Do I suck? An author’s dilemma

It’s about the hardest thing in the world to get an unvarnished opinion from your friends and family. Heck, it’s hard to get an unvarnished opinion from anybody. Of course your friends want to support you. They want to be encouraging, they want to help out. Strangers want to be polite. Then again, on the flip side of the coin, some people just want to tear you down no matter what. You could write The Grapes Of Wrath and you’d still have no trouble finding somebody who’ll tell you that it’s terrible.

im_retarded_quantum_leapAnd so, as a writer, it can be really tough to know if you’re even any good or not. Your friends and family will tell you you’re doing great just to be nice, strangers will tell you you suck just to be jerks. Heck, you can submit your work to a major publisher and still get rejected, even if your work is amazing. Everybody’s heard the story about JK Rowling having her manuscript rejected fourteen times. And she, I think it’s safe to say, does not suck.

I broke down and hired an actual editor to look over the manuscript for my latest project, and even though she said very positive things, there’s always that unhelpful voice in my head, saying, “Well of course she’s going to tell you good things, you’re giving her money. She has rent due. The poor woman probably finished editing your manuscript, then got drunk and cried over her English degree, asking herself how her life ever went so far wrong.”

God knows, past a certain point I lose all objectivity. After reading through a manuscript three or four times, it all starts to look like lorem ipsum.

And so, what can be done? Have faith, I guess. Try my best. Try to get better. Try to write the things I’d want to read. And when I’ve written a story and I put it away for a few months, then I come back to it and I find myself actually reading it like a reader and not a writer because it’s not half as bad as I remembered, then I just have to believe that somebody else might feel the same way.



3 thoughts on “Do I suck? An author’s dilemma

  1. Unfortunately, I’m the opposite. If I come back to a piece of work after a few months, I think it is utter garbage. It is better I write, edit, edit, edit and finish in one fell swoop. But like you said, it’s just faith in the belief that somebody out there might enjoy what I have to say.


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