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Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Moment Of Doubt

It happens to all writers. Admit it and face your fear. That's what I've decided to do. Until we face our fears we cannot conquer them. I hate to break it to those of you still on the agent hunt, but it doesn't stop once you get an agent. For a while it does, but then comes the moment when you hand your manuscript over and they submit it to publishing house editors. The wait and the stress begins again. Doubt creeps around every corner, within every empty in box, and every empty voicemail. It can grow like a great demon with every passing week if you allow it to. It can consume you, and it will if you let it.

A few of my friends who are waiting on submissions are battling the doubt demon right now. Heck, I battle it myself every day my manuscript is out there being considered by publishing houses. I have bad days, but they pass because I know how combat them. First, I know that what I sent off was as polished as it could possibly be and is worthy. You of all people must believe in your work and support it 100% or else no one else will. That doesn't mean doubt won't creep up on you, some days, it will. What it means is that you will be able to face doubt and force it to back down.

One way to do this is to keep busy. Writing another book is a fantastic way to take your mind off the horrible wait. Networking and building your writer's platform is another great (and necessary) use of your time. In seeking other writers and readers you will also find the support you so badly need at a time like this. With that in mind I'd like to thank every one in my support net, my followers and friends here, on Twitter, and on Facebook. You keep my writing hand strong so I can not only write that next book, but fight off the doubt demon as well.

10 comments:

  1. I agree - and these fears will persist even when we are published. The "But is it good enough to publish?" will transmute into "But will anyone like it?" to "Will my next book be any good?" ad infinitum!

    So I agree with tackling those fears as early on as we can... I'll get back to you when I know how to nail it! x

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  2. Yes, just think of the doubt demon as using smoke and mirrors to make himself what's he not: Real.

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  3. I'm sorry that you're dealing with the doubt demon - I understand it on a totally different level as I am quietly doing the agent search right now. (Something I DO NOT discuss with people at all. Before I published, I experienced LOADS of rejections - it's better this time around, but still...) And while I have a lot working in my favor, I also have a lot against me... It seems that so much of this business is personal preference with agents and publishers... that means that someone out there will love your books and provide the right home when the time is right! And you're so smart to keep writing and keep your personal enthusiasm up! You never know what will come about with the next manuscript... You are a strong lady, Heather, and I wish I had the resources to make those dreams come true - you are definitely worthy of it! Hang in there.

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  4. It visits us all but I try not to let it get me down. Have no fear Krissi, the right person to represent you is out there and they're going to find you I just know it! Having Phantom Island out there already will help bring you two together!

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  5. Thanks Marisa! I will remember that!

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  6. So true Emma! Guess that demon is going to be a regular visitor! that's okay, I know how to fight him. No idle hands here ;)

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  7. Getting support from friends & online fans is a great way to stem the tide of doubt, I've found. When you're feeling down and as if it's all pointless or you just aren't worth crap, getting an encouraging word from those that support you can make a world of difference.

    I also like to try and write something short & interesting for a site like Hubpages or Helium, as the feedback I get always helps boost my sagging ego a bit.

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  8. So true Shanna. The support of my blog followers, Twitter followers, and Facebook friends has kept my head above water many times. I'm thankful for everyone of you!

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  9. Love how Marisa Birns put it, so very true.

    I am at the agent stage where I am constantly doubting myself as an author and I keep returning to the manuscript to tweak this and that (probably things that don't really even need changed) just to make myself feel more secure about a manuscript that many have already told me is great. I've only received a handful of rejections (a small amount compared to some authors who are now NY Times bestsellers) but it still hurts every time, and waiting is a nightmare.

    I can only hope it feels a little better after you find an agent, as at least you have a professional on your side now, but I know it's still not a painless process.

    Thanks for the post, Heather!

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  10. It does get a lot better after you find an agent. Then you know there's a least one person in the industry that wants to see your book in print! I wish I could tell you the rejection letters get easier but they don't. Just remember how many all those NY Times bestsellers got before they found their agents! The road isn't an easy one but the trek makes us stronger.

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