Friday, July 12, 2013

Under Attack (I Was Warned)

SCREECH!!!! That was the sound of doubt bringing my writing and revision to a halt.

All during the writing of my series, from several writer-friends and associates, I was warned to be prepared for when doubt set in. Doubt? Nah, not me. I'm enthusiastic. I love the series, the story, and my characters. All five first drafts are written, and I believe in the books so easy sailing from here on out, right? Not so much.

Over three-quarters of the way through revising the first book...something insidious and ugly happened. The thing they tried to let me know was coming rose from the depths of the swamp. Monster-like, doubt crept onto my doorstop and seeped under the door.

Wrapped around my ankles and creeping upward, Doubt whispers, "The story isn't engaging."

"Your style, your voice, your WRITING is weak, weak, weak," the guttural voice taunts. "With five first drafts, you've not finalized one book in the series. You SHOULD HAVE written better first drafts. You COULD HAVE written faster. You keep spinning your wheels. What's the matter? Are you scared, little girly." (Shades of Mr. Gold from Once Upon a Time here.) Doubt smirks and laughs a low rumble as dry as the desert and taunts, "Not good enough."

According to my writing coach, during revision is an expected time for doubt to pay a visit. As many tried to tell me before, going through the doubt process IS part of the process. It's a phase, or at least, that's what I'm telling myself.

As if in a small town speed trap, I'm letting up on the gas and easing through.

Okay, I admit it. At first, I tromped on the gas peddle and tried to barrel through by putting in long hours and trying to force my way through. Didn't work. That's how I actually got stuck -- I over extended and physically drained, couldn't push on any farther.

"Doubt," I say, "They told me you were going to pay a visit. Almost finished with the book's revision, I thought you'd decided not to drop by, but since you're here, why don't we take a little drive. A road trip, slow and easy, over the scenic route."

Doubt, still eager to attack, looks, er, doubtful.

"We'll take it page by page," I suggest. "Let's give it a once through, then send it to the writing coach. She can have a look through before we send the manuscript on for editing. We'll probably pass the book back and forth several times, before it goes on to be edited. How's that sound?"

Quiet, Doubt remains a puddle under my feet, ready to turn blob-like and attack at any moment. Perhaps like Talking to da Fear, doubt can be addressed with negotiation and reasoning.


Deep down, I know I can revise and finish the series. Yet, Doubt is doing its best and its worse. I am under attack.

How will I deal with this phase of the writing process? I hope to blog about my success in surviving a mega attack of doubt, or at least my continued battle, in a later blog.

Doubt, is the enemy. I was warned.

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