Q is for quitting. No, not quitting writing, though I have to admit, some days I’ve considered that too. No, what I’d like to quit is all the self-doubt and second guessing myself. I’ve been doing that most of my life. It’s interesting. Our students did a study today on coaching, looking at which students had more self-confidence and success, the ones who were given praise or the ones who were subjected more to the militaryesque screaming. It was closer than comfort allows but praise did win out. I was raised the other way by teachers who screamed and belittled. I’ve come to automatically assume everything I do is wrong and not up to snuff. The worst were the surgeons who taught me surgery. Most of foot/ankle surgery isn’t done under general anesthesia which means the patients are more or less awake. During more than one surgery I had a patient call out, ‘will you quit screaming at her. You’re making me terrified.’ (Meanwhile my hands are shaking because they’re terrifying ME too).
So I am probably one of the most accomplished people you’ll meet with self-esteem this low. Have the time I’m convinced everything I’ve written, everything I am is absolute rubbish. I need to QUIT that. I let it paralyze me. Hell I haven’t written anything of note in nearly two months after being convinced my writing isn’t worth even looking over to edit.
I am crawling back out of that depression but I need to quit letting it get to me. I can’t take two month hiatuses because I’m letting self-doubt destroy everything I’ve worked for.
The other thing I have to quit is letting people talk me out of the things I want to write. That has happened so many times. I’m getting a little depressed with insta-freebie and other giveaways because I see SO MANY ghost and/or witch mystery stories. In the mid-90s I wrote a mystery novel where a ghost played a role in solving the mystery. My usually supportive writers group went ballistic (mostly the guys, the ladies were all right with it except for the lady lawyer). They were out rightly cruel, laughing at me, making me the butt of jokes for months. I put my mystery on the shelf (I think it died in a computer crash which is sad because I liked the one character, a homeless jazz sax busker.
Also in the 90s I tried selling stuff with Nephilim characters. No one wanted it. AT ALL. Some even yelled at me for being blasphemous. I ended up putting those characters in a shared universe I wrote in with & (One looked a lot like Heath Ledger and another like Alan Jackson).
Now you can swing a stick without hitting ghost mysteries or a Nephilim/Angel character. It’s a touch disheartening. I’m not sure I would have been good enough 20 years ago to be published but I would have been right there are the leading edging of a trend, not piling on at the end.
So yes, I need to quit listening to the nay-sayers. I need to write what’s in my heart and I need to quit doubting myself.