Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Waiting on Editorial Comment

I keep waiting for that day when I'll write with confidence, rather than this gremlin on my shoulder that pours forth a steady stream of, "Are you sure your editor is going to go for that?" ... "Isn't that a bit passe?" ... "Cliche alert!" ... "Didn't another author use that same hero's name ten years ago?" ... "Do you really think there's enough story here for the word count?" ... "That's a bit risky, are you sure you want to write that?" ... and on and on and on.

I've spoken to too many authors who seem to share my affliction for me to think it's unique.  And yet we keep writing and looking for the best way to deal with the gremlin - the doubt devils that plague us.  I practice ignoring them, telling myself I have to write the story as it comes to me, not try to fit someone else's idea of a good romantic adventure.

Right now, I'm waiting on editorial feedback from Berkley on my latest Children of the Moon novel and it makes it that much harder to write the other two books I'm working on with freedom.  I seem to doubt myself even more when I'm waiting to find out if I've written dreck in someone else's eyes.  And the editors are busy, their deadlines worse than any author's, so I don't expect to hear back immediately.

But waiting is a killer of creativity, so I try to forget I have a book out there awaiting verdict and soldiering on.  The good news is that I'm getting *a lot* of writing done despite holidays, family visits and more than a week's worth of cluster migraines.  "Back in the Sheikh's Bed" is shaping up nicely and I'm feeling rather confident (for the moment).  I'm taking more risks with "Heat Seeker" that readers are either going to love...or not so much, but I'm hoping love because well...I do.

That's the kicker, no matter how the gremlin tries to worry me, I have to write for myself - for the stories burning in *my* heart to be written.  So, as always, despite my little shoulder gremlin, I am writing 100% from my heart and hoping my editors and readers can sense that when they get to see the finished stories.

It's your turn:  What is one area of your life you tend to doubt yourself in and how do you handle that doubt?


Judy said...

Every area? Okay, choosing only one... Career... making money... My job went away, again, so I decided to throw myself into my writing. A full MS was requested, and I'm waiting to hear back. My friends are very supportive, but ultimately the only thing that keeps me from pulling my hair out is to throw myself into the next story. When I started, I kept track of all the breadcrumbs that lead me to it. I feel very blessed that I'm comfortable with editing, but my best friend me taught me how to accept it without feeling threatened by it.

Lucy, you're an awesome writer. I'm not comfortable with all your content, but I wouldn't ask you to write differently, because then it wouldn't be you. It is your strength and courage to write your heart that draws me to your stories, with heroes and heroines who reflect your sense of honor and personal responsibility. Thank you for sharing even the scary and unpleasant stuff.

Jane said...

Definitely at work. Sometimes I have a hard time figuring out when I should speak up and when I should keep it to myself.

Laney4 said...

I doubt my ability to lose weight and then I buy a bag of chips. Apparently that's a no-no.

Sonali said...

Hi Lucy,

Don't worry about the gremlin on your shoulder. Being a reader i love your books and i bet all your other followers and readers also love them.

I doubt my ability to get work. I have recently graduated with a degree and after every job interview i'm wondering whether i said the right things, did i mess up somewhere. It's so scary.

Maria said...

I doubt myself in my ability to review someone else's work and be objective about the decisions they made that impact what I'm going to do and also how I write my follow up on their work. I'm always wondering if I'm too critical or not critical enough. At home it's pretty much the same thing- did I do something right or did I do it badly and someone else could have done it better...it's the same way with anytype of craft I undertake -did I make the right color choices...it's pretty much an endless thing...lol

Lucy Monroe said...

Wow...how very cool to have you all share like this with me. Thank you!!!

Judy...thanks! It means *so* much to me when a reader (and fellow author) acknowledges that though they don't find every bit of content comfortable, they still enjoy my work. As for your own writing - you are absolutely right, the only way forward is with the next story and you will get there in the end. So long as you do not give up. I used to tell myself I couldn't guarantee success, but I sure could guarantee failure - by giving up. So apropos to much of life. :)

Jane...I think many of us who are empathetic to others struggle with this one. When do we speak up on our own, or others behalf and when do we leave well enough alone? I'm sure your instincts lead you right for the most part and that's all anyone can hope for - we are not perfect after all. :)

Laney4...LOL I have that same problem. ;-)

Sonali...thank you so much re my writing. As for your doubts...it's a very difficult market for work all over the world right now, but I'm confident you *will* find the right job for you. Trust in your path and the one who guides you on it, yes?

Maria...reviewing sounds very much like parenting. LOL And I'm sure yours are really wonderful, just like the best kids are raised by parents who *think* about what it means to parent them. :)

As an aside...I can so understand having those doubts though...I used to when I judged in the RITAs, but then one day I just decided that as a judge it was my job to comment on what I felt was relevant (and only I could determine what that was) and to give the best score I could for the quality of work I'd read. Why? Because of all the differing reviews out there prove one very important truth - what is one reader's dross is another reader's gold (I believe that about editors too btw JUDY ::g::).

For *me* erring on the side of the positive seems best always. Do you know, several other authors I've spoken to have a *very* different view of what it means to be a judge. And that is okay. Because what a very boring world it would be if we were all the same. :)

As the post I just wrote for next Monday's blog will attest, I read the occasional well written review and give it serious weight when analyzing my own work. :)

Hugs to you all!

marybelle said...

I often feel my ideas and opinions are not valued at work. I tend to deal with this by working to my best to show how these thoughts play out.

Dannyfiredragon said...

I very often doubt myself like when I am sitting in a lecture at university and the prof asks a question and I know the answer, but than I am too shy to put my hand up and answer. I could kick myself in the butt for it, but it something I can't get over.

Kimberly W said...

Oh Wow! I was just thinking about this same issue this morning when I put my son on the school bus for the first time. I so doubt myself as a mother! That Gremlin was having me wonder if I had prepared him enough for the "real world" (is Kindergarden the real world??). It's been a rough morning, but reading about you and your reader having doubts has let me know I'm not alone and somehow that helps :). I love how open everyone was on this post, we are always trying to hide our insecurities, it's so nice to see everyone's honesty and have a chance to air my own.

Virginia said...

It would have to do with jobs for me learning a new one. I don't remember like I used to so its harder for me to learn.

Lucy Monroe said...

Marybelle...I do not think we are learning to express honest appreciation like used to be taught and in turn, I think that leads to a lot of feelings like yours. :) We can only as Ghandi said, "Be the change we want to see." I love how you handle your doubts - by just doing what you need to do and doing it well. Well done! :)

Dannyfiredragon...hon, that is a real problem for more people than you can imagine. :) I used to hate raising my hand in class because I felt like I did it *too much*. If it's not one, it's the other...huh? But it is hard to overcome that fear of speaking in public (which is essentially what answering a question in class is, right?). Don't let it make you feel badly about yourself though. Really, really...there are skills in life far more important. :)

Kimberly...I didn't have that day until my children were in the 5th & 6th grad because I homeschooled them from preschool onward (with other children as my level of education allowed it). But I felt that same fear and then joy when they came to share their new experiences. Let us know how his first day went. :)

Oh, Virginia..it's not fair that happens as we age, is it? I've found that low levels of caffeine (1/2 cup of coffee, tea, etc.) and remembering my vitamins help. I mean seriously help a lot as in when I forget the vitamins (just a regular woman's one a day from the local grocer), I forget a lot of other stuff too. ;-) But as difficult as learning the new job may be, you've got more years of life experience to help you problem solve and make better independent decisions, yes?

Hugs and happy *not* doubting!

I'm off to write some raw pages for "Back in the Sheikh's Bed" - I'm really kind of hoping they let me keep that title, but am a little worried they won't. :)