For all those out there attempting NaNoWriMo, I wish you good luck! You got this!
But there may come a time, early in the process or late, where you have to push through the feeling of “suck.” The reason I’ve elected such a vague, common word is that it’s hard to pin down these feelings to any one thing. Overall, it’s the feeling that what you’re doing sucks and will always suck.
Some authors call it “the Wall,” but this generally occurs well into the manuscript and is a result of writing.
I often hit this feeling far earlier, in the idea stage, when I feel an idea can never be saved and must be abandoned. Other ideas pop up to say they’re better, and it’s all too easy to run off with them. But you have to find a way to push through these sucky feelings and get something done.
I thought I had escaped the suck with my one finished project, since it all happened so quickly. Doubts were more immediate and easily dismissed, and the speed of the project helped propel me through. I though the hard part was over.
But now, in the editing process, in the almost-ready-to-query process, I find myself more paralyzed than ever. I’m making incremental process, and I need to make more, but I can’t help feeling like something’s wrong.
The feeling at the core of the suck, underneath the disdain and laziness and insecurity, is fear. It’s fear that our work won’t be good enough, that it could be better, and that people will judge us for that. It can’t really be fear of anything else, because what’s the worst that could happen? Carpal tunnel? Missing out on social events in favor of lonely typing? I’m not afraid of either of those.
But I’m afraid of writing a bad story. I’m afraid of sending a bad story out into the world. I’m afraid of being judged by everyone for writing a bad story.
In the end, I have to push myself to say: “So what?” If I happen to write a truly awful story that no one will ever willingly read, then I just have to keep going and hope the next one is better. Sure, I might not have much of a career to speak of, but that can happen with good stories, too.
You just have to try. Have to keep going. Have to see that the only way forward is more writing. That there are no wrong answers.
That there’s nothing to fear.