Antidote to Doubt

I have been experiencing a long period of doubt since I started my new YA manuscript a year ago.

Early on, my critique group offered some valid plot-related tips, but they implied significant changes. Call it discouragement or fear of failure. The result was that I dreaded the perspective of revision and change.

What is the point? Is the story even interesting? Will readers like it?

I took a break and did my very best to forget about this specific manuscript. Oh I was still writing. In fact, I completed the editing and copy-editing of my middle grade novel that will be published later in the spring, I wrote many blog posts in French and English, and I even started another project.

Although I pretended to be done with my manuscript, I wasn’t tranquil. The story and the characters were on my mind, especially the protagonist – a high school senior.

He spoke out loud when I was driving. He visited me at the most unexpected moments, especially when I was quiet, cooking or folding laundry. I did my best to push him back when his presence started to feel more and more real. One night he showed up in my dream.

I knew he wouldn’t leave me in peace.

So yesterday I dug through my Documents and clicked Open.

Let me tell you that I was far more annoyed than excited.

The anticipation of work wasn’t pleasant at all. I knew I would have to go back to the very beginning. I have typed one hundred and thirty pages and just couldn’t delete entire chapters, so I copied/pasted what I wouldn’t need in a New Blank Document. You never know.

I hated every minute of it. The realization that a manuscript needs serious work isn’t enjoyable. But I stayed in my chair – it helped a little that I got a nice one for Christmas – and forced myself to read from the first page to the last.

When I was finished I had clarified two important points:

1-    This first part of the story is too long (I plan to divide my story in three parts)

2-    The characters deserve a chance to live

However, the task ahead of me still freaked me out and doubt was still bothering me. Same old questions.

What is the point? Is the story even interesting? Will readers like it?

I took a short break and checked my Inbox.

The title of Mona’s latest post caught my eye and made my heart beat faster:

Do You Believe in Yourself?

First a small smile grew inside me, and then renewed energy flowed through my entire body when I visited the website that Mona had linked to her post.

Yes, we are alone when we write.

Yes, we doubt of our voice or of our characters’ voice.

Yes, writing is difficult.

Yes, we have to do it ourselves.

When living these moments of doubt we need a little bit of help. And nothing can be better than:

1-    A positive blog post

2-    Writers’ hands to lead us along the creative path

3-    Messages of encouragement from writers who have been there.

What do you do when you are afraid, lonely and you doubt of your words? What is your andidote?


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