Here’s a short inspirational piece for all the authors and aspiring authors out there. We’ve all experienced our fair share of doubt. My personal insecurity is fueled by my own writing and the fact that I can produce a section of brilliant writing (if I do say so myself) followed shortly by utter rubbish. Unfortunately, I tend not to notice the rubbish until my editor sends me her suggestions. Oh well, I’ll work on it. In the mean time, have a look at Sara Jayne Townsend’s take on writer’s insecurity and some tips to deal with it.
By Sara Jayne Townsend
“I think it’s fairly common for writers to be afflicted with two simultaneous yet contradictory delusions, the burning certainty that we’re unique geniuses, and the constant fear that we’re witless frauds who are speeding toward epic failure.” -Scott Lynch
Our writing group has been enjoying quite a lot of member success of late. Two people have recently sold their first novel. We always take some time at the beginning of meetings for announcements, and when people have news of an acceptance to announce, it is always a moment for rejoicing. However, in both cases the writers concerned received emails informing them their manuscript had been accepted, and that a contract would follow shortly. Both then added to the end of their joyous announcement, “well, unless they change their minds in the meantime.”
I can completely understand this emotion because the same thing has happened to me with every novel contract I’ve signed. Before the contract is signed and binding, I am gripped with the irrational fear that the publisher’s going to withdraw the contract.
I still hold a day job, and have gone for many job interviews in my 25+ years in the working world. Generally whenever I’ve been successful in an interview, the initial news has come via phone call, with a promise that a contract of employment would follow shortly. I have then gone back to work to hand in my notice and work out when I could feasibly start with the new employer while I wait for the contract to arrive. I have never sat and fretted that the new employer, after offering me the job, is going to inexplicably decide I am a complete fraud and withdraw their offer.
So why does this happen with book contracts? Why do all writers get gripped occasionally by the irrational fear that we’re just pretending to be writers and someone’s going to find us out one day?
I don’t know the answer but if this has happened to you, take some reassurance in the fact that it happens to us all. The opening quote from Scott Lynch inspired this post, and I think it’s comforting to know that other writers – particularly ones far more successful than you – feel exactly the same way you do from time to time.
Writing is a solitary business, and sometimes it’s hard to shake that Worm of Doubt that lodges in the mind and makes us lose faith in what we do. But it’s important to work out whatever it is you need to do to shake that worm loose. Develop a community of other writers to offer support and sympathy when needed. Go blast zombies on the PS4. Dig up some weeds in the garden. Whatever works for you to take your mind off the fear of failure.
Just remember that this feeling will pass, and it’s important to keep the faith. You have to believe in your writing, before anyone else will.
They were dying to be famous. And someone was prepared to kill for it…
Actress Shara Summers has settled in London and is “between jobs” when her Canadian ex-boyfriend David sails back into her life, begging to her to fill the backing singer vacancy in the up and coming band he’s about to go on a European tour with. Short on funds and auditions Shara reluctantly agrees, but tragedy strikes at the opening night party when the band’s charismatic front man Dallas Cleary Anderson falls to his death from a hotel window. It soon becomes clear that Dallas did not fall, but was pushed. His arrogant and confrontational manner means there are no shortage of people who wanted him out of the band permanently – but who would resort to murder?
Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror, and someone tends to die a horrible death in all of her stories. She was born in Cheshire in 1969, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there. She now lives in Surrey with two cats and her guitarist husband Chris. She co-founded the T Party Writers’ Group in 1994, and remains Chair Person.
She decided she was going to be a published novelist when she was 10 years old and finished her first novel a year later. It took 30 years of submitting, however, to fulfil that dream.
The first two books in her amateur sleuth series about Canadian actress Shara Summers, DEATH SCENE and DEAD COOL, are available as e-books from the MuseitUp book store: http://museituppublishing.com/bookstore/index.php/our-authors/70-our-authors/authors-t/420-sara-jayne-townsend and from all good e-book retailers.
Follow Sara on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B003QROE8S) or Twitter (https://twitter.com/sarajtownsend), and learn more about her writing at her website (http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com) and her blog (http://sayssara.wordpress.com).