Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Crisis of Confidence

It's the first Wednesday of the month so it's time, once again, for Alex J. Cavanaugh's Insecure Writer's Support Group (please click on the link for a complete list of participants).

Hi everyone. My name's MJ and I'm insecure. To say the least.

Last month, I talked about my endeavor to self publish my book, Effigy. Shortly thereafter, I blogged about how great everything was going. Shortly after that, I blogged about how I totally jinxed myself because I'd started to fall behind.

And now today I'm blogging about how everything has completely stalled.

I really should have seen that coming. Don't know why I ever thought it wouldn't.

I had what I am calling a 'crisis of confidence' last week. As I said via Twitter, I had one of those days (weeks) where I couldn't remember why I ever thought I could or should write and/or publish a novel.

Everything I tried to write was crap. Every revision I made was stupid. I was stupid because why didn't I not make this mistake or that mistake the first time through. Why was I bothering with any of it?

Really negative stuff. Not good.

I've had these 'dark periods' before (though usually not quite so negative). They come, they go. They're never much fun but eventually they go away. Eventually I get back on track. But this particular one worries the living hell out of me.

What if it doesn't go away? What if I stay lost in the doldrums forever?

So today's question is what do you do when/if a crisis of confidence sneaks up on you? How do you get your groove back?

Gotta run...the day job's calling my name. I wish it would stop.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Take a well deserved break from your hard work and enjoy the other parts of your life for a while, just destress and I'm sure your writer's flow will return.

    Stay positive!


  3. C.M. is right. Take a break. I know every successful author preaches the whole "write every day" bit, but honestly there are some days we just can't.

    It's okay to take a break.

  4. A completely natural event we all have. Just negative stuff trying to get out. Let it. You might feel spent but soon you'll be refreshed and ready to go again!

  5. I'll echo what was said above: I take a break when I feel like this. Even if it's for a few days--I read a book, watch a movie, do something else. I think it's because I get so close to my writing that everything looks like a giant BLAH. We writers tend to be our own worst critics--you're going to do just fine!!

  6. Rum maybe? OK, that's a bad idea. Try this -- go to You Tube, type in 'die Vampire die' it's from 'Title of Show' sit back and LYAO. Warning; explicit language, if that will offend go back to idea number 1.

    Thanks for reminding me about this, I'm racing off to You Tube myself. Meet you there.

  7. Sometimes you need to take a step back and breathe in. And out ;)

    Go nap or go for a walk. Play a game or watch a favourite old movie. when you feel clearer, try to remember why you love writing in the first place.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  8. I usually take a good break, then come back when I feel inspired. It might take a while but worth the time re-energising, refocusing etc. Read some of the inspiring blogs from the IWSG, watch some great movies, and so on. All the best. :)

  9. They call that a season for all things. Don't think 'stalled' - think 'just taking a breather.'

  10. I know what you mean. It happens.

    It's like your creative mind turned off and your inner critic took over. The logical head interfered, and now you're overthinking.

    Stop thinking. Start feeling.

    And start feeling good.

    When you're feeling good, the creative mind should engage again. And it'll flow again.

    Good luck.

  11. For some reason, your new blog will never tell me when you've posted. I get a notification from your old blog, though, which I quit following when I switched over here. It's weird.

    You make me really want to take a look at your stuff.

    But this is what I think:
    It's not a matter of whether it's "good enough." It's a matter of whether -you- like what you're writing. Is it something -you- would want to read if someone else had written it. As long as it is, it's good enough. Period. Even if no one else ever thinks it is. George McDonald never met with any success in his day, and he still hasn't. He just lingers in the background. However, he was heavily influentioal on two (TWO!) of the 20th centuries most iconic writers. He wrote what liked and what he believed in.

  12. Welcome to the eternal state of being me. I was going over something I've had stashed in a drawer since last summer with the intention of publishing it myself after I checked for typos and such, and found that my story had the most god awful dialog, stupid logic and uninspired prose of anything I'd ever written... and I really liked it at the time.

    I'm a hack. Total hack.

    Oh wait, this is supposed to be about you. Geez, I'm also narcissistic. I'd be an awful psychologist, I'd spend all my time telling my patients how awful my life was.

  13. I had some dark days when I first tried to self pub a book. I was soooo frustrated. I didn't even want to turn on the computer. So keep plugging away and it will get better. Promise.

  14. Like you, I often lose my groove when it comes to thinking I can write and write anything good. What helps for me is to take a step back and allow some breathing space between me and my writing. Then, when I start daydreaming about what I want to write, that's when I know I'm ready again. Great post - thank you for sharing! :)

  15. I have edited my first MS like 19 times no joke and I look at that first draft and I smile inside because I know that it took those 19 so it didn't look like THAT again. lol. So every reversion counts and leads to the best you got and don't for that!

  16. I find that leaving the project alone for a while can help to get the mind off criticism and back into the right mode for continuing to work on it.

  17. I've had a time like that too, while I was rewriting Doorways. I almost did quit, but on the day I was about to announce it to the world, my crit partner and I had a conversation that sparked my passion again and I've never looked back.

    I'd suggest that you take a break and do something new and/or different. Eventually something will happen that will rekindle your love for writing. Just give it a bit of time. :-)

  18. I think we all go thru this, MJ. I've found that a little break is helpful. I take a few weeks away from writing and worrying about what's going on in the internet and just kind of get back to basics. Typically, after a few days, I can't wait to get back to writing and revising. It's in the blood and it can't be ignored.
    But dont be too hard on yourself. Take your time.

  19. reward yourself whenever you finish a chapter! a little break or a bite of your favorite chocolate should do it.

    Happy weekend!

  20. Taking a break is definitely the way. Come back to it with fresh eyes. And in the meantime, conquer something you know you can conquer; walk to the top of a hill, do that pile of washing up, repaint that room. You just need a little ego boost to remember what all of us already know. You are amazing.

  21. Crisis of Confidence? I don't it is not the main crisis. I think the key lies of this are in the education, through continuous incentive to eliminate confidence crisis is the best method!