Is your self-confidence bipolar?

The writing process, writing advice, and updates on your work in progress
Post Reply
User avatar
taylormillgirl
Posts: 138
Joined: December 28th, 2009, 9:02 am
Contact:

Is your self-confidence bipolar?

Post by taylormillgirl » January 7th, 2010, 9:07 am

One morning I'll love my novel. Then after a few hours of frustrating revisions, I think it's garbage. By bedtime I love it again. The little critic inside my head goes back and forth between "This is stupid; you're wasting your time," and "Hey, you have something special here."

Stephen King said a lot of writers drink. Now I understand why.
Author of hot & humorous romances, debut novel coming in 2012 from Sourcebooks!
http://macybeckett.com/

User avatar
Jaime
Posts: 159
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 7:00 pm
Location: Australia
Contact:

Re: Is your self-confidence bipolar?

Post by Jaime » January 7th, 2010, 9:34 am

Hahaha! I think we all have that! Mine mostly comes in the form of mistrust. My beta readers love my novel, and I don't believe them! Some of them have even called me or come straight to my home when they've finished - in tears - and I still don't believe them!!!

I think it's a good thing. If we didn't have that voice, we wouldn't be striving to make it as great as we possibly can. Having said that, I'm still really, really terrified of sending out my query by the end of the month!

User avatar
Seamus
Posts: 67
Joined: January 5th, 2010, 12:56 pm
Location: Rockville, MD
Contact:

Re: Is your self-confidence bipolar?

Post by Seamus » January 7th, 2010, 12:51 pm

I know what you mean. To state the obvious, our insecurities come from the hugely subjective world of writing. I wrote my first manuscript while in a writers' critique group. I had to decide, over the months of this experience, whether any of the suggestions were legitimate or not. This meant having the "bipolar" atributes of confidence, to stand by your original direction, and humility, to let go of a treasured line because everyone is in the room gagging. In some cases, what one person disliked was defended by another, which would spark a writer's meltdown, caused by the touching of these to poles. When I finished writing, I then had friends and family read. Unfortunately, they "loved" it, which I took to mean that they were too kind to say anything at all (sad, huh?). Glowing comments are worse than harsh critiques, because you assume someone is being nice. Then I asked my wife's book group to critique it and they offered more useful suggestions and insights. When I made that round of revisions one night, I became suddenly embarrassed that I had shown it to anyone.

But we all know it's not over when we end this phase. I have incorporated into my book the best advice available to me. Now an agent has to like it, which depends as much or more on the query letter as the book itself and then we go through another round with an editor, publisher and the public. In each case, it comes down to whether someone likes it. Oh, I know there are technical overlays that the pros all cite, but these are really just ways to articulate the reasons for enjoying (or, God forbid, not liking) your work. In a way, it's back to highschool, where the currency was also being liked. Remember acting like you were confident enough that being liked didn't matter to you (so people would like you)? Since there is absolutely no advantage to showing how much I need affirmation, I guess I'll just push out my chest. False confidence is almost as good as the real stuff and it beats the alternatives. Good luck.
J. Seamus Welsh
welsh.john.seamus@gmail.com
Blog (a playful place to experiment with character voices): http://oh-thereyouare.blogspot.com/
Website (shameless self-promotion): http://www.inwrittenform.com

User avatar
taylormillgirl
Posts: 138
Joined: December 28th, 2009, 9:02 am
Contact:

Re: Is your self-confidence bipolar?

Post by taylormillgirl » January 7th, 2010, 9:17 pm

It's 9:15pm, I've spent the day revising my novel, and I love it again. Ha! It's nice to know I'm not alone in my neurotic ways.
Author of hot & humorous romances, debut novel coming in 2012 from Sourcebooks!
http://macybeckett.com/

User avatar
Hilabeans
Posts: 12
Joined: January 7th, 2010, 1:05 pm
Contact:

Re: Is your self-confidence bipolar?

Post by Hilabeans » January 7th, 2010, 10:01 pm

Thank you so much for posting this. :) I honestly thought I was going crazy with all of my vacillating.
hhs

Website - http://www.hilaryheskett.com | Blog - http://www.hilaryheskett.blogspot.com

"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time." - Tolstoy

Kaitlyne
Posts: 103
Joined: December 6th, 2009, 7:41 am
Contact:

Re: Is your self-confidence bipolar?

Post by Kaitlyne » January 8th, 2010, 12:47 am

Oh gosh, are you kidding me? I usually do pretty good about being confident about my work, but I had a moment of sheer panic last night and basically spent the evening convinced it's hopeless. It's just nerves for me right now, though. I'm submitting soon and so now all the stuff I had been so certain was good and well done has me saying, "But what if that actually sucks!?" I should listen to my readers because I've gotten a lot of positive comments, but I'm still uber nervous. Feeling quite a bit better today, though. You are definitely not alone. :)

User avatar
Mira
Posts: 1354
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 9:59 am
Contact:

Re: Is your self-confidence bipolar?

Post by Mira » January 8th, 2010, 4:14 pm

Lol. Thank you so much for this post!! How comforting to hear that other people feel the same way. Absolutely, I vary second by second. I varied while writing this post - :)

User avatar
Crystal
Posts: 92
Joined: December 16th, 2009, 9:43 am
Contact:

Re: Is your self-confidence bipolar?

Post by Crystal » January 9th, 2010, 8:04 am

I am going thru this right now.

A couple of weeks ago I sent my first 2 chapters of my wip to a friend, who loved it, and is good friends with a published author. He asked if he could forward it to him and get his opinion on it for me. I approved. Now....I am so embarrassed that I let him send it. Since then I have made numerous changes to said chapters and I am just terrified of what he is going to think. However I am really curious of what he is going to say as I know that it will only help me get better. However I don't want him to read that....I want to give him the new chapters....Oh dear. :)
Working my very first attempt at a mystery novel. 1st draft

Vio
Posts: 11
Joined: December 14th, 2009, 9:51 am
Contact:

Re: Is your self-confidence bipolar?

Post by Vio » January 9th, 2010, 8:15 am

My worst moments I usually have when I am flipping pages in one of those books on how to write. Then I read some paragraphs about how good writing looks like, and get frustrated, since my own sucks so much in comparison. Then I try to remind myself that the bits of text quoted there are usually shining examples of the best writing in history, and that I don't really have to be THAT good to produce decent writing. Which makes me feel slightly better.

casnow
Posts: 159
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 1:51 pm
Location: Cairo, Egypt
Contact:

Re: Is your self-confidence bipolar?

Post by casnow » January 9th, 2010, 10:34 am

I'm super over-confident about the "big picture" of what I'm writing... the basic premise, the plot, etc. I'm also confident on the dialogue as that is one of the things I think I excel at... however, I'm really bad at descriptions of settings, etc. Also, right now, no matter what I write I feel like the middle parts, although crucial to my stories get a little slow and bogged down.

I think it's good to be self-conscious to a point about your writing... especially AFTER you have a first draft. I think you have to have a delicate balance - you have to have 1/2 of you confident enough to pound out that first draft and 1/2 of you unconfident enough to edit the hell out of it. Then you need to have 1/2 of you confident enough to query, and half of you worried enough that you'll never sell that story that you'll write another one.

lexcade
Posts: 107
Joined: January 2nd, 2010, 12:57 am
Location: northern ky/cincinnati
Contact:

Re: Is your self-confidence bipolar?

Post by lexcade » January 10th, 2010, 4:15 pm

...if you only knew how many times i nearly scrapped the work i want to sell...

i'm the same as everyone else in here. granted, i'm not really attached to my words (thanks to a harsh and wonderful teacher in high school), so i don't have a lot of trouble cutting things. BUT. i've doubted the concept, the material... i've rewritten parts five or six times and i'm still dissatisfied, even though when i read over it, i think "okay, not half bad."

we're our own worst critics because we're too close to the work. there's too much of us in the narrative or the characters, so we have trouble looking at it objectively. that's part of why critique groups exist. i joined an online one because no one at home is interested enough to read it *sad, huh?*

i've also figured out that my mood when i look at the manuscript helps to color my opinions of it. everyone's like that. if i'm stressed, or even if i'm incredibly happy, i don't look because i'll hate every word or love it to pieces.
"Art imitates nature as well as it can, as a pupil follows his master; thus it is sort of a grandchild of God." ~~Dante

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 3 guests