Stop Looking Over Your Shoulder

images-3If you are constantly looking over your shoulder, you may not finish your novel. You will be too busy battling the thoughts of it not being good enough. No one wants to be humiliated or rejected. Your inner critic will paralyze you by telling you just how bad it really is (even if it’s not) .  This is another obstacle that I have had to overcome. It hasn’t gone away, I’ve just learned to deal with it.

I remember doing a Bible study on the battlefield of the mind. Though it’s primary purpose was dealing with spiritual warfare, it also related to many of the issues that we deal with in our everyday lives. Our mind is a battlefield. In writing for example, all of us worry about looking dumb and never getting published. Fiction writers make a business out of being scared, and not just looking dumb.

It took me six months from the time I started writing my novel, to tell my husband what I was doing. When I finally told him, I was a mess. I knew he would be excited for me and encourage me in my endeavor, and I didn’t want to let him down.

For the longest time I treated my novel as a hobby. That’s not a mindset that will get you published. When I finished and sent it out to the first few agents, I was more than a little anxious. The first few rejections confirmed my beliefs. I just wasn’t good enough.

Note that I said, “I wasn’t good enough.” Well that’s not exactly true. The truth is the novel wasn’t good enough. The fact is, it was filled with grammatical and structural errors, there was some serious head hopping going on, and my on-the-nose writing was all but bringing the story to a complete halt. If you are not familiar with these terms you should be. Go back and read the posts I have written addressing them.

I don’t know that the inner critic will ever go away. So how do you combat it? You keep moving forward and growing in your craft. Don’t stop writing. I still question my novel, but I know, that I know ,that I know, that it’s a lot better than it was after the unofficial first draft. I’ve learned the hard way and hope you avoid some of my pit falls.

-Jan R

Stop Looking Over Your Shoulder

2 thoughts on “Stop Looking Over Your Shoulder

  1. It is a long and difficult path. For a long time I heard the advice “Start with short stories. Work your way up to a novel.” The logic being that writing several shorter works would teach me more than one long one. It wasn’t until recently that I came across another reason.
    Write several short stories so that I don’t get too attached to any one.

    When I’m working on a story it’s easy to fall in love with it, to want it to be perfect, and when it’s done I may even believe it is. But the truth is I have to send it out into the world, and in all likelihood it will come back with a rejection letter. But, if I have several stories then my hopes are spread out, and if I start a new story as soon as the old one is sent off, then by the time that rejection letter comes back I can say to myself “Well that’s an old story. That’s not really my best work anymore. I’ve grown.”

    It is an odd challenge, to work so hard, invest so much, and then let go, but this is the road we walk.

    Liked by 1 person

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