Blog Chain Post time!!! I’ve gotta say, I kinda feel like I’ve gotten off easy the last few chains. Don’t get me wrong, they were great questions but one was on world building and my MC Eden did it for me and the other was on your writer quirks. This one though…Kate chose the topic and well, here it is.
How as a writer do you find the balance between having too much or too little confidence in your work?
I know right?!
I’ve been dreading this, watching the date creep closer, knowing I would have to post. I guess that’s a lack of confidence? 😉 Okay…here goes nuthin.
……three attempts later. Yes, three. First I tried writing about how much confidence (or lack thereof) I had while writing my first book, Water Lilies. Then I tried linking to past blog entries where I came across as uber confident or really lost. Then I went old school and pondered the first short stories I wrote in 6th grade and up. But the answers all felt fake. I have spent more time attempting to write this blog than I have watching television in the last four months. No, seriously. I think I finally figured it out.
Here’s my problem. Whether I have too much or too little confidence isn’t something *I* decide. Whether I have too much or too little confidence in my work is something *you* (the reader) conclude for yourself. Think about it. Have you ever wrote an amazing paragraph or chapter, one that you just NAILED. Remember that feeling? Being SO tired because you should have been in bed and the coffee wore off hours ago but the words, they were THERE, man. And you caught them. Perfectly. Remember the way your cheeks ached from the permagrin as you reread. Were you too confident?
Now go back to another moment. One that’s not so shiny. Maybe a night where you only got a few hundred words and were pretty sure they were getting tossed in the morning because they didn’t flow and were so off from what was needed to get the scene right that you felt the tears threatening. You knew how bad it was. Were you not confident enough, or did that feeling force you to write stronger and try harder?
Extremes are not a bad thing. I know there were parts of my novel where I doubted that I was the one who could or even SHOULD write the story. Jess can attest to quite a few panicked emails threatening to give up on Reapers. She can also attest to moments where I sent her snippets with pride. I needed the rollercoaster. I needed the good and the bad to finish that book. Quite honestly, I’m pretty damn proud of the finished product. I know it’s my best work. Am I too confident? Maybe. Hell, it’s possible (though I doubt it) that it’s even better than I think and I’m not confident enough. But that’s not for me to decide. You’ll have to let me know how you feel after you’ve read my work.
Extremes are needed. I need a lack of confidence for my edits to be productive. If I love every bit of my story, nothing is going to change for the better. I need an abundance of confidence to write my query; to be able to convince agents that my book will be the best they’ve ever read. They will decide whether I’m overconfident and tell me so with a rejection.
I don’t think there is a perfect midpoint or a right and wrong way to feel about your story. And even if there is, it’s not for you to decide.