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Uncertain about the writing.

Has anyone out there ever had a crisis of confidence? For some reason I'm looking at my work and thinking 'I can't do this.' This feels quite strange as I can usually get enthusiastic about my writing, now I'm not sure anymore. Help.


  1. Ian Pirrie on May 23, 2017

    Positivity is the key most important requirement for a writer.

    Writers need to have what may seem like an insane amount of confidence because we are doing something that may seem to others as selfish and isolating. Hiding away for hours tapping away at a keyboard. You have to ignore everyone and push forward even when you don't feel inspired.

    Be positive, be determined, never give up and nothing can hold you back, the walls of resistance will eventually fall because they are not real.

  2. Paul Garside on May 21, 2017

    I agree with everyone here. My own doubts usually come when I am reading a well written novel, I think why am I bothering, I could never come close to this. I have to convince myself it is style.
    Every performer (I have read this somewhere) says that just before they go on stage they have panic attacks, some even vomit (sorry about the graphic bit) they doubt their ability just before they perform but they do it.
    I think, (and it is only me thinking it is not a definitive answer,) but I think if you don't ever doubt what you do you become complacent and turn out work like some of the books I am sure we have all picked up to read and more or less thrown them across the room thinking "WHAT!" how on earth did that get published?
    As I said just me.
    Write on Elsie, hmm that can be taken more than one way. But in this case I meant keep writing, I know, the spelling would be different.
    Paul G

  3. ELSIE BYRON on May 20, 2017

    Thank you everyone for your brilliant advice and encouragement. Everything you have said is absolutely how I'm feeling at the moment. It does seem like a massive undertaking and when you start this you don't think it's going to carry on and yes it is a solitary deed. You continually wonder if you're doing it right or not and there's no one to ask. It doesn't seem so daunting now I've seen it that it does happen to other people. I will try to shake off the demons and keep going. Thank you all again for your help.

  4. Lorraine Swoboda on May 20, 2017

    Everyone gets this, Elsie.

    What we all forget is that writing is our way of going to the office, except that we carry our office inside us. We are the entire staff of that office; we're doing all the work. We have no-one to bounce ideas off, no-one to say, 'Hey, that's a good job you're doing there' or 'Take a break, you're overthinking this', or 'How about approaching this from a different angle?'

    In every office job, there's a point where you want to just pick up your coat and walk out. We can't do that, but we can still feel the urge.

    It's a lonely job, and it's unique to each of us. We can't hand the project, half-finished, over to someone else and take a fortnight off. When we do have a rest, we'll come back to the same place as we left it.

    Sometimes we think, 'What's it all for? No-one's going to read this anyway.' Think how many people on here have read and commented on your work; read over those posts again, and consider whether they are negative or positive. I believe they are all on the plus side.

    Furthermore, I believe in your work, Elsie. So do Clare and Steve. You have a voice, and a story that wants to be told. It's a very human, caring, involved voice, and we all like it very much. You've got us empathising with Elsa, and dreading that her father will let her down, and so forth: that means that you have reached us with your words.

    The task of writing a novel is enormous, and no-one but another writer will ever understand how daunting it is. It's the equivalent of saying you're going to build a house, starting with no experience, one brick, and sketchy plans, single-handed. Crisis of confidence? It's practically guaranteed!

    Take heart: you're not alone, and it's perfectly acceptable to have doubts. I think it makes us better writers, actually, to question ourselves.

    Good luck!

  5. Adrian Sroka on May 19, 2017

    Hi Elsie.

    Crisis of confidence is the writers curse, a common occurrence - known as the writers reward. Why put yourself through such a long, exhausting, mind-bendingly hard ordeal consisting of many head-scratching moments, if one wasn't possessed by a demon inside which urged us to write.

    Ignore the demons that that gnaw at your mind with haunting whispers of doubt. Refuse to be gripped with fear of failure. Try, fail. Fail again. Fail better. Never give up. It's the courage to continue that counts.

    Believe in your ability.


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