’t that be enough?

Because I want to attract new readers. Improvement is the only way to get there. I thought I had this writing thing down, but my ego is fragile. I know I can’t be perfect. It’s unreal to expect that. It’s unreal to expect a blockbuster. The majority of writers never reach that status. But I place higher aspirations and expectations on myself, in writing and in riding (just ask my horse!).

It’s just so frustrating for me. I’ve been seriously writing for nearly 21 years now, and the first sixteen were practice. I thought since I’ve been offered a few contracts by a couple of small publishers a few years ago already, that I had reached some level of competency. I want to write well to tell a fun story. I feel like I keep trying but falling short and I realize that I’m a late bloomer compared to some writers. I have enough ideas to keep me going for many years, but my stamina to continue trudging up this hill wanes. Some days I don’t know where the strength comes from and I’m afraid of the day it could disappear.

I just want to write what I like and enjoy myself again, and I think I need to begin by ignoring all reviews completely and focusing on making myself happy. I have to take my own advice, but it’s harder than I thought!

Now you know some of the pain I put myself through.

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