Monday, February 4, 2013

Bloggers Block or Puddle of Muddle

I read Kenra Daniels post at WG2E on keeping your blog focused. It was just what I needed to read. Getting back up into blogging mode this New Year has been difficult.  I could say I had writer’s block but that wouldn’t be true; more like blogger’s block, because I have been writing—a lot—on a new novel and editing my first novel coming out this spring—just not posting on my blog.

I needed a blog break. 

In January, I was on a writer’s panel at my local Sisters-in-Crime meeting. It was invigorating and fun. I was asked to share a short story and I chose the one I first had published many years ago, but not before going over it—and editing it, again.

Now, I am going through the process of publishing my first novel with Oak Tree Press and I just finished the final go-through editing stage. OMG how many changes can I find? It was embarrassing when I thought I had caught all the errors before I sent it in. Does the editing process ever end?

Then self doubt set in and I froze into a puddle of muddle.

I realized it is because I am still growing as a writer, still finding new ways to hone my craft, and what was good ten years ago or last year needs more work this year. Writers continuously evolve, or need to, and there is no static point you reach where you have arrived and your work will forever thereafter be perfect.

So, I thought that would be the end of my post today, but noooo—(I have to be honest here –well  I don’t have to be but I am going to be in case it can help some other author at this stage of their writing career)—there’s more.

I began to panic this weekend at the thought of doing the promotion part of being an author. Going out to promote, what me? By myself ? (my Libra talking here)
So, my friend had to talk me down off the ledge this morning when I thought I can’t do the promotion thing. All you introverts will understand.

This morning, I read Kristen Lamb’s blog about putting flaws into your characters to create that push-pull in your writing to make it emotionally powerful. Isn’t that what happens when we doubt our writing—or our ability to promote? We allow powerful emotions to get between us and our progress—the push-pull of, I’ve got it handled versus I can’t do that or I’m not good enough?

Maybe you have self-defeating thoughts that grab you by the throat and try to undermine your progress. I think we all suffer from these moments and all we can do is rest a bit and pick our self up, dust our self off and start all over again. Keep on keeping on. One foot in front of the other, etc. etc.

Do you ever go through deadly self doubt self-examination phases when you think all your work is trash not up to snuff and you can’t write and everything you have ever written isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, or, what me promote my book? Isn’t that what publishers are supposed to do? What happened to the good old days?

Tell me I am not the only one who gets these moments. Please—so I don’t crawl back up onto that ledge. 


Dac said...

Cora - promotion is fun. Believe it from one who woud hide under the bed, thumb in mouth. People will find you interesting - and you will become more interesting.

And - once those reviews start rolling in, and people stop you to tell you how much they enjoyed... You can kiss self-doubt goodbye.

Cora said...

Thanks Dac--love that thumb in mouth image, made me laugh.

Sally Carpenter said...

Cora, you're certainly not alone. I'm in the second draft of my second book and I'm still thinking, "Is this any good? Are the characters too trite or shallow? Is the mystery too easy to solve? How can I improve this?" Tbe best writers keep learning even after that initial book. BTW I'm with OTP too. Congrats! Looking forward to your book.

Cora said...

Thanks Sally. You give me hope that I will get through it.

marta chausée said...

Hi Cora,

I suspect there may no more room for you on that ledge. You'll have to push me aside to get your spot, for one. I just wrote a mea culpa email to Billie, apologizing for the endless TB corrections that fly between us. I thought I wrote "clean". Ha ha. I feel like Slovenly Sue and definitely "less than".

We just keep slogging along. I also think the lingering doubts will evaporate once there's some positivie feedback. I wrested a great blurb out of a popular crime author-- then fell into intimidated panic, feeling I needed to re-write the entire manuscript in order to "punch up" my protagonist so she would merit her praise from Kinky Friedman.

Somebody give me a sedative.

Marta Chausée
Murder's Last Resort
Oak Tree Press

Ellen Gregory said...

Cora, you are definitely NOT alone -- I go through these phases of self-doubt all the time. I think it's more common for me to doubt than feel confident... I'm not at the point I have to worry about self-promotion yet, and I admit the idea of that is terrifying -- especially when I hear articulate authors speak about their writing and can't imagine ever being so insightful. :-)
Hang in there!

Cora said...

Your humor has strengthened my resolve that I WILL do this, get through this and persevere. Simply knowing I'm not the only one is enough.

Cora said...

Maybe I will be the one encouraging you when the time comes for you to promote--I can only hope.

S.M. Hutchins said...

Oh, the self doubt. I haven't had to promote yet and I'm terrified of when that time comes. Maybe you can find a way to do it that feels authentic to you. Sorry, I don't know what that looks like. Hoping it sparks ideas. :)

I think breaks from blogging are necessary sometimes (as evidenced by my own break since Christmas). Good luck with all of your writing, blogging, and promoting!

Eileen Obser said...

I love your honesty about the self-doubt re promotion, Cora, but I'll bet you'll do just fine. Look at the support group you have! They/we will rally around you when the time comes -- just as you would surely do for us.