I guess that many writers face doubts. In my case, they come in many shapes and forms, they are sometimes really scary and there’s always at least a bit of it around. From small ones like not being sure if a paragraph says what I want it to say, the way I want to say it; to large ones that make me doubt the writing process in its entirety.
I’ve decided to share some of my doubts. Maybe someone will read it and it’ll help to know that you’re not alone. It helped me in past.
Am I saying it right?
That’s a fresh one as, by the time of putting this post together, I’ve received the very first bits of beta feedback. There are times when a single suggestion on changing a single word makes me doubt that I expressed myself clearly – and will eventually lead into rewriting the sentence at least, maybe even the whole paragraph.
Too much or not enough?
Sometimes, I see books that overwhelm readers with detail. They overwhelm them with backstory enough that it seems easy to forget what is going on. Other times, I see books where I’d really like to know more about the world or its characters.
When writing, I try to find some balance between that. Yet, how do I know what’s the good amount? I admit that I have an awful perception of details and if you asked me to describe the appearance of someone not standing in front of me, I’d probably react with a shrug and the maximum of two sentences.
Thus, I sometimes wonder if the way the characters are described will be enough. And sometimes I wonder if I overdid it with some pieces of backstory.
Makes sense, right?
Getting to the hard ones. I know the characters I am writing about quite well. Some of them are in my head for over a decade. Yet, that does not mean it’ll all make sense to whoever might eventually read it. I know the reason why a character A likes or hates character B. It might not be obvious to the reader.
Likewise (and following the previous point), if there’s not enough known about a character’s values, it might make a course of action look weird if some important part is not visible to the reader, especially if tied to a defining decision.
Follow the plan.
I know how the story started. I know what happened even before it – and will always know the backstory better than anyone else. I know (at least loosely) what will happen next and why.
Am I making the readers see it the way they should so they understand what’s going on and where it’s going? Something that makes perfect sense for me might not for someone seeing it the first time. Who knows…
Anyway, let’s get to the heavy ordnance…
Who’ll read this s***?
Well, the easy answer is that at least one person will: me. And it’s obviously not the point. After all, I needed a decade to get from the first ideas to start seriously thinking about giving writing a try. No one probably knows who the hell I am (not that I would mind that). Yet, why would anyone try something from a random unknown try-hard writer?
Well, I am doing that as a reader so there are people like that, even if few. Good.
I am an introvert. There are many days when the number of words I say out loud is far less than what’s in this post. Obviously, if there’s something I fear I might be bad in, it’s dialogue. If there’s something that I’ll need to ask my beta readers, it’s whether the dialogue feels natural or not.
Still, there’s something even harder for me than dialogue: romantic relationships. My life experience so far in that regard is minimal, to say it gently. When I wrote the one intimate scene for the first book and later my alpha reader got to read it, my first question was: ‘Does it even make sense?’. I guess that says much on that matter…
And the heaviest one:
What the hell am I doing?
Something I am asking myself almost every day when I get to work on it. Honestly, I have no clue at all. I have no writing education or anything like that. I did not study journalism, literature, linguistics or anything like that like most of the well-known authors did. I’ve begun something without any kind of goal, just to give it a try. To give myself a different kind of challenge. I had fun with it and so I stuck to it. I often feel like going with the flow more than actually influencing it.
Well, the truth is that I am trying to not be too serious about it. After all, I am having fun on this journey, which is precisely the reason I was willing to give it a try. To use a quote from my recent read:
“Expect nothing, and everything is a gift.”
Yep. Why should it matter I have no clue what I am doing when I have fun doing it? I’ll enjoy the memories of my initial failures, my not-so-initial failures and the moments when I really liked what I’ve written – even if I was the only one to like it. Because I know I gave it all I could.
So, that’s my latest post. Feel free to comment – whether you have doubts of your own and struggle with them or you’re the skilled (or lucky) sort that squished them like a bug.