Writing: fear of the masters

There’s one question that appeared in my mind, even though it touches an unlikely subject: What would the authors of my favorite books think of mine? And, by extension, would I even want them to read it?

If you’re reading my blog for a while, especially the parts related to writing, you probably know about the fact I struggle with strong writer’s doubt and stage fright.

Even though I know many writers are friendly and insightful people and have respect for the work of their fellows (or at least the effort if it turns out to be poor), writers will always have different strengths and different skill levels.

I, as someone who learned on the go by trial and error, know there are weak spots in my skills and that I, realistically, can’t match the masters of the craft.

I don’t strive for it, anyway. I just want to tell my story.

But what if, somehow, the authors of my favorite books, stumbled upon my story (once it’s finished, of course)… What if the people who managed to create wonderful worlds with great characters, villains I loved to hate and heroes I loved to support, read my story? Of all the people and books out there, a story written by an amateur for his personal leisure?

I guess there would be a part of me that would be delighted: if someone I consider great in writing was intrigued by my book (I’d guess the blurb would be the deciding factor), there would probably be a reason to believe that my story is not that bad. Or that the blurb, at least, manages to make it look good enough.

But then, there’s the thing my larger and often overthinking part of myself would ask: what if they give it a try only to walk out disappointed? People who brought me hours of enjoyment and probably hoped to get the same in return, only to end up like this:

Now, I have this kind of fears even now – when my story is in the merciless hands of beta readers. But, if this happened when someone really skilled in writing got a hold of my story – no longer a work in progress but a complete version…

Well, it would not be enough for me to throw away the keyboard, delete all the files and never write again. I probably have too thick a skin for that. But it would not be a pleasant feeling either.

Maybe part of this specific fear comes from the fact that the books I liked the most are similar (sub)genre as the one I write – and that I might appear in the same virtual shelf as those authors, even if my rank would probably be three or four digits larger number. Still, it’d be the feeling of being somewhere I don’t really belong, a clueless tryhard among the masters.

What I do to overcome thoughts like this? A mug of tea, mill it over for a while, then discard them with pure logic: such a scenario is almost as unlikely as winning the lottery and I am overthinking it out of proportion.

After all, isn’t writer’s doubt just that? An amalgamation of various doubts and fears inflated into far more than they actually are?

I’ll welcome your comments. Feel free to share your thoughts, your doubts – it might help you like an anonymous group therapy – or your words might nudge others into not overthinking their doubts and fears.

And keep writing. Even if it’s mainly for yourself.

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