From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Friday, January 27, 2012

Why Losing Confidence in Your Book is a Good Thing

So, I'm still blah about my novel, but I've decided it's a good thing, and here's why.

It doesn't mean I'm not going to move forward exactly the same. I'm going to edit the crap out of it and then give it to other people to read and then start the submissions process. Feeling sort of whatever about it just means that the editing will be that much easier, and so will the putting it in other peoples hands. I still hope and want just as much for it as I did before, but I'm in a much better emotional place for accepting that whatever happens happens, and that it's okay if things just don't pan out for this one. Because they might not.

All this is true, but it's also true that I wouldn't be able to feel this way about this novel if I didn't have wild hopes and faith and ambition for my new novel. I have to be crazy about something. And I spent some time yesterday doing some good brainstorming, and I'm definitely starting to feel the excitement coming. If I've taken my eggs out of the old basket and sent it down the river, hoping it ends up somewhere nice, that just means my eggs are in a shiny new basket.

So, basically, this just means that I'm emotionally ready to push my baby out of the nest and can deal with the consequences. It also means I'll be writing my new baby like my life depends on it, because for a while it will. Then I'll grow hard to it too, send that one out, and get started on a new one. Circle of life.

I guess this seems kind of cruel. Maybe it is. Really I don't think my relationship with my books is going to turn out as black and white as all that. I'm just going through a phase that I'll probably go through with each novel, but once I give it time and get some fresh perspective on it I think I'll totally fall in love with it again.

Sarah Allen


  1. You know, sometimes we have to tear our own stuff apart before we can give someone else permission to.

  2. There comes a point in EVERY book that I write that I completely lose faith.

    Usually, it passes, and I go back and read and see that not only is it not so bad, but that it is actually quite good..and I fall in love a little again.

    What helps is time away from it. For me anyway.

    Don't lose heart.


  3. Love that last line :-)

    Something I tell all the people in my family - Honey as well as kids - 'Just because I'll always love you, doesn't mean I'll always like you'. Guess it's the same for our stories :-)

  4. William Faulkner sad that in writing, you sometimes have to "kill your darlings". We have to hack and slash at the things we love to make them better.

    ...I'm not clever enough to know if Faulkner had kids... I kind of hope not!

  5. I think every one of us gets discouraged as we write and revise. It takes a lot of confidence to be a writer, I've discovered.

  6. Being humble and sometimes discouraged in our books only allows us the opportunity to take advice and critique better. I think what you're feeling is totally normal, but remember that there is a difference in confidence in our work and confidence in ourselves. Happy writing, friend! :)

  7. Great post Sarah, and I totally agree. The key is to stick at it! For me, the hardest part is definitely going from rough draft to something that's ready for beta readers. A novel can transform into something completely new between those two points!

  8. The best feeling in the world is when you've given up on a project, let it breathe, and then stop by for coffee with it later to find it's all pretty again.


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