Oh me, Oh my…

So, last week I did what I always do. I grabbed my USB, sat down at my desk, plugged it in to open up my WIP and start working, only to find…..

Someone has deleted everything from my USB. (My guess would be the little minion who bugs me to use my computer all day every day. I call him Son.) All of it. It’s all gone.

omg-excited

Needless to say, I almost broke down and cried. I consequently freaked out for about 4 hours. I ran all of the software I could to try and recover something, anything, and nada. No good. No go. Do not pass go, do not collect two hundred dollars.

Nothing could be restored.

pass-out

After having myself a nice pity party all weekend about the loss of my WIP, there is only one thing left for me to do. Start over.

Luckily for me, I hand wrote most of my outline, and emailed some of my chapters to critique partners. So I can save up to five chapters. I just have to start anew from chapter six forward.

So here we go. Starting over. Perhaps it’s for the best. That’s what I have to tell myself. That’s what I need to believe. That whatever ends up coming out in these newly written chapters will be better than what was there before. Or I might run away.

abort

Writing Struggles

Newsroom trash

Photo Credit: Louis Allen

I cannot tell you how many times I have let that voice inside my head get to me. Every writer knows it. The one that while you’re in the middle of your WIP says “This is crap.”

Do you listen to that voice?

I have, before. I have worked on, deleted, trashed, thrown away, and shredded so many started novels that I lost count. I’ve finished some too, though.

But there is always that voice, that one that says it’s not good enough, that it could be better, that this isn’t the story you should be working on. That voice is a liar. Don’t listen to it.

While yes, during your first draft, it may be crap. It probably is crap. The first draft is to get the story down, on paper (or computer) and out of your head. Then comes revisions. Make it not crap.

You have to get through this voice. All writers hear it, even the greats. No one can sit down and write a publish ready first draft, no one. If you can, you’re a unicorn and I want to be your friend.

You see, you’re not alone. While you’re sitting there, staring at your blank screen, or your blank page. While you’re reading over the chapters you just wrote. While you’re reading the critiques you’re getting back. We all have that sliver of doubt that enters our minds. It’s normal. It’s how you push through this fear and doubt that matters.

Don’t give up. Don’t assume because your first draft isn’t what you expected that you’re not a good writer. Don’t doubt something that pulls you back to it, no matter how long of a break you take, it’s your passion.

This is only one of the struggles writers face. Every. Day. Every time they sit down to write or edit. I have made a name for that voice. I call him Edgar. Yes, the voice in my head is a guy, I’m not sure what that means.

I imagine him sitting in my office at home while I’m writing at the other desk. He is across from me in the other desk chair, his fingers laced together and clasped in his lap. As I look over to him he gives me mischievous grin as he prepares to speak, yet his three feet stature and pudgy face makes me giggle. When he starts his negative talk, as he always does, I threaten to punt him across the room. That tends to shut him up for a while.

Who knows, I kind of like Edgar, even with his negativity. He pushes me past my comfort zone in my need to prove him wrong. He may end up in a story one day.

You don’t have to give that voice a name, or a physical embodiment, like I did. But do what you need to do to no longer listen to that voice anymore.

Now it’s your turn. What do you do when you hear that doubt creeping into your head?